It is good news that the Liberia Football Association has appointed Coach Henry Browne to resume his previous position as the technical director of football development in the country.
Coach Browne and Coach Kaetu Smith developed a five-year football development program that did not get the support of the previous administration.
Now with his return as the technical director, Coach Browne will now have the opportunity to work freely, without anybody calling the shots and dictating to him how to manage and handle what he knows best.
LFA President Mustapha Raji is a man who knows the men who can deliver the goods. And his support to Coach Browne is commendable.
I recall when Coach Browne held the technical director post, he held discussions with Mr. Doc Lawson, president of the grassroots development United States-based not for profit organization, DonamiSports.
Back in 2014, Coach Browne’s outfit and DonamiSport collaborated to complete a selection of the best young soccer talents that could have traveled to Dallas, in the United States to participate in the Dallas Cup.
But the plan was sabotaged by the deadly Ebola Disease. Now, according to Doc Lawson, he has received an invitation for the 2020 Dallas Cup to prepare a team of a U-14 soccer team from Liberia to participate in the tournament. And so Coach Browne’s return to the LFA is a perfect time for the LFA and DonamiSports to work together towards the selection of a national U-14 team for 2020.
The Dallas Cup is the most prestigious youth soccer tournament in the United States and it is widely regarded as one of the most competitive in the world. It was founded by the Texas Longhorns Soccer Club in 1980 as a way for the club to return the friendship shown to their teams that had traveled throughout Europe, according to its website.
Held every spring during Easter Week, the invitation-only Dallas Cup selects the best teams out of the hundreds of qualified applications the tournament receives each year. Although there have been several iterations over the years to the format, the Dallas Cup currently comprises eight age groups from U-13 through U-17, U-19 and the U-19 Gordon Jago Super Group.
The tournament traditionally consists of approximately 40% international teams, 40% state-side teams and 20% Dallas area teams. Each year more than 100,000 spectators watch teams from all over the world participating in intense games where only the best return home with the Dallas Cup Champion’s prize, the coveted Boot and Ball trophy.
The long list of players that have gone on to have professional and international careers is an impressive one. A partial list includes David Beckham, Clint Dempsey, Chicharito, Landon Donovan, Raul, Michael Bradley, Wayne Rooney, Kleberson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Giovani dos Santos, and Brian McBride. In fact, Dallas Cup alumni have gone on to play in over 430 World Cup matches.
Coach Browne and Doc Lawson are passionate about grassroots football and with their collaboration, Liberia could send a representative to Dallas, Texas, the United States in 2020.