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Kingston, Jamaica: Chelsea FC and Portugal footballing star, Paulo Ferreira, on his first visit to Jamaica spoke to the boys at the Digicel Kickstart Academy where he encouraged them to make the most of the opportunity and to do their best.

He encouraged them to stay focused and to take in as much as they can by saying; “Listen to your coaches, they are very good and will help you to improve your game. Also, make sure that you never give up, keep chasing your dreams. I remember watching my favourite players on the television in my village and saying one day that I would like to be playing at that level. So keep working hard and you can achieve greatness.”

Photo: Paulo Ferreira has a bit of fun while playing a game of juggling during his visit at the Digicel Kickstart Academy

Paulo Ferreira was on island for the start of the Digicel Kickstart Academy which is being hosted in Jamaica for the first time. At the first training session, he shared his experience playing for Chelsea FC as well as some of the highlights of his career, including winning the Champions League title with Chelsea FC in 2011 as well as making it to the finals of the European Championships with the Portugal national football team in 2004. The boys were very excited to meet the two-time Champions League winner and got a chance to ask him questions – which he was more than happy to answer – much to their delight.

Digicel Group Head of Sponsorship, James Wynne, said; “We are happy to have Paulo Ferreira and the Chelsea FC Foundation coaches here at the Kickstart Academy and I am sure the boys enjoyed meeting such a legendary player. Digicel continues to help to develop football at the grassroots level because we believe this will help to start them on the path to a possible professional career. Today’s professional players started out at grassroots clubs and were scouted from there and as such, we are developing young players technically at the earliest possible opportunity through the Digicel Kickstart programme.”

The Digicel Kickstart Academy sees 42 boys from across the Caribbean and Central America go through a week of intense training that will culminate in a final match between the Academy players and the Jamaica National under-16 team. This is the first time that the Digicel Kickstart Academy has been held in Jamaica at the historic Sabina Park – an important sporting venue in the region which is known for hosting world class cricket matches. During the Academy, it will play host to some of the brightest young footballing talents the region has to offer.