Four women were among a group of 18 participants who took part in the CONCACAF E License Grassroots and Education Programme which was held at the Barbados Football Association this week. The two-day course which came to an end today, is a pilot project which will see Barbados as one of the first territories in the region to deliver a CONCACAF Grassroots programme focused directly at just four schools spread across the island.
During the official opening ceremony held at the Barbados Football Association's offices at Wildey, President Randy Harris was in attendance and he called the programme very important to the further development of game in the region. “Welcome to the course and I would just like to say to you that perhaps for the future, that this probably will be the most important step that you have taken. We in the Caribbean in the past have been running the game of football, expect teams to do well at the national level, but not putting the technical programmes in place for development. We want to change that now and in the recent past we have had a number of coaching courses because we want people to be qualified and certified in order to deal with our young people.” Harris said.
Highlighting the shortcomings of the past, Harris urged the participants to be committed to the cause. “What we were doing in the past is hoping that we would have a cadre of players that will make our national teams successful. My thing is, that would never work. You will play well sometimes and you will win some games but there is no purpose or plan to operating like that. So I want you all to take this course seriously because most of you are primary school teachers and that is where it begins.”
With the course delivered by National Coordinators Renaldo Gilkes of Barbados and André Virtue of Jamaica and overseen by CONCACAF Instructor Lenny Lake and CONCACAF Manager of Development in the Caribbean Andre Waugh, the coaches are being groomed to deliver a Grassroots programme to Vauxhall Primary, Wilkie Cumberbatch, A. Dacosta Edwards and St. Alban's Primary, teaching boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 the fundamentals of football.
Addressing the participants, Virtue said that the role the coaches were getting ready to play was a highly crucial one. “The role that we are playing here is to facilitate the growth and your passion to make a difference. We are not just coaching the game, we are coaching a life through the game. An important element of the course is using football as a tool for social change.” he said.