Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
THE IMPACT of sports (and football in general) on communities and individuals was highlighted recently as scores of community members turned out to participate in Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners' fifth annual Community Football League awards ceremony at the Cardiff Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann.
Thirty-five teams, representing 35 communities in St Ann participated in the league that ran from June to September, culminating with champions in the Mines Division, St D'Acre FC, defeating Plants Division champions, Thicketts FC, to be crowned Champion of Champions.
Scores of representatives turned out at the awards ceremony, continuing the show of support that has marked the playing of each match over the three-month period.
Commandant for the St Ann police, Senior Superintendent Dudley Scott, speaking at the ceremony, commended the league for its impact on the communities, especially in the area of discipline.
"The discipline speaks volumes," Scott said. "There is overwhelming evidence of the positive impact of the football competition."
According to the senior cop, competitions such as the Noranda Community Football League serve to reduce crime and build a bond between the police and community members. Scott urged the players to promote and develop themselves, dream and think big and they will make it in their chosen field.
Member of parliament (MP) for South West St Ann, Keith Walford, also spoke of the importance of sports to development and commended the bauxite company for the league.
"Competitions like this help to keep the youth focused," Walford said. The MP also challenged the players to form one strong team from the various community teams that could reach the level of the National Premier League.
Positive words also came from St Ann FA president, Danny Beckford and guest speaker, former national coach, Carl Brown, who urged the youth to become leaders instead of followers.
David Wong Ken, director, property and legal department at Noranda, said any programme that engages the youth in a positive way needs to be supported. He urged the players to maintain the high level of discipline.
Among the individual winners from Plant were Nevon Jones of Thicketts FC and Kemar Brown of Old Folly, who shared the leading goalscorer award, Michael Jones of Thicketts - MVP, Alvin Train (Woods Town FC) - top defender, Derrick Ward (Old Folly) - top goalkeeper, Aldain Haystin (Woods Town FC) - top midfielder, Anderson Matthews (Thicketts FC) - emerging player. Top coach was Phillip Gallimore of Woods Town FC and Content FC was most disciplined team.
From Mines, St D'Acre players captured most of the individual awards with Kedrick Bailey the leading goalscorer and also player of the finals, Norwayne Morgan, top goalkeeper and MVP, Denour Brown, top defender, and Wilbert Shaw, top coach.
Jovane Wilson of Happy News FC was top midfielder, Brown's Town High School student Zavion Miller was voted emerging player and Aboukir Institute, most disciplined team.