by Curlan Campbell
- Annual Summer of Soccer programme targets 3,000 children
- Programme will be in 2 segments: 11-28 July and 12 August to 3 September
- Lester Smith will spearhead programme
“We have been focusing on the senior national team and expecting results without investing in Youth Football or investing significantly in youth football,” said newly elected Grenada Football Association (GFA) President Marlon Glean.
The GFA prepares to roll out its annual Summer of Soccer programme targeting 3,000 children, aged 6 to 16.
Glean lamented that over the last 10-15 years, the island could not identify new talent. “We have lost the focus on youth football and as a result from time to time we may get one player that looks decent but we haven’t had any stars over the last 20 years or so and it is a direct reflection of the investment in youth programming.”
The GFA will invest nearly $250,000 towards grassroots football during its summer programme, expected to run from 11-28 July 2022, from 9 am to 11 am, in venues across the State. The venues are Morne Rouge Playing Field and Queen’s Park In St George; Cuthbert Peters Park in St John; Alston George Park in St Mark; Fond and River Sallee playing fields in St Patrick. In St Andrew, Tivoli and Progress Park will be used, and Victoria Park. In St David, Bellevue Playing Field and in Carriacou, the Hillsborough Playing Field will be used.
During a press conference last Thursday, Glean introduced Lester Smith, as a programme director who will spearhead the summer programme. Smith is no stranger to football coaching having once served as GFA’s Technical Director.
Glean said this summer programme will be an opportunity for children to come out and be engaged in football at a time when there aren’t many youthful activities during the summer break. He added that children do not have to have any special skill in the sport since this opportunity is not one to scout for new talent to join the national team.
Glean also mentioned that the Ministry of Sports has accepted their request to partner with the GFA in this initiative, with the Ministry of Sports expected to lend help in the areas of coaches and grounds. There will be 44 coaches in total; a head coach will manage each centre and will also include women coaches for the girls.
The summer programme will be in 2 segments, one from 11-28 July and the other from 12 August to 3 September. At the end of each segment, there will be a national festival where the children would be allowed to showcase their talent at the National Stadium. Participants who excelled during the programme would be awarded.
Glean stated that the long-term vision is to launch in the fall, a national grass root programme that will cater to twice the number of children that will show up in the summer programme.
Anthony Nickson Modeste from the Ministry of Sports attended the press conference and reiterated the Ministry’s support toward ensuring the programme’s success.