ON the heels of two successful football summits held on the 5th and 12th of May 2018 in the towns of Vieux Fort and Gros Islet, respectively, the Saint Lucia Football Association is at it again — but this time in the classroom.
On Tuesday (15 May), the SLFA headquarters in La Clery was a hype of activities as that organisation commenced a four-day World Coaches Programme Coaching Course, under the watchful eyes of FIFA Instructor Rob Klyne of the Netherlands Football Association.
30 male and female coaches affiliated to the SLFA are in attendance and over the four days, the participants will be engaged in seven Practical and Theoretical sessions at the La Clery playing field and the SLFA conference room — and according to Klyne, there will be “no sleeping” during the sessions.
Today at 3:00p.m., the coaches will be assessed by Klyne in a practical session that will consist of 30 youth players ages 12 and under.
Tomorrow from 2:00p.m., it will be the 10 to 14-year-olds as Klyne will have his final practical session.
Speaking at the opening on Tuesday morning, Klyne said, “The messages is not only that coaches have to be a football coach, but coaches — especially the ones who are working with children — also have the responsibility for the life skills and the social issues that cause problems for the children.”
SLFA President Lyndon Cooper expressed his sincere thanks to the Netherlands Football Association for giving Saint Lucia the opportunity to learn something new and some additional ways to improve our standards.
He said, “It is not surprising to anyone present that there is a deliberate policy at the SLFA to link football to the social component of every single player.
“For the last two years, the SLFA has created a special officer whose responsibility is for special projects and social projects.
“We have made it abundantly clear any organisation that’s not football-centred and wants to use football as a vehicle to sell their social message, we at the SLFA will be too happy to endorse it.”
“To date, the SLFA is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Gender Relations, the Bordelais Correctional Facility and the Saint Lucia Red Cross Society. So, accepting the invitation is not by accident, but a clear policy by the SLFA,” Cooper noted.
He took time out to remind the coaches that they have a responsibility as coaches trained by the SLFA to give it their all so the SLFA can achieve their long-term goals.
Cooper said, “Our long-term goal is for Saint Lucia to get to the next World Cup.
“For us, the next World Cup can be the Under-17, Under-20, the Olympics Under-23 or seniors — any of those opportunities; we intend to give it our best short.”
He continued, “As an organisation, we are not getting the output versus the investment, so what we have done is to invite all the participants we think that can be part of the programme.
“In the next month, the SLFA will employ 35 coaches assigned to primary schools on the island.”
The rationale for going this way Copper said, “The SLFA need to continue to create a bridge between the primary schools, the club and the various communities and by extension we share no doubt once we build those bridges it mean we are going to get kids playing at an early age.”
The SLFA Boss said, “The challenge for the SLFA at present is that we must begin to compete in 2018 at the age of 14 years, no longer is it anticipated that we are competing at 23 or 35 years.
“For Saint Lucia to compete at the age of 14, it means that every child must begin to play football at the age of seven years. No child who is not football-competent at 13 years should appear on any national team.”
He warned to the coaches to improve the skills set of those kids at an early age.
Meanwhile, upon leaving Saint Lucia at the weekend, Klyne will travel to Indonesia to conduct a similar programme.