Nick Ziadie, Shortwood Teachers' College link lays out artificial turfs
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Jamaican youths will soon have the opportunity to hone their football skills on artificial turfs after the construction of three courts at Shortwood Teachers' College in upper St Andrew by New Kids on the Block Football Factory.
The idea of establishing a synthetic football venue in Jamaica is the brainchild of former national youth player, Nicholas 'Nick' Ziadie, who along with his fellow directors Nicole Ziadie, James Sampson and Bryan Ingleton approached Shortwood Teachers' College and suggested the partnership.
"Football is my passion and this is something I thought about years ago. I actually tried to do it in Florida but I was not able to," Ziadie said.
"I came back down here about four years ago, and even before I moved back I approached Shortwood Teachers' College, because I knew they had those courts sitting there for probably 20 years and weren't in use, and they liked the idea and we started the partnership," the former St George's College Manning Cup champion and Jamaica junior representative told The Gleaner.
The venue, which is slated to be open to the public in early November, boasts three courts suitable to host five-a-side games. Persons will be able to become members and rent the courts, but Ziadie also intends to host classes at a minimal cost for youngsters.
"Football is a passion and I want to somehow contribute and give back what I have learnt from my father, and this gives me an avenue to do some coaching," Ziadie, who is the son of former national senior player and juvenile coach Dennis, expressed.
"I am thinking about youth development; I think this is the best skill developer. It is putting kids in a confined space, it is quicker thinking, more ball movement and the ball stays on the field more," he explained.
not int'l standard
The courts are not as firm as the surfaces for futsal, which is FIFA's approved version of courts for indoor football.
"The courts are not international standard, but the surfaces are approved. I just cannot have international games on it," Ziadie explained. "This type of surface is big in countries like UK and Japan. In Jamaica, every surface is hard and I wanted to do something that was real grass."
Sports goods manufacturers adidas and corporate entities National Commercial Bank Jamaica, ATL Autohaus, Wisynco CranWata and Proven are the current sponsors of the venture.
"It will cater for all age groups, football fanatics and players and spectators of all ages," shared Nicole Ziadie, who will be managing the facility. "We are really looking at a family venue. At the top of our clubhouse you will be able to hang out and watch the game."