President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, said that he is excited about the partnership between Sandals Foundation and Real Madrid Foundation as he believes that it will boost grassroots development locally.
Ricketts was speaking at a press conference at the Beaches Negril Resort yesterday, for a football clinic organised for next year by both parties.
The clinic set to run from May 14 to 20, 2019, at the Sandals Beaches Resort in Negril, is expected to give 30 local coaches and 50 children between the ages 6 and 17 the opportunity to learn from Real Madrid coaches.
“We are excited about the prospects of what will unfold after today’s event. We had some discussion with the Spanish Ambassador (Josep Maria Bosch Bessa), when I just got into office (in September 2017) and he would have initiated all of this,” Ricketts said.
“Sandals have come on board, partnering with the Real Madrid Foundation and of course the JFF. We want to use this as something that must have a positive effect eventually. This is the way we want to go as we want to retrain our under-12 boys, because a number of them have been trained by coaches that have no certification,” he added.
Ricketts pointed out that the JFF did an audit some years ago that showed that 1,200 of the primary schools in Jamaica had coaches that have no certification at all. He noted that the coaches at the grassroots level have to be treated with priority for this clinic.
“We have not yet worked out the details as to how we are going to select these thirty coaches, but our emphasis at the moment must certainly be on our grassroots programme,” he said. “Kids 12 and under, I would think, must get the best of the coaches. I want to ensure that our coaches have the relevant certification to start these kids on the right footing.
“Of course, these 30 coaches will be selected from across the country. The program will be concentrated in the west, but all of Jamaica will be represented, as it relates to the 50 kids that will be provided by the JFF,” he added.