JFF boss lauds Scotiabank Next Play Cup
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts believes that more attention needs to be paid to youth football in Jamaica.
Ricketts was speaking at a press conference launching the second edition of the Scotiabank Concacaf Next Play Cup, a competition spanning four Caribbean countries – Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The tournament will commence on November 28 and run until December 7 and Ricketts believes the competition will engage kids at an early age and expose them to the sport, while fostering skills in the game.
“I’ve always thought that at this level, we need far more attention,” Ricketts said. “This Next Play is kind of equivalent to the JFF grass-roots programme, where we connect with kids aged 12 and under and try to get them to fall in love with the sport and, of course, to get them technically prepared.”
Ricketts hopes that the programme provide aspiring footballers with not only the appropriate football education but life skills that will be able to take them far.
“Sometimes we teach our kids the technical aspects of football much too late. I do believe that this programme will fundamentally address some of the key issues, and as I said to these youngsters, football provides a platform for greatness, but you must mix your academics with your footballing skills, and the sky is the limit,” Ricketts added.
Over 2,000 boys and girls aged 10-11 from approximately 224 schools across the Caribbean will take part in the tournament.
The youngsters will participate in an academy that will teach them the basics of the sport, as well as various social skills that are imperative to their development. Holy Family Primary School, reigning champions of the Jamaica leg of the Next Play Cup, were in attendance.