Three weeks after electing into office a new executive to run the affairs of football in Grenada, the Marlon Glean-led Grenada Football Association (GFA) has begun to roll out one of their campaign promises, that of youth football development.
Addressing members of the media on Thursday for the first time in his first official capacity since taking up his position as President, Glean unveiled plans for the immediate commencement of GFA’s annual summer programme, targeting some three thousand children, aged 6 to 16, and introducing them to basic football training.
The programme captioned “Summer of Soccer” estimated to cost in the region of $250,000.00 is carded to start on July 11th utilizing eleven venues throughout the length and breadth of Grenada including the sister isles of Carriacou.
Glean, who was accompanied by Programme Director, Lester Smith, GFA’s acting general secretary, Andre Charles and Anthony Nickson Modeste from the Ministry of Sports, said the FA is adamant that if the direction of football in Grenada must change, it must start with the youth, and therefore this summer programme speaks to that intent.
The newly elected president said the programme would serve in two capacities, one of which, is to get youths involved in some form of recreational activities during the summer vacation and the other, giving them an early introduction to football whilst having fun. He hopes that the young children will be drawn to the sport after the programme and later emerge into national players or future stars in the sport.
Glean said he is confident that the director of the programme Lester Smith, given his experience, is capable of delivering in a manner that would yield the best result and therefore, called on parents to allow their children to be part of the programme.
The mission he said is not to select a national team and therefore, they are not looking for any level of skill to qualify to be part of the event, what is important he said, is that the FA wants the children to come out and have fun, and enjoy themselves.
Glean noted that the Ministry of Sports has accepted their request to partner with the GFA in this initiative, and therefore, the programme would be run in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports which would lend assistance in the areas of coaches and grounds.
Programme Coordination Smith, who also addressed Thursday’s conference said with all plans in place, the programme goes into effect on Monday, July 11th utilizing eleven venues and will run from 9 am to 11 am Monday to Thursday.
Among the venues to be used he said, in St George, Morne Rouge Playing Field and Queens Park, 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, Progress Park and Victoria Park, St. David, Bellevue Playing Field and the Hillsborough Playing Field in Carriacou.
Smith said that apart from assisting the coaching staff financially, the FA will also assist in getting participants in special cases, with transportation to get to and from the venues. He noted that some forty coaches are listed for the programme. Every venue he said would have one person in charge. In addition, he said every venue must have a female coach who would take care of women’s business as it relates to football.
Smith noted that the programme will be divided into two segments, one from July 11th to the 28th and the other from August 12th to September 3rd.
At the end of each segment he noted, 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, he said would be awarded.
Former national footballer and assistant coach to the Grenada National Team, Modeste, who represented the Ministry of Sport at the conference said the ministry is delighted to be part of the programme and would do what is required of them to ensure that the programme succeeds.