The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation launched on Saturday, May 12, 2018, the CONCACAF Next Play Programme, with attendance by students from the participating schools.
Speaking of the pilot programme which was simultaneously launched in the five selected Caribbean territories, CONCACAF Director of Development Jason Roberts said, “Our Concacaf Next Play 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 our 41 Member Associations.”
The CONCACAF Next Play Programme is a grassroots participation and mentoring program for children, implemented in six-week modules, which provides children with the tools to learn the game of football, while fostering a wide range of the social values.
Next Play is executed in partnership with CONCACAF’S Member Associations, as well as local schools and governments.
According to Roberts, “Our 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.”
The CONCACAF’s Director of Development further points out “Our point of contact is the local coordinator who works in tandem with the Technical Director, to ensure a successful execution of the program. All local coordinators are participants of the CONCACAF Train the Trainer program, which aims to develop coaching education instructors within our Member Associations.
“Additionally, chosen volunteers complete the CONCACAF E License qualification, and participate in appropriate capacitation courses hosted by CONCACAF, emphasizing the core principles of our brand, football, unity, quality and access.
“Through this program, we foster the social values of respect, inclusion, teamwork and integrity.”
On May 12, 2018, CONCACAF launched its six-week Next Play program in five Member Associations within the Caribbean, namely the Bahamas Football Association, Barbados Football Association, Jamaica Football Federation, Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation.
It involved the identified four schools in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which are Georgetown Primary, Lowmans Anglican, Barroullie Government, and Kingstown Preparatory schools respectively.
Collaborating with Member Associations and Ministries of Sport and Education, affiliated schools with a physical education curriculum would implement the program through a point of contact for specific activities, led preferably by the Member Association’s Technical Director.
There are five principles governing the six-week programme.
Football: Football comes first! The game simplified by small-sided games with no complicated rules, allowing the player more opportunities to touch the ball and score goals.
Fun: Creating an environment which brings joy and smiles to participants. Young players learn best in a player-centred and fun-filled environment free of pressure. The aim is to promote lifelong love and loyalty to the game.
Friendship: The building of lasting relationships through playing football, mutual respect for the game and each other. The program aims to provide participants with opportunities to develop the necessary tools to appreciate diversity and build bridges.
Fair play: The program provides an opportunity for children to play without discrimination, while developing social values such as respect for rules and each other, teamwork, drug-free participation, leadership, compassion and integrity.
Future: The game is an important vehicle for socio-economic change and should be maximized in this regard. The emphasis should be on laying a proper foundation for a positive future for the players, enabling them to take full advantage of the many opportunities that will arise from their involvement in the game.
It is important to note as Jason Roberts pointed out “The CONCACAF E License course not only prepares the volunteers to conduct age-appropriate training sessions for the children but provides them with a series of practical on field recommendations on how to use the game to teach the social values of the program.
All volunteers also complete the mandatory CONCACAF Safeguarding Children in Sports workshop.”