Stony Hill Football Academy starts with a bang
The inaugural Stony Hill Football Academy was met with great success as youths from the community turned out for a day of technical skills training.
The academy, held on Saturday at the Stony Hill Community Centre, attracted more than 50 youth aged 6-13 years, with the focus placed on speed and agility drills.
The youngsters also had a special interaction with former Reggae Boy goalie, Richard McCallum, who took them through some basic goalkeeper drills.
"This is something I look forward to all the time, to help the further development of our youth, and it is a very rewarding feeling," said McCallum.
Each youngster had a chance to take a spot kick with McCallum in goal, and many earned the satisfaction of having scored against a former Reggae Boy custodian.
McCallum said he feels an obligation to not only guide and mentor youth in football, but help garner more interest in the goalie position.
"Goalkeeping is a position we sometimes don't give a lot of attention to, so I was very excited to showcase what goalkeeping is all about and getting the youngsters to understand the fundamentals of goalkeeping," he said.
The football academy is the brainchild of Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for the division.
Cuthbert-Flynn partnered with local coaches Eric Stewart, Nkomo Foster and Paul Plummer, who all had a similar vision of providing a platform for the youngsters from the area to develop their football technique.
"This is about developing sports at the grassroots level and this is something that I've always wanted to do," said Cuthbert-Flynn, an Olympian and gym owner.
"A lot of times, they don't start working on their technique until in their teens, so it's very important we start at this level. It was also great that they could interact with Richard and learn some of the drills the professionals use at the highest level."
Cuthbert-Flynn added that this is just the start of the football academy, as Lawrence Tavern, Brandon Hill and Red Hills will all have a similar academy in the coming months. The Olympian also said mentorship will be included as part of the academy.