IT'S apt, we think, that the Red Stripe-sponsored Premier League football season is starting just a few days before Jamaica's vital World Cup qualifying clash with the United States at the National Stadium.
For while few, if any, of those who will take the field in Jamaica colours next Friday night currently play in the local league, most if not all will have cut their teeth in it.
Indeed, Jamaica's proudest achievement in football, which was qualification for the 1998 World Cup Finals in France, was built on the contribution of mostly local-based players in the domestic league.
There is much to be desired. In many instances, the playing surfaces and facilities are way below par. Some clubs struggle to achieve an adequate professional standard administratively and on the field. And without exception, Jamaican football clubs are sadly under-resourced.
Former prime minister and chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association Mr Edward Seaga underlined the latter point. He was reported as saying that the clubs will again struggle to make ends meet.
It speaks to the love and commitment for football and their dedication to the development of youth that year in, year out, regardless of the difficulties, football administrators, managers, coaches, referees, and others come with renewed zeal, intent on a successful Premier League season.
Of course none of it would be possible without the sponsors. Red Stripe have promised 'beer niceness' utilising all the outreach promotional tools, including technological aids such as television and social media.
Monday night football was an encouraging success last season, and we look forward to its return. We wish the sponsors and organisers well as they attempt new tweaks such as the 'Future Starz' initiative to involve and excite Jamaicans.
We welcome the suggestion from Mr Sean Yelle, Red Stripe senior brand manager, that his company will be seeking to use football to enhance community life.
"... It's about going into the communities, and we know that there is little more than football that drives these communities," said Mr Yelle.
In the case of this newspaper, Mr Yelle is preaching to the converted. We well remember the football initiative of the late 1990s involving Dr Omar Davies, member of Parliament for South St Andrew and Mr Seaga, then MP for West Kingston, which assisted a dramatic reduction of tension between hostile political garrison communities. It was an example that would eventually positively affect all communities in our politically divisive culture.
As we enter a new Premier League football season, this newspaper wishes to convey our best regards to the players, coaches, managers, administrators, referees, supporters, sponsors and all who are called on to play a role. May the sun never set on the 'beautiful game'.