Pembroke Hall to play int’l football tourney

first_imgA group of 13 players and three officials from the Pembroke Hall High School will leave the island this Friday for the 12th Annual Bazooka Soccer College Showcase at the Northwest Complex Apopka, Florida in the United States, from March 4-5. The team is scheduled return on March 7. The full squad of 18 players was not able to make the trip due as seven players and assistant coach Levi Monroe were denied visas. Nevertheless, Matthew Brown, the school’s sports manager is confident they can still win the tournament and claim a few of the many scholarships on offer. “We did have issues with visas. Our assistant coach (Monroe) was turned down and about seven players (as well). Luckily, we had other players with visas, that we could use as substitutes. But some of the student we really wanted to bring, we couldn’t. Also our head coach (Andre Burke) was having a problem, but they called me from the embassy and asked me a few questions about him and then they granted him. “But we are going to win. I can feel it. We are the first (Jamaican) high school going there to play, and we intend to make our name … There will be college coaches from all over the United States. They will come to watch the best players and offer them scholarships on the spot; that’s the main aim,” he said. “Most of the players are grade 11 students and we want to get scholarships for most of them. I have brought teams to Miami Classics and students have received scholarships. That is what we want to do for footballers now, because they haven’t gotten a chance until now,” he added. The team has been preparing since December and Brown hopes they don’t get cold feet and put in a much better display than in the Manning Cup. “They didn’t do too well in the Manning Cup and we decided that we still wanted to try with them. They train everyday and they are looking ready, but I hope they don’t go and get frightened,” he added. CONFIDENT OF VICTORYlast_img read more

AEK, Apollon Limassol Kick off Europa League

first_img48 teams with Champions League aimLONDON (AP) — If it’s Thursday, it must be the Europa League.The Champions League’s often unloved and overlooked sibling kicks off its group stage after two nights of headlines and highlights for the premier European club competition.Still, there is much at stake for the 48 teams in the 12 groups, including former European Cup or Champions League winners AC Milan, Marseille and Red Star Belgrade.The Europa winner will also collect up to 50 million euros ($60 million) in UEFA bonuses and prize money, plus a Super Cup match against the Champions League title holder next August.And there is a place in next season’s Champions League group stage — a reward that can make the Europa League seem a means to an end.Here is a look at some of Thursday’s games:___AC MILAN’S RETURNAfter three years away, AC Milan returns to European competition as perhaps the favorite — at least until December when eight teams jump in as a result of placing third in a Champions League group.The seven-time European champion begins its group at Austria Vienna, and is also drawn with Rijeka and AEK.Under new Chinese ownership, Milan went on an unprecedented spending spree in the offseason with more than 200 million euros (nearly $250 million) paid for players like defender Leonardo Bonucci (from Juventus); midfielders Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Franck Kessie (Atalanta), Andrea Conti (Atalanta), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen) and Lucas Biglia (Lazio); and forwards Andre Silva (FC Porto) and Nikola Kalinic (Fiorentina).The overhaul produced four straight wins in Europa League qualifying games, and two more to start Serie A. Still, the Rossoneri did not impress in a 4-1 loss at Lazio last weekend.“We’re coming off two months filled with acquisitions and complements and evidently it distracted us a bit,” Milan coach Vincenzo Montella said. “We’ve got to learn to suffer and not always try to play our best.”___ARSENAL’S INTENTIONSArsenal is playing in Europe’s second tier for the first time in 18 years after failing to get its usual top-four finish in the English Premier League.Arsene Wenger is unlikely to take the Europa League as seriously as Liverpool and Manchester United, finalists over the past two years who targeted the bonus prize of a direct Champions League place. United won in May but Liverpool lost the 2016 final.Wenger has said playing in the Europa League was a “good opportunity to focus completely on the Premier League,” and that he would rest key players. This looks like his plan hosting Cologne on Thursday, with Arsenal facing a big match against Chelsea on Sunday.Everton, with Wayne Rooney, is England’s other representative.___HOFFENHEIM’S HEROHoffenheim was fighting relegation in February 2016 when it stunned the rest of the league by appointing the Bundesliga’s youngest ever coach. Then 29, Julian Nagelsmann responded by steering the side from danger in his first season, and leading it to fourth for its best ever season in his next.Liverpool prevailed in their Champions League playoff, but Hoffenheim makes its Europa League debut against visiting Sporting Braga on Thursday. Despite injuries, Nagelsmann’s side is full of confidence after beating Bayern Munich again at home on Saturday. Nagelsmann has won two and drawn one against the Bavarian powerhouse.Hoffenheim now has the chance to show the Nagelsmann effect at work in Europe, where its performances are all but certain to bring further attention on Germany’s coach of the year.___LYON’S PRIDELyon hosted a Europa League semifinal at its Stadium of Light last season.It hopes to play in the final there next May 16.Lyon’s bid to show off its new stadium — which was a 2016 European Championship venue — starts away in a group that offers relatively easy travel compared to some of the eastern European options.Beginning Thursday at Apollon of Cyprus, Lyon will also face Everton and Atalanta, in the picturesque northern Italian city of Bergamo.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more