PRESS RELEASE – The 2014 Digicel Kickstart Academy is set to raise the bar even higher this year with the announcement that former Chelsea FC and Portugal footballing hero, Paulo Ferreira, will be a part of the programme when it kicks off in Jamaica later this month.
Ferreira, who played as a defender for Chelsea FC for nine years during which time they accumulated a number of trophies, including the Champions League and English Premier League titles, will share valuable knowledge with the aspiring young footballers participating in the Academy.
Expressing his excitement at being a part of the Digicel Kickstart Academy, Paulo Ferreira said; “It’s a real thrill for me to be travelling to Jamaica for the Digicel Kickstart Academy and to meet some of the best young footballers in the region. In my career, I have been a part of many successful teams and have experienced the game at the very top level. The Chelsea Foundation has successfully worked with Digicel to create a clear development pathway for these young players and also for coaches across the region; this will ensure the next generation of footballers have an increased opportunity to progress onto the next level. I also know what it is like to be a young footballer with a dream and I hope that I can help the Academy footballers to realise their potential by sharing some of my experiences.”
Digicel Group Head of Sponsorship, James Wynne, said; “Football has a special place in the heart of communities right across the Caribbean and Central America and that is why Digicel has been investing in youth football development since 2007 through the Digicel Kickstart programme. To make a genuine lasting impact and continue to build on the success of Kickstart, it’s essential that we have a world class partner. Chelsea FC Foundation has consistently delivered the best standards of coaching and advice to the aspiring young footballers in our programme and this year we are delighted and honoured to welcome Chelsea legend, Paulo Ferreira, to Jamaica to launch our eighth Academy.”
Another first for the Digicel Academy is that this year it will be held in Jamaica – at the historic Sabina Park, home to some of the greatest sporting events in the region.
Sabina Park Holdings Limited Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Walter, said; “We are delighted to be hosting the Digicel Kickstart Academy in association with Chelsea FC at Sabina Park. It’s another prestigious event to be hosted at this historic stadium and testament to the international reputation of our venue that it complements the performance standards of Chelsea FC, one of the biggest football clubs in the world.”
Paulo Ferreira Bio:
Paulo Ferreira moved to Chelsea from Porto in 2004 and went on to spend nine years at Stamford Bridge. Signed by Jose Mourinho during the manager’s first spell at the club, the right-back went on to make 217 appearances for the Blues, acquiring a number of trophies along the way.
A solid, consistent performer, Ferreira was a key member of the side which won the Premier League title during his first season at the club. After helping the Blues record back-to-back title triumphs in 2006, Ferreira played the full 120 minutes as we won the first FA Cup final to be played at the new Wembley in 2007, beating Manchester United 1-0 after extra-time. His versatility and reliability enabled the Portuguese to fill in at both left-back and centre-back when the need arose, and he featured regularly towards the end of the Double-winning season of 2009/10. On its way to winning the Champions League in 2012, Ferreira produced a typically assured performance when he was selected for the quarter-final first leg against Benfica, while he was named on the bench for the final in Munich.
Ferreira’s final appearance for the club was as a late substitute against Everton on the final day of the 2012/13 season, when he brought the Europa League trophy onto the field after the final whistle, and received a wonderful ovation from the Chelsea supporters.