Butler talks up benefits of team tours
Phoenix Academy begin Spain jaunt with win over Real Sociedad
PHOENIX ACADEMY boss Craig Butler said playing against top European clubs gives his players a greater chance to impress than if they went on individual trials.
Phoenix is currently in Spain on a two-week tour, where they will play against youth teams of some of the Spanish premier division’s top clubs.
The 20-man squad includes the majority of the Mona High School Manning Cup squad and has been joined by Zander Bicknell, the Fortuna Koln youth player, who scored one of the goals, a penalty, in a 3-1 win over Real Sociedad at San Sebastián’s Zubieta Facilities in their opening game yesterday.
The other goals were scored by Shemron Phillips and Mario Simms.
The Phoenix team will go up against youth teams of Levante tomorrow, Benfica on Saturday, Atlético Madrid on Monday and Levante again next Tuesday.
Butler believes that his young stars, who include Donhue Mitchell, Simms, Zhaine Pinnock, Damon Whitfield, Phillips, and Denzel McKenzie, are now ripe for professional contracts, and he expects them to make good impressions.
“We expect to perform. We will be challenging the under-19s and under-17s of these clubs, and they will get opportunities for contracts because the players are now ready for the next level.
“With the players going as a unit, once they are able to perform at a high level, the clubs will see our players are good enough or on the level of their clubs,” he commented.
“Many times you go on a trial, it’s very hard for the players to show what they can do in one week because of the adapting.
“But as a team, they get a good opportunity, so once they perform at that level, then the clubs will be interested in them.”
He pointed out that the experience players like Mitchell, Peralto, and Bicknell have playing in Europe put them in good stead.
He noted also that the players would be viewed by other scouts and that even if they do not land a contract with one of the big clubs, they might still get the chance to sign with a smaller club.
“There will also be a lot of scouts from different clubs watching the games. It’s a way of showcasing the players against top-level competition versus getting a trial for a lower-level club.
“When you play against the bigger clubs, scouts will come and watch, and your performance might earn a direct contract, even with a smaller club.
“But it’s the right time for them to be seen by the clubs. They (clubs) can sign those who are 18 or get ready to sign those who are 17-plus,” he said.
He added: “For us to be making this investment shows that we truly believe in the players.”