FA Cup makes stop at Charlie Smith
It was a carnival-like atmosphere on the grounds at the Charlie Smith High school as students at the institution got the opportunity for a first-hand view of the English FA Cup yesterday.
The students along with their teachers gathered in the school's quadrangle from as early as 6:00 a.m., anxiously awaiting the arrival of the world's oldest knockout football trophy.
There were loud screams and shouting from the students when the trophy finally arrived minutes after 8:00am.
Minister of Sports Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, who was in attendance, said she was very delighted that Charlie Smith was chosen as the school of choice to showcase the FA Cup.
"It's a very historic occasion because it is great for the school, it's great for FLOW, and it is great for Jamaica," said Grange.
"I feel particularly pleased because I am connected to the school, because by cousin was one of their best players when he attended school here, and so I am happy that FLOW chose Charlie Smith," she said.
A partnership between FLOW and FA Cup holders Manchester United has given Jamaicans the opportunity to see the trophy here for the first time.
Jerome Waite, head coach of the Charlie Smith football team, said this is huge achievement for the school.
"It is a good feeling because this is something that you can't find words to speak about," said Waite.
"It is great to see Charlie Smith being selected as the only school to showcase this trophy because a lot of schools that have done well in football would have loved this privilege, but Charlie Smith is the one that got it," he said.
Waite added that this will certainly help to boost the morale of the students at Charlie Smith.
"This is one of the oldest Cups in global football, and it is always good to see it live and so we are hoping that this can only help motivate our students to move forward in whatever areas that they specialise in," Waite said.
Charlie Smith's head boy and captain of the school's Manning Cup team, Shamarley Clayton, said it is great feeling to be able to see the FA Cup trophy live.
"This makes me feel great because I always see this trophy on television, and to see it now in reality, is just a wonderful feeling," said Clayton.
"This is great opportunity for the students at Charlie Smith because a lot of people don't see Charlie Smith as a traditional high school, and so for us to get this opportunity to see the FA Cup live, is a great opportunity for the school, " he said.
The trophy is in the Caribbean courtesy of a deal between FLOW and Manchester United FC. The deal was inked last February and gave FLOW distribution rights of the MUTV channel in the Caribbean.
The FA Cup is the oldest association football competition in the world. It was first played during the 1871-72 English season.