Player development initiative enters second phase
Leighton Levy, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Come October 29, approximately 72 players from the Red Stripe Premier League will begin the second phase of the Red Stripe Player Development Initiative aimed at making the players in the league standouts for their clubs and country. The initiative is also aimed at empowering them with the skills to make something of their lives and to be role models for the children in their respective communities.
The initiative is part of the sponsor's estimated J$800 million sponsorship programme over the next five years that will see as many as 350 players become more rounded individuals who will be better able to provide for their families.
"One of the thrusts over the next five years is that we develop six players from each club every year, and each year, we renew those six players. Those six players go through a very rigorous development programme," said Kamal Powell of Red Stripe. "We started in September with Colin Nell coming to Jamaica to introduce the players to player-development, and looking at sports development, sports sponsorship and seeing sports as an overall business and how they can build themselves in sports."
The initiative is being rolled out in five-week blocks, with a third phase coming later during the competition. The phase that is about to begin is in partnership with the Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), the premier crime-prevention programme on the island.
"We believe in using sport as a catalyst for social cohesion and for change. In light of this, we have decided to partner with Red Stripe in their player-development initiative because we feel we have in-house expertise when it comes to conflict resolution," said Patrice Tomlinson-Nephew, communications and social marketing coordinator at CSJP. "We have trained mediators in-house because along with the other developmental work that we do in communities, if we don't have a peaceful community, the social fabric is depleted, so that is how we saw it fit to partner with Red Stripe. We also are hoping that this cohort of players can actually become peace ambassadors for the CSJP because peace is something every nook and cranny in Jamaica needs."
journey of self-discovery
During the five-week programme, the players will be taken on a journey of self-discovery. "Who am I? What's my role on a team? How important is each player? Once we get persons to understand that, then certain misconceptions that persons might have which lead to conflict can be eliminated," Tomlinson-Nephew explained. "We also take persons through how conflict erodes the fabric of a team and then leave them with techniques on how to deal with conflict, deal with the issue not the person. Communication is the key."
Powell said Red Stripe would also be partnering with another entity to help raise the players' ethical standards as well as improve social etiquette. "What we want to do is ensure that when they move on outside of football, perhaps into international football, or even in their communities, they can be role models for young persons in those communities," said Powell, who revealed that the third phase, which is to come, would include public speaking development.