Defending champions Weymouth Wales will be taking directives from new head coach Thomas Jordan when the 2018-2019 Barbados Football Association Premier League season kicks off this Sunday, October 21, at the Wildey, St Michael AstroTurf.
Jordan, coach of the senior national women’s team and technical director of Mavericks Football Club has replaced David Ward now at the helm of Clayton’s Kola Tonic Notre Dame’s coaching staff having succeeded Renaldo “PeeWee” Gilkes who resigned last season.
Barbados TODAY has also been reliably informed that in addition to Ward, assistant coach of the senior men’s national team Fitzgerald Carter and Fabian Wharton have resigned from their respective clubs. Empire, where Carter was previously in charge, will be taking instructions this season from the veteran coach at the National Sports Council Dane Alleyne while Brittons Hill will adhere to David Miller’s whistle.
Manager of Weymouth Wales, Alphonso Lewis, told Barbados TODAYWard’s contract had expired, and management opted not to renew it as the club was looking to move in a new direction. Lewis also explained that the decision to take on Jordan had to do with his expertise and years of experience at the international level.
“The decision to appoint Thomas Jordan was all based on strategy and tactics, looking at the direction that the club wants to go in, and we needed a more rounded coach, and we needed a bit of change. Yes, we won four to six titles under Ward over the last two years. However, it was a case of knowing that the club needed something different, someone else to take the mantle and get the guys to perform at a higher level we [management] know they can play.
“Additionally, we are preparing for the CONCACAF club competition once again, so that is where we needed additional support in that area. I wouldn’t say from a more experienced coach but a coach that can bring something slightly different to the club. All of that is part of the reasoning we decided to go with Mr. Jordan,” Lewis said about the selection of Jordan who was assistant coach of the senior men’s national team back in 2002 when Barbados made it into the second round semifinal of the World Cup qualifiers.
In 2017 Ward won the Barbados Football Associations’ coach of the year having piloted the Carrington Village Wales team to glory in the premier league, Knockout and Reserve League competitions. This year he guided Wales to their second consecutive league title when they created history by capturing a record 18th trophy which is the most by any team in local premiership history.
However, reports reachingBarbados TODAYis that the relationship between Ward who once represented Barbados at the highest level and the management of Wales was not what it previously was and this prompted his decision to leave.
Ward has a connection to both teams having played for Wales and Notre Dame during his playing days. Anthony Jarvis, club director of Notre Dame, confirmed that Ward who is no stranger to the team having coached them in the past would be joining the side with Ricardo Best as his assistant.
Jarvis did not go on record to reveal why Ward was viewed as the best choice for the club but a source close to Notre Dame camp said: “It was probably the easiest decision to select somebody who has been a part of the club before and who knows the value of the club. So, I guess he will use his experience after winning two premier league titles and try to help Dames to claim such as well.”
Among the other changes to the premier league football season this year will be the first appearance of the Barbados Soccer Academy and St. Andrew Lions. Youth Milan will also make a return to the big league after being demoted some years ago.
Six teams will be in each zone and each club will play all the teams twice, with the top teams playing a two-best-of-three series to decide the champion. Afterward, the fifth and sixth-placed teams will play each other across the two zones with the losers being relegated and the winners playing off against each other. The loser of that match will be demoted while the winner remains in the premier league.
Zone 1 is comprised of Weymouth Wales, UWI Blackbirds, Brittons Hill, Porey Spring, Barbados Soccer Academy, Notre Dame while
Zone 2 is made up of Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme, Paradise, Ellerton, Empire Club, Youth Milan, St. Andrew Lions.