Claude Davis, a former stalwart in the heart of Jamaica’s defence for a decade, has followed up his recent coaching award in the United States by setting up the Liverpool International Academy of Central Florida.
The former Portmore United star has signed a five-year deal with the newly-crowned English Premier League (EPL) champions Liverpool FC to become part owner and technical director of their Florida-based football academy.
Davis, who made 68 appearances and scored twice for the Reggae Boyz during a career that spanned 2002-12, is making quite an impact in Florida. He was voted Coach of the Year for his contribution to sport at William Boone High School by the Orlando Sentinel Varsity during their virtual 22nd annual awards ceremony on mid-June, in his second season as coach of the all boys school in Florida.
He joined English Championship highflyers Preston North End on loan in 2003, signed for the club in 2004 and scooped the team’s prestigious 2005-06 Player of the Year before joining EPL newcomers Sheffield United for £3.5million in the summer of 2006 followed by a move to Derby County.
Davis, who captained the Reggae Boyz several times, spent two successful seasons at Derby County then signed for League Two side Crawley Town in 2011, where he led them to a 13-game unbeaten streak and played a major part in their promotional campaign. He made history by becoming the first international player to ever play for the club, and the same season he skippered Jamaican in their 3-2 success over hosts New Zealand in February 2013.
The Kingston-born 41-year-old ended his career at Rotherham United in 2014 and has since been coaching in the United States, completing his Coaching A License last year and has aspirations to make his mark at the new Liverpool International Academy in Florida.
Having played most of his career in England, Davis is familar with the way the academies were run so approaching 19-time English League champions Liverpool FC with a proposal at the start of the year.
The club were so impressed by his vision that they signed a long-term deal to use their curriculum and name. Liverpool FC are set to send coaches to the new academy in Florida three times a year to work alongside the coaches that Davis brings in.
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