LCFL Hosts Youth Football

Widely known for its social, sporting and community outreach programmes, the La Clery Football League [LCFL] recently held an entertaining mini-soccerama and exhibition involving youth teams from the community competing alongside invited clubs.

Last Saturday’s event, held at the La Clery playing field witnessed a host of young football talent on display, while the organisers busily sorted out things in the background and provided support and encouragement to the youngsters.

Speaking to sports journalists, President of the Parents Group attached to the La Clery Grassroots Youth Development Programme Raina St Pierre reported that eight teams from different district leagues participated in the event.

While the players in Under-8 and Under-10 displayed their skills in exhibition matches, the Under-13s and Under-16s competed in a mini-tournament.

Noting that the initiative was executed on a trial basis, St Pierre said, the group received “good reviews” and they look forward to continue this venture.

She said the purpose of the event involved incorporating “development and training” techniques. Since the youngsters practice regularly on weekends, the organisers felt it prudent to allow the young athletes to demonstrate their skills to the public.

This exercise provided the players an opportunity “to build their skills and confidence”, she added, since the young players from the community requested a chance and were eager to play against other community teams.  A total of about 150 to 200 youngsters participated in the event.

The activity also allowed for young coaches to mentor to the younger players, as part of their overall developmental process.

“We look forward to making this soccerama a monthly event, from now on …and also the programme involves developing our youths holistically and physically,” declared St Pierre. She acknowledged the support of the Saint Lucia Football Association [SLFA] Inc. and other corporate sponsors that came on board to support the initiative.

LCFL Secretary John Sealy said the main objective of the event was “to fulfill two mandates.” Firstly, he explained, to align with FIFA’s directive that during the month of March, there must be some focus on highlighting the Grassroots Week programme. And secondly, “we wanted to give the children an opportunity to express themselves on the field…and we wanted to give them that little exposure. But, overall, the intention was to allow them to have fun.”

Sealy said the involvement of parents in the event was “critical”, as alongside the coaches, the parents also play a “significant role.”

Commenting on the holistic development of the young players, and the social outreach undertaken by the LCFL, Sealy added: “We try to use football to develop our young ones …and while it’s a Football Grassroots programme there are lots of other things that we do. We will do some lifer-skills and have actually introduced some dancing …as a correlation with football, in being able to move your feet.”

The LCFL official notes that the players are also instructed in the areas of First Aid and their nutritional intake, and “to develop a holistic child in the wider community”, as a means of diverting them from the crime and violence that permeates in communities across the country.


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