Sat | May 28, 2022

Real Madrid launch football school in JA

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Mark Rollins (left) of Rose Hall Developments Limited, Jesus Silva (centre), ambassador of Spain and president of the Spanish Jamaica Foundation, and Emilio Butragueno, director of institutional relations for Real Madrid Foundation, sign off on an agreement between the entities for the development of the Real Madrid Football School for Social Integration, at Knutsford Court Hotel, Ruthven Road, yesterday. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer

Youngsters from some of the most troubled communities in Montego Bay have been afforded an avenue to develop and enhance their football skills, with the establishment of the Real Madrid Football School for Social Integration.

The school, which is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, is a joint venture between the Real Madrid Foun-dation (RMF), Spanish Jamaican Foundation (SPJF) and Rose Hall Developments (RHD).

The school will be temporarily located on the lands of the Rose Hall football playing field, which is adjacent to the Hilton Hotel in Montego Bay.

Former Reggae Boyz goalkeeper, Aaron Lawrence, manages the school, which started over the weekend with approximately 30 boys and girls.

"This is my dream that I had that when I was finished playing and finished doing the things that I could do best, then I would help other youngsters to be better persons and teach them to be better footballers," said Lawrence, while speaking at the signing of the agreement between RMF, SPJF and RHD, at the Knutsford Court Hotel yesterday.

"It is a social integration school, we will get these kids from the various communities and most of the inner-city youths," he added.

The Ambassador of Spain and president of the SPJF, Jesus Silva informed that in the school's second phase, it will be expanded with the erection of a permanent structure on lands donated by the Rollins family in the Rose Hall area.

"We are going to start a fund-raising campaign with our objective being to start building the future infrastructure for the school, which will have two football fields, classrooms and changing rooms," said Silva. "The Spanish Jamaican Foundation is going to be responsible for funding the day-to-day running of the school," he added.


Emilio Butragueno, the internationally acclaimed former Spain and Real Madrid striker and director of institutional relations for Real Madrid, is confident the school will be a success.

"We receive many, many offers to set up our schools in many countries so we need to have a guarantee that this school is going to be ran in the proper way and here we feel very comfortable and I am sure it is going to be a very successful project," said Butragueno.

"The main purpose right now is to help young people here in Jamaica, that is the first step. We will see what can happen in the future. We hope and would like to have a long relation (ship) with Jamaica," the Spaniard added.