Academy View: First International Football Tournament in Academy History

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Aaron Chongyoon Nah
Monrovia Football Academy travels to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to test their ability against competition from countries across West Africa

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On Friday, October 27, Monrovia Football Academy will send 15 student-athletes, four staff members, and one pro bono videographer to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to participate in our first ever international tournament. This is a momentous occasion. For the first time in the Academy’s history, our student-athletes will test their ability against competition beyond Liberia.

The tournament has been organized by Ivoire Académie of Abidjan. It will run from Monday, October 30 to Sunday, November 5, and it will include football clubs and academies from six different West African countries: Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. There are two age groups: U-15 and U-18.

Prince & Older player 2016 Monrovia FA

Age Group and Preparation

Monrovia Football Academy will participate in the U-15 age group. Our team will include student-athletes ages 9-14 and representing grades four, five, and six.

We expect to be the youngest team by a wide margin. Our experience with other youth clubs in Liberia, as well as recent accusations of age cheating against Mali and Ghana’s U-17 World Cup squads, suggests other clubs’ U-15 players will be, at a minimum, 15 years old.

Despite the expected age difference, our student-athletes are confident entering the tournament. Since opening for our third year on September 4, our first team has undergone a rigorous training regimen that has included matches against Liberian clubs with players as old as 18. We held our final preparatory match on Sunday in Harbel, Liberia, and in seven matches our first team is 5-1-1 with 18 goals for and 8 goals against.

Reggie Blessing Jess ATS, August 2017, Monrovia FA

Female Participation

We expect to be the only team in the tournament with female players. We are very proud of two of our most talented girls (one in the fourth grade, the other in the sixth grade), both of whom will push for starting positions in our first 11. We have no doubt they will impress everyone at the tournament with their skill, tenacity, and confidence.

Scouts Expected to be in Attendance

Ivoire Académie has done a great job recruiting top scouts to attend the tournament. Clubs such as Manchester United, AS Monaco, Nice, and several others will be present. While their focus will be on the U-18 age group, we are confident some of our young boys and girls will catch their attention.

Moses taking notes at Monrovia FA

Academic Training while Participating in the Tournament

While we are thrilled to be participating in our first international tournament, our first priority is always academic excellence. To ensure the 15 traveling student-athletes do not fall behind academically, we will be joined on the trip by our Director of Academics, Musa P. Sheriff. A minimum of three hours per day will be devoted to academic lessons throughout the trip, with Executive Director William Smith contributing to tutoring sessions.

The Academy’s participation in this tournament would not have been possible without the generous support of our Official Trip Sponsor, Digital Ignition Entertainment. To show our gratitude to this US-based company, the Academy will wear special jerseys with Digital Ignition Entertainment’s logo throughout the tournament.

To track our progress, please follow our social media pages. We will be posting updates daily throughout the week.

Wish our student-athletes luck!

 

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