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St. Lucia embraces grassroots development
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More than 100 young people participated in a CONCACAF Grassroots Festival in St. Lucia on on January 25, 2014.

VIEUX FORT, Saint Lucia - CONCACAF held a well-received three-day grassroots development course in the south of Saint Lucia this week, combining intensive classroom education sessions with practical work on the field.  The program concluded on Saturday with a vibrant grassroots festival attended by over 100 local children.

The grassroots course focused on coaching techniques for those instructing children aged 6-12 and was centered on creating engaging exercises that will encourage greater participation in the game, while also introducing fundamental technical skills.

The course was attended by 21 St. Lucian coach-educators, who are already involved in youth coaching at a grassroots level, and was carried out by CONCACAF instructors Lenny Lake from St.Kitts & Nevis and Jefferson George from Trinidad & Tobago.

In keeping with CONCACAF’s philosophy of assisting social change through football, participants came from a wide-range of organizations, including local clubs and St. Lucia Football Association (SFLA) bodies, but also from community organizations, voluntary groups, schools and churches.

The sessions were highly interactive with the coach-educators taking full advantage of their opportunity to learn from the expertise of their instructors.

“This has been extremely useful and informative,” said volunteer coach Gilroy Lamontagne, who runs a community-based academy for young players in Soufriere, a town on St. Lucia’s west coast.  “I’ve learnt what things I am doing right, some things I need to correct and plenty of new ideas.

“The key thing now is for us to take what we have learnt and put into practice with the youngsters we work with.”

That is a process with which SFLA President Lyndon Cooper says his organization is keen to help.

“It will happen,” expressed Cooper.  “The follow-up for us is that as part of the SLFA’s 2014 program of activities we will have national festivals every quarter just to assure that the kids have the opportunity to play at least four times at the national level.”

Cooper encouraged other affiliated member associations to take full advantage of CONCACAF’s grassroots program by saying, “The hope is that this is the beginning of a new generation of football in the region and my advice is to sign up to the program.”

A lively festival with the course youth players attendees concluded the event, utilizing the methods gained during the sessions on Thursday and Friday.

As well as practicing their control and passing skills, the children were each provided with full playing uniforms from CONCACAF and 100 balls were distributed.

 
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