By Christopher Tobutt
FC international held one of their famous annual football camps at the Old Man Bay football field in North Side, so that the kids there had a chance to join in the fun of meeting one another, learning new football skills, and most important of all, playing together. The dedicated team of volunteers from FC International including the club’s Technical Director, Elbert McLean, and Club President, Kennedy Ebanks (and many more, too many to name individually) give up their time, year after year for the kids who are all aged between 4 and 16. The volunteers do it because they all love football, and they know what it did for them when they were growing up, so they don’t want any child to miss out. Their aim is usually to hold about a weeklong camp at a chosen playing field in each district during the summer holidays. This year, because covid-19 has messed up everyone’s schedule, the camps have been held nearer the end of the year, and some of them, such as this one at North Side, are just one-day camps instead of the usual week. The camp is completely free, and each of the kids get smart football shirts to wear, and a meal.
Elected Representatives Ezzard Miller from North Side and Arden McLean from East End met the coaches and kids, giving words of encouragement. Mr. Miller told the children that they must be very grateful to Mr. Kennedy and FC International who have been doing this every year, and that it’s a great opportunity for the to learn to play by the rules, and to be competitive. “But winning is not everything. It is more important to be fair, and to enjoy the game.”
“We want to thank Arden McLean and Ezzard Miler for being here today,” said Mr. Ebanks, “today we wanted to add something new to the camp. We had kids that wanted ice cream, so we have the ice cream van onsite making them happy and enjoying the day, it’s been a real fun day.”
Elbert McLean said, “We want to contribute back to society by helping the kids get something positive together. This morning the kids have been learning skills like passing, controlling, and teamwork and stuff like that. When all of those drills are finished, we are going to begin games.
After the ice-cream break, the cooled-off kids got right back to practicing some of the techniques they had been learning. Towards the end of the morning, the kids got into several different groups, so that several small games were going on at a time. Some of them, even the small ones, looked very confident as they put their skills into practice. There were nearly equal numbers of girls and boys at North Side. Eleven-year-old Ava said, “I have been having fun because I like being on the field and I like kicking the ball and trying to score some goals. Today I learned how to correctly pass with the inside of your foot.” Nevaeh aged eight said, “I like it here because I get to meet new people. I like to play football and I really like sports,” while their friend Shafna, aged 10 said, “I like it because I get to meet new people and I get to learn new skills.”
Nazario Wilson, aged 12 is already so good he was teaching some of the other kids the skills he has learned, “I like this football camp because I like showing them how to go in and out of the cones, dribbling with the ball,” he said.