Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Charity Games goes international

Published:Saturday | January 11, 2020 | 12:10 AM
Violette Le Chevert
Violette Le Chevert

The fourth staging of Game of Life’s (GOL) Charity Games at Ashenheim Stadium at Jamaica College today will have an international flair.

Six footballers from American colleges will feature on the day, thanks to a collaboration with Football for the World (FFTW). GOL chief executive officer Shamal Thomas says this brings a unique atmosphere to the event.

“It is important to have international participants, because it shows dynamism and it brings a different type of vibe to our local football,” he said. “It’s not often that you have people flying just to play any event or any tournament here in Jamaica. I figured that if we have international players who are of quality coming, then people will come to see them.”

Those female footballers have been taking part in the donations to institutions such as Rollington Primary School, Seaview Gardens Primary School, and Trench Town Primary School, since they arrived last Saturday. Football boots, jerseys, shorts, socks, and ball pumps were donated.

“We mainly target inner-city schools because they get low support. And some children are at risk, so you can show them a way out. You’ll get a lot more interest from them in playing the sport,” Thomas said.

Also invited as an international guest is Caitlyn Schrepfer. This professional football freestyler from Los Angeles is second in the world in her discipline. It isn’t the superstar’s first time in Jamaica, which she talks about like her “favourite week of the year”.

FAST IMPROVEMENT

For Violette Le Chevert however, it is the first visit to Jamaica. The 21-year-old Frenchwoman will be at the event as a referee for the females game. “I started refereeing three years ago and I passed some diplomas,” Le Chevert told The Gleaner. “I’m used to Under 19 games but since last year, I also referee adults’ games. As a woman, I would definitely not say it’s easier, but since we are fewer than men, we move up to higher leagues and improve way quicker.”

For the football passionate young woman from Paimpol, refereeing in a foreign country is a great experience. “I’m ­curious about discovering what the Jamaican and American levels are. I never thought I would have such an opportunity to referee a game in Jamaica!” she said. Asked what might be different from the usual, she answered “I’m a little apprehensive about the language barrier. I won’t be able to communicate as much as I usually do. But I’m very excited.”

Likewise for the last editions, Jamaican football celebrities will be playing. They consider having a role on the field but also off-field, hence why they are ambassadors for the foundation.

Reggae Boyz defender Damion Lowe is one of the ambassadors. “I think I can use my experience and how I got to where I’m at to inspire and to motivate others,” he said. “I feel like [today] is going to be the best yet. We just have to continue to grow together as a family and as a team and help to impact lives across Jamaica.

Melena Helias

Today’s activities:

n Opening ceremony 10 a.m.

n Women’s game 1 p.m.

n ‘El clasico’ (legends versus celebrities) 3 p.m.

n Ballers derby (Team Dominic versus team Darrien) 7 p.m

n Closing ceremony 9 p.m.