Local association keeps Jamaican, regional coaches on the ball


Local association keeps Jamaican, regional coaches on the ball

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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In crisis comes opportunity, and the Jamaica Football Coaches Association (JFCA), in response to the crippling effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is playing its part to keep coaches on the ball during this period of uncertainty.

With coaches unable to take to the pitch to have physical educational sessions, the now-revived JFCA – which was formed some time ago by Vin Blaine, Evan McKenzie, Eric Williams, Lance Cowan and a few others, before becoming dormant – has taken the business of teaching and learning to the virtual space through a series of webinars.

Veteran women's football Coach Xavier Gilbert, a vice-president of the JFCA's steering committee, pointed out that the webinars are aimed at sharing knowledge, ideas and know-how among Jamaica's football coaches.

However, since the first session on May 12, a number of technical directors and coaches from around the region have also tuned in via Zoom and welcomed the initiative, as the infectious virus continues to stifle activity around the sporting globe.

The likes of Steve Smithies, English FA's regional coach mentor officer; and Fifa and Concacaf educator/instructor Anton Corneal, who is also the former technical director of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association, have so far shared their knowledge and expertise with the many coaches on the platform.

Gilbert, the Excelsior High, Waterhouse and National Under-20 Reggae Girlz coach, explained the rebirth of the now Rudolph Speid-led JFCA.

“During and after the B licence course, the coaches decided to revive the association. So, the JFCA has been going again for just over a year now and we put together a steering committee which would go for a year and then we would have elections,” Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer.

The tactician said he is pleased that the JFCA was able to find an opportunity to assist its fellow coaches to ease the COVID-19-induced stress and keep the proverbial ball rolling, as they seek to broaden horizons and improve knowledge of the beautiful game.

“We decided that with what is happening in the COVID[-19] period, we would do some webinars to assist our fellow coaches. For the first session, we had 90 participants from all over the region, including a number of national coaches and technical directors, which was really good to get this initiative on the road.

“So the tone was well set for the second session, where we looked at systems of play to a full house of 100 participants. That again went really well, and the bit of knowledge was well received by the coaches as it can help them to develop,” he noted.

With just two sessions gone so far in the series, Gilbert welcomed the positive response and promised that a more comprehensive approach will be undertaken to sweeten the coaches' experiences going forward.

“We are excited and grateful that the feedback has been very good, and we are planning to ensure that we can accommodate as many as coaches as possible for the next webinar.

“Because, like I said, it has been well received by the coaches and this [is] just to ensure that we can add other members to the association; and we also want to work with the Jamaica Football Federation, especially for coaching education,” Gilbert shared.

“So we want to help as many of our coaches at this time and it's a holistic approach that we are taking as it relates to budget and financing and even in this time, the psychological aspects. So we are looking at physical preparation, goalkeeping, all aspects of the sport and daily life to include wellness and lifestyle as well,” he ended.

Other members of the steering committee include Concacaf Development Manager Andre Waugh, general secretary; vice-presidents Merron Gordon and Vassell Reynolds, and treasurer Andrew Peart.

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