Football thrives on Grenada’s Petite Martinique
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PETITE MARTINIQUE, Grenada - Petite Martinique is one of three islands, including Carriacou and Grenada, that comprise the country of Grenada. Even with a population of less than 1000 inhabitants, mainly fishermen and traders, the passion for football shines brightly.

"PM" -- to which the island is commonly referred -- has just one playing field, which is only one-third the size of a regulation football pitch and it boarders the seafront. Most days, children can be seen surrounding the perimeter in hopes of "taking a sweat." Eager to learn, some mimic the older boys as they play, absorbing everything they observe.

Keishroy DeRoche, a youth and sports officer in the Ministry of Sports has become a household name on the island for supporting football and its development. His work with the Petite Martinique Under-19 and senior teams, as well as the Carriacou Primary Schools Tournament, is testament to his dedication.

Thanks to his love for sport and community, DeRoche's tireless efforts were ultimately rewarded.

"The new GFA (Grenada Football Association) administration showed interest by assisting with the Grassroots program, they afforded me training in the FIFA Grassroots program, provided equipment and paid a visit," said DeRoche. "This delegation included two of the most important persons in GFA, the president and technical director. They made this journey over the rough seas. We are already seeing the benefits of this assistance."

Cheney Joseph, President of the GFA, and Lester Smith, GFA technical director, travelled in December to Petite Martinique, which is only accessible by boat over difficult waters. They realized that it was time for the GFA to establish a Grassroots Program on the island.

DeRoche and a number of young players were there to greet the GFA delegation upon its arrival. Joseph and Smith came with a sizeable delivery of much-needed football equipment.

"I feel great that we can finally give meaning to grassroots football in Grenada," said Joseph. "You plant a seed and you want to see it germinate.

"We expect to see the rewards of Petite Martinique grassroots in a few years. They will benefit from our gesture, but we must continue to support football on our sister islands in a meaningful way and under my administration that support will be given."

The GFA provided balls, bibs, markers and cones, so that proper training sessions could be conducted every Saturday with the PM players; all in the hope that someday one among them may become Grenada's next football star.

"Despite the limited space on the island to play football, we must not kill the aspiration of the many kids in Carriacou and Petite Martinique who dream of playing the game," Joseph added. "The desire to play and the recent support we have been giving, shows how confident we are in their future development.

"All they need is to know that someone cares and is willing to support. The GFA will continue to provide such support. We are planting seeds all over the island with our grassroots program and the benefits of this planting will be seen in a few years' time."