School Boy Football Standards dropped after the new millennium?
Prima Dona's running around on the fields nowadays?
By Spencer Darlington
With the 2013 schoolboy football season now into its third week, the predictions have been numerous in terms of who will win the respective titles; who the leading goalscorers will be and also some of the players who could emerge as stars at the end of the season.
And talking about stars at the end of the season, the question surrounding those who would be leaving school is whether or not they will earn scholarships to overseas colleges and universities or whether they will remain at home to join a local Premier League team.
It is this group that could remain at home after their schoolboy careers, that I want to focus on this evening.
The general consensus is that very few schoolboy footballers can now finish the Manning or Dacosta Cup and move straight into a local Premier League team.
This scenario was quite prevalent in the late 1970s and 80s and even into the mid 1990s.
Take the likes of Linton "Conch" Stewart, formerly of Ruseas and Errol Blake of Camperdown who both went from schoolboy football into the national team in the 1980s. Ricardo Gardner in the mid 1990s and most recently Alvas Powell, would have achieved this feat.
One can also mention the likes of Walter Boyd, Hector Wright, Devon Ricketts, Donald Hewitt and Mark "Hagler' Wilson, players who all made a smooth transition from schoolboy football to the National Premier League.
The all conquering Charlie Smith side of 1995 also produced quality players such as Kevin "Pele" Wilson and Cornel Chinsue who were able to move straight into the Arnett Gardens outfit and created an immediate impression in the National Premier League.
The big question therefore is why are we not seeing the top players from the manning and Dacosta Cup in recent times staking real claims in any of the National Premier League teams?
Among the recent schoolboy stars, Marvin Morgan from St. Georges College to Boys Town and now Waterhouse and Brian Brown from Ruseas to Montego Bay United and now Harbour View, are yet to dominate in the island's top club competition.
My view is that the standard of the schoolboy competitions has dropped, when one compares what is on display now with what transpired in the 1970s, 80s and up to the mid 90s. The attitude, skills, and meticulous approach which existed among the top players then, also appear to have deteriorated in recent years.
These factors, I think, are the main reasons why we are not seeing too many schoolboys joining and then creating an immediate impact in the National Premier League teams. So their struggle to make a smooth transition may continue for a little while longer.