GC Foster kicking up a storm in women's football
In only their first year of top-flight competition, reigning intercollegiate champions GC Foster College have qualified for the semi-finals of the JFF/Sherwin Williams Women's Football Colourscape Knockout.
GC Foster's athletic director Ventley Brown, in expressing his delight with the progress of the female team, said there was "no pressure or high expectation on the girls to win the championship with this year being the first for the team".
He described the team as comprising "very bright, young and articulate girls coming out of high school and with the college's development programme there will be some national players in the future".
Brown credited the Sports Development Foundation, Team Jamaica Bickle and GC Foster College, which provided scholarships as central to the ladies immediate impact in the competition.
The athletic director believes, however, that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) should look to intercol to boost women's football.
"The collegiate system can develop sports for Jamaica but there needs to be a framework for financial investment. I believe that if the Jamaica Football Federation wants to reap rewards in female football the easiest way to do it is to invest in the colleges.
"With the GC Foster College and the University of the West Indies now in the women's premier league, I would hope that other universities and colleges will follow the lead but would hope that the JFF would seize the opportunity and realise that this is the ideal setting for national development," he explained.
Insisting that this was the way forward, Brown argues that if the JFF would provide scholarships and assistance in getting to local talents, intercol would make available training, education, facilities for development, and a semester of competition that would also focus on the premier league.
"The JFF could use their technical coaching staff to further develop our coaches, thus providing a platform for supervising the national product and also keeping an eye on the stage by stage development of the girls," he further pointed out.
Brown is confident that his approach would work.
"This is a worthwhile investment, versus calling a camp two weeks before any major tournament. Between the JFF and college programmes, we could organise matches between an all-star intercol team and international universities and more consistently national games.
"This objective can become a reality. We just need to set the framework and have all the right strategies in the right place. Football continues to be Jamaica's most supported sport, let us capitalise on this product and develop a plan that will finally develop women's football," he concluded.
GC Foster College have won 12 intercollegiate titles for the 2011-12 academic year.
"This is no luck but due to hard work done by my department, the coaches, and most importantly, the student athletes," Brown stressed.