CONCACAF Director of Development Hugo Salcedo has showered praise on the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association for its vision in establishing the recently launched National Elite Youth Development Program.
Salcedo was a featured guest at the official launch of the program at the Hilton Hotel, Port of Spain last Friday. joining FIFA’s Director of Member Associations and Development Veron Modengo-Omba.
“We are seeing something so different today and I am really willing to congratulate the TTFA and the National Lotteries Board because this is a totally unprecedented situation we have seen here in CONCACAF. I have been involved in the game for a long time and I have been here maybe 12-15 times but tonight is very special,” Salcedo said.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for football in your country. We are speaking about future national players but do you realise that out of three hundred million players worldwide, only .02 percent are professional players, so what do we do with the rest. This is why this kind of program is so vital and important. Trinidad and Tobago is jumping ahead of Concacaf because we are beginning with grassroots and jumping up to where you are now. It is important to produce good young boys and girls and then of course it is up to them to decide what direction they want to do,” Salcedo added.
“FIFA and CONCACAF are behind these programs and I will speak on behalf of CONCACAF. I will be back here again to speak more to David, Joanne Salazar and the TTFA because there are so many elements Concacaf can bring to the program with exchange programs and so on,” he added.
“I will end by telling you that the way I see it personally and in CONCACAF that the future of football in Trinidad and Tobago is very bright,” Salcedo concluded.
The TTFA announced a four-year partnership with NLCB valued at $8 million to run the program. The TTFA’s approach to the program will be: To scout and select our best U13/14 boys and girls and nurture this special pool of talent so that they form the core of our national teams at the U13/15, U17, U20, U23 and senior levels from 2017 through 2034; and to hone the talent of these young footballers through specialised football and life skills training among several other development measures.