A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Technology (UTech) and the Next Generation Sports Limited was signed on Thursday, paving the way for the establishment of the Valencia Football Academy in September.
This agreement was announced at the awards ceremony of the Next Generation Valencia Football Club on the grounds of UTech.
Principal of UTech, Professor Errol Morrison and Victor Salazar Chang, head of Next Generation, signed the MOU for what will be known as the UTech Valencia Football Academy.
Professor Morrison told the Jamaica Observer that the MOU is not a legally binding document, but it sets the stage for a more legally binding agreement next month.
"We have just signed the MOU speaking to that collaboration outlining some details of the early steps that need to be taken to cement that development," Prof Morrison explained.
"The president of the Valencia club is supposed to be coming at the end of next month and we will do our worldwide announcement of this facility," he added.
"The Valencia club is represented locally by the Next Generation Sports Limited and what they have done now is brought us together, the Valencia Group and UTech in the formation of what will be the UTech Valencia Football Academy," said Morrison.
Chang, who is instrumental in organising the Next Generation Valencia Easter Football Camp, explained that UTech will basically be hosting a camp every day.
"The venue will be UTech and Valencia will be involved in the methodology, the coaches, etc. Basically, it will be like a camp but multiply by 365 days," he noted.
"We will have at least two coaches (Valencia) based in Jamaica and we will be doing camps in different parts of Jamaica and as you can imagine, their travels become less expensive and we can maximise their use. They will be doing social activities also," said Chang.
UTech has hit the news big time, especially since accommodating the MVP athletes, including former world record holder over 100m, Asafa Powell, Olympic and World Championships 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, Melaine Walker, the Olympic 400m hurdles champion and Brigitte Foster-Hylton, the World Champion over the 100m hurdles, and this addition will highlight UTech even more.
"This is big time. This is big, big and it is a very important step for UTech going forward in the world of football training," emphasised Morrison.
"As you know we are already doing the training of the coaches, so now to bring this element and taking them from age seven...this is really going to put us on the map of a proper training programme," he beamed.
Four years ago, UTech in collaboration with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), started a coaching school for coaches which was well accepted.
Now, UTech is on another path in developing football locally with this well-needed academy, especially tied to one of the top clubs in Spain and Europe.
"UTech seized this opportunity as a tertiary educational institution and many of these players might yet become our own students and whilst here as students, continue to perform.
"It is a win-win and we are very pleased to have hosted this and do a MOU in a short time. We are excited and they are excited and we mean business," Morrison pointed out.
"As soon as the president comes we are going to have some greater finetuning. The MOU says we are going to work together, the agreement says what we going to do.
We are committed to this and they are committed and I feel this is a great beginning," said Professor Morrison.