Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago honoured to be part of Concacaf NextPlay
The Jamaican Football Federation along with the governing bodies in the Bahamas, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines launched programmes on Saturday. (PHOTO: Concacaf.com).
The Jamaican and Trinidad and Tobago football fraternities are honoured to have been selected among the first set of countries in the confederation to be involved in CONCACAF's NextPlay program.
The Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) along with the governing bodies in the Bahamas, Barbados, and St Vincent & the Grenadines launched programmes last Saturday, while Trinidad and Tobago get into the action this coming weekend at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
JFF Vice-President Raymond Anderson said Jamaica was delighted to be involved in the programme.
"The JFF feels special in that Jamaica has been chosen to be the lead country with this very important initiative, even though we know it is being activated in other countries in the Caribbean" Anderson said.
"We are very proud of our grassroots programme that was carried across parishes between 2011-2014, but we are aware that it needs to go wider and deeper and must be sustainable. This is the only way to build for the future. We congratulate CONCACAF for leading the way," Anderson said.
JFF Technical Director Wendell Downswell added that grassroots development would certainly play an integral role in the development of the game in Jamaica.
"Grassroots football is an integral part of our development initiatives in Jamaica. We know how important this is as it encourages the kids to get involved and it reaches out to the wide cross-section of the society. Programmes such as the NextPlay is vital in this regard," Downswell said.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association recently hosted a Train the Trainers course ahead of the commencement of the NextPlay program on the twin-island. T
Technical Director of the country's FA and FIFA and CONCACAF instructor Anton Corneal spoke of the importance of the initiative, saying "our focus on grassroots has been very strong for a number of the years but when you look back maybe 20 or 30 years ago, the game was more accessible at the grassroots level. We are slowly getting back there and now with the NextPlay initiative and the Train the Trainers Course, it comes as a breath of a fresh air and we see this a wonderful initiative by CONCACAF to really get all the stakeholders tied into the game."
"We have a very vibrant Primary Schools League and this is where the next generation of national team players will come from and therefore it is a critical level of our football which we at the TTFA and with the assistance of CONCACAF, will be placing heavy emphasis on. This NextPlay program compliments other nationwide Primary Schools program which our FA started earlier in the year," Corneal added.
CONCACAF, along with its member associations, will partner with governments, schools, and volunteers across the region, to create a grassroots football delivery platform that will serve as an engine for football growth. The Concacaf NextPlay program is guided by the Confederation's aim to inspire the love for our game and provide children with access to more opportunities to play football across its 41 Member Associations.
Through the sport, CONCACAF is promoting values, leadership, and healthy lifestyles. The aim is to deliver an official Football and Education School Program to be implemented in the public school system by engaging in meaningful and sustainable ways with local communities and using football as a tool for education and positive social change.