Nackeshia Tomlinson, Gleaner Writer
TREASURE BEACH, St Elizabeth:
A number of local and international agencies will be collaborating to host the Jamaica Soccer Cup Tournament in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, between August and July 2013.
Tournament director Bert Lobo said the tournaments would host a variety of different age groups. The categories would include under-10 boys and girls, 11 to 18 years, men over 35, and adult open men and women.
Describing the event as much more than soccer, Lobo revealed that the target market included the United States, Canada, Mexico, teams in the CONCACAF region, and Brazil and England, which had also expressed interest.
According to the tournament director, the programme will "offer quality", and they will invite referees from the football federation and around the world. He expects the event to be huge.
Lobo said, however, that they were experiencing difficulties with funding and were soliciting support from corporate Jamaica to help offset expenditure.
Executive director of the Jamaica Soccer Cup Tournament, Jason Henzell, said that although residents had not yet been fully sensitised, they were aware and supportive of the overall sports tourism strategy.
He said the objective of the competition is to create a youth tournament initially, and then grow footballers into a Premier League team to eventually represent the parish.
Henzell explained that the idea is to link the Munro and Treasure Beach communities, where there are eight fields, and to extend the tournament throughout the parish to include Appleton and Gilnock. During Year Two, the vision is to expand to the north of the parish to areas such as Crawford and Black River
Henzell said the spin-off effect would be the generation of income in the parish for transport operators, educational institutions that would be used as dormitories, hotels, restaurants, and attractions.
He added that the initiative is part of the strategy to "move the annual occupancy from 25 per cent to 50 per cent in the next five years within the Greater Treasure Beach area".