Jamaican Vin Blaine takes on USVI football challenges head on


Jamaican Vin Blaine takes on USVI football challenges head on

Observer writer

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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Jamaica's former director of Football Vinimore “Vin” Blaine has his hands full trying to get the US Virgin Islands (USVI) into a football mindset, and ready to take of the region.

Blaine, who quit his Jamaican post in 2017 and headed to the Grenada football programme, has moved on again travelling approximately 480 miles north to the US Virgin Islands with a wealth of coaching experience of over 30 years.

The USVI's men's team is ranked 207 out of 210 countries in the world, while their women sit at 149 out of 159 countries.

“Soccer, as they call it, is not their number one sport, so it's behind baseball and basketball,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently.

He continued: “Impact [of USVI football] in the region is a way off. We will be competitive for the most part but still have some ways to go”.

Blaine, who is a former head coach of the Reggae Girlz, is among a number of Jamaicans holding top positions in football across the Caribbean.

Jamaicans Andrew Edwards and Omar Edwards (no relation), along with Shavar Thomas and Aaron Lawrence work with the Turks and Caicos Islands national programme, while veteran Coach Carl Brown previously held the top position in the Cayman Islands.

Blaine, who coached at Harbour View, also served as a Fifa and Concacaf coaching educator teaching courses across the Caribbean for the past 10 years.

But it will take all that vast knowledge for Blaine to turn things around in the USVI, especially in this time of the coronavirus pandemic that has stymied sports worldwide.

“We have not been able to do anything on the pitch since March... no training at all. We are just now discussing a start time to resume as the government has given us the go ahead as long as we follow their protocol.

“The senior men's team is doing virtual fitness work,” he noted.

Blaine said it has been a tough task trying to implement a new culture aimed at developing the sport in the US territory.

“It had its challenges, trying to change the culture of how they approach development. But we had the opportunity to start an U-15 girls' and boys' training programme,” he said.

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