The Justin Haber Academy was officially inaugurated last week by the President of Malta H.E. Dr. George Abela. During a short but meaningful ceremony a new pitch with artificial turf and the academy’s own premises were unveiled. JHA now boasts of its own administrative offices, dressing-room facilities and two pitches with artificial turf.
The ceremony was attended by Sunderland AFC officials led by Marketing Manager Mr. Mike Farnan and the Mayor of Floriana Mr. Nigel Holland.
President Abela delivered the keynote speech and he congratulated Justin Haber for harbouring a good idea such as the setting up of the first football academy in Malta. “I recommend this academy to all parents who want to lay solid foundations in both football and life skills for their children. This is the academy for youngsters who want to make the grade”, said Dr. Abela. He went on to state that the Justin Haber Academy “is much more than a soccer-school. It lays emphasis on the holistic development of the personality of the child and the athlete. This academy is being entrusted with the care and the custody of youngsters. In turn this academy must strive to make them better citizens and not just good footballers”.
Mr. Mike Farnan said that Sunderland AFC is fully committed to ensure that the Justin Haber Academy is successful. “We will have coaches here who will give the kids the right sort of training to ensure that they go through the system. I have seen some excellent raw talent here in Malta and I believe that out there, there are a few kids who can really make the grade”.
Mr. Farnan expressed Sunderland’s belief in Justin Haber’s professionalism. “He represents everything a footballer should be: the way he represents his country; the way he goes about his job; he is a true professional. This is why we are sure that JHA will turn out to be a successful venture.”
In a short address, Mr. Justin Haber, thanked Sunderland AFC for believing in his ideas and for partnering him in his venture. He said that the correct development of young kids as footballers is essential for them to be able to make the grade in professional football later in life. He remarked that his investment in the sports facilities at the King George V grounds is only a small token of gratitude towards the community in which he grew up and of which he is still proud. He also thanked the Mayor of Floriana for his contribution.
Rev. Richard Borg, Archpriest of Floriana, blessed the new facilities in the presence of the JHA team, coaches and sponsors.
The Justin Haber Academy is located at the King George V Grounds in Floriana. It was set up in association with Sunderland AFC, one of the leading football academies in the UK and which was recently awarded Category One status under the Elite Player Performance Plan run by the Football Association and the Premier League.
JHA is a professional football academy for boys and girls aged between 6 and 17. It implements the Sunderland AFC programme for the coaching of young footballers which involves a holistic approach to ensure their correct development. JHA employs football coaches and other professionals, including psychologists, nutritionists and sports scientists.