Wednesday 17 July, 2019

PHOTOS: Next Play Festival a hit!

From the youngest was ready and excited to play next.

From the youngest was ready and excited to play next.

Football. Fun. Friendship.

Those are the pillars of the Concacaf Next Play programme, a social initiative by the governing body of football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

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The programme targets youth between the ages of seven and twelve years old and they are coached the fundamental skills of football alongside various social values such as respect, teamwork, honesty, empathy and commitment, by Concacaf trained coaches and Physical Education teachers.

Last December the Cup phase of the programme was completed, with All Saints Primary School winning the inaugural competition and earning a trip to this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final in Chicago, Illinois.

Another feature of the programme took place last Saturday at the Barbados Football Association (BFA) Wildey Turf.

After six weeks of instruction, approximately a 100 children; boys and girls from A Dacosta Primary, St Albans Primary, Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary, Vauxhall Primary, Welches Primary and the Eagle Hall Primary School, assembled at the national facility to take part in the 2019 Concacaf Next Play Festival.

For three hours the players participated in a variety of football matches, showcasing their skills with new friends, which included Next Play ambassadors; Barbados men’s senior football team coach Russell Latapy and English-based professionals Nick Blackman and Tyrone Mings.

CONCACAF Next Play Festival 2019

Latapy, a professional for over two decades and World Cup participant with Trinidad & Tobago in 2006 encouraged the players to keep working hard at their craft and foster positive friendships.

MIngs, who recently helped Aston Villa back to the English Premier League, was delighted to be in the land of his grandfather.

He said he started playing in a similar programme to the Next Play project and used values learnt in his early years to propel him to his current professional status.

Blackman is of paternal descent and is expected to be a part of the senior Trident’s CONCACAF Nations League campaign in September, therefore being a Next Play ambassador is a fitting welcome to the Manchester United academy graduate.

“I am delighted to be an ambassador for the Concacaf Next Play initiative.

It was great to spend a brilliant afternoon at the Wilkie Cumberbatch School and then a super morning at the BFA pitch with so many fantastic kids.

Football, friendship and fun; a great message that I hope will be embraced across the island and the region”, said Blackman.

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