Barbados-based football club Kickstart and Rush Soccer International have signed on the dotted line for a partnership that will benefit players and coaches in the island, says Corey Greenidge, chairman of the newly rebranded Kickstart Rush.
The agreement was finalised in early 2020 and Kickstart according to Greenidge is now an affiliated club of Rush. It is an international football organisation with 40, 000 players across the United States, Europe and Africa.
“All of the clubs then come under their umbrella and they provide a network on a vast database of information for the training of your coaches, the development of your clubs and primarily for the development of your players,” Greenidge told Barbados TODAY.
The chairman said there were many advantages to Kickstart having signed up with Rush Club. He noted that this would provide a conduit for players to play football outside of the Caribbean region.
“What that does primarily for us and it has been a goal for Kick Start for quite some time. We were able to provide a pathway for all players to have a direct path to possibly playing football outside the region. Certainly, at the collegiate level and also the semi-pro and professional level.
“Being part of Rush provides an infrastructure for which we can have the opportunity for students to play outside of the region. One of the key things is that our players are featured as part of a network. So, if we have a player even at a young age of maybe 11 or 12 that we see have a lot of potential, that player can feature as part of the network,” Greenidge explained.
He added, “Rush also has what is called a college placement program. So, within the network also you have an opportunity for scholarship within colleges to play football in the United States. And there are advisors in terms of schools’ programs available for students who want to be able to go overseas.
“From our perspective that was the major push towards trying to create that infrastructure where there is a direct path to students who want to play football outside of these shores.
“Some of the other advantages it provides is a network for the training of coaches. Now coaches in Barbados are well trained through the BFA and CONCACAF. But it provides another avenue for the development of the coaches as well as the administration and development for the clubs as a whole.”
Greenidge also revealed that as Kickstart Rush go forward, they would be trying to extend those advantages not just to their members but other local clubs.
A non-profit organisation, Kickstart Rush is 22-years-old as a club. According to Greenidge, it has a junior membership of approximately 150 to 200 players. Players can enrol from as young as four-years-old. They also have two senior teams – men and women.
While it hasn’t been easy during this pandemic for the club, Greenidge identified ways of how they have managed to keep the members engaged.
“The pandemic has affected us quite significantly from the perspective we had no sports and we could not have organised sporting activities. You have the kids who are frustrated and unable to participate especially during the last lockdown which would have been during February, March time.
“Now we have instituted a lot of train-at-home programs. So, all of the players, at least the juniors, have a weekly at-home training program where kids can train at home. They are also encouraged to upload videos of their training program. So, we try to improvise and still be able to engage with our players during this time.
“We will be doing a major push in anticipation of a summer where we would have an increased volume of kids who come to camp. And also to have a training program for our older players because camp tends to be for the younger ones. This is to kind of knock the cobwebs off the gears and try to get our players back out and fully functioning,” he said.