Regional

Sandals teams with Real Madrid for kiddies clinics

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Friday, June 08, 2018

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — Fifty Jamaican children under the age of 13 years and 30 coaches will benefit from a collaboration between Sandals Resorts International (SRI) and Spanish football giants Real Madrid after the joint announcement of a five-day clinic to be held in Jamaica in May 2019.

A day after the hotel chain announced their long-term sponsorship of West Indies cricket, the announcement of the clinic was made at Beaches Negril on Wednesday.

Among those attending the launch were SRI deputy chairman and Sandals Foundation President Adam Stewart; Andres Muntaner, new projects and clinics and campus manager at Real Madrid Foundation; Josep Maria Bosch Bessa, the Spanish ambassador to Jamaica; state ministers Floyd Green and Alando Terrelonge; and Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts.

According to a press release, there will be two camps open to boys and girls, the first to be held at Beaches Negril from May 14-20 next year, and another to be held at Beaches Turks and Caicos, May 22-28.

In outlining the vision of the Real Madrid Foundation clinics, Muntaner said the two parties “shared the same vision”.

This, they claim, is an “opportunity to bolster the practice of soccer, support grass-roots soccer and to educate the Jamaican kids”.

Coaches from the Real Madrid system will be in charge of the clinics that will be open to children that will be selected from western parishes.

According to Muntaner, the “high-performance training that combined top-class training with educational values”, will benefit the sport here.

The Real Madrid Foundation, which is 20 years old and is in 100 countries on five continents, “is trying to help those who need it by giving them a better future”.

“It's a powerful social tool, not just football, but more important, we give them values and help them to develop as good citizens. Sports is a powerful tool and the real school of life,” Muntaner said.

Ricketts, the JFF boss, said while the federation had been engaged in earlier discussions with the Spanish ambassador about getting assistance for the local game, he was “delighted” by the effort, saying “this is the way the JFF wants to go”.

Stewart said his hope were for the clinics to continue on an annual basis where more children would be reached, and the possibility exists that the programme will grow and reach even more children.

“Probably the most beneficial part is not only does it give us the opportunity to do something with a brand like Real Madrid Foundation and market that to the world to show Jamaica and put Jamaica in eyes that maybe they would not be looking beyond the sun, sand and sea.

“This year we can include 50 children in this programme and 30 coaches over two five-day periods staged in May 2019. The idea of the growing to over maybe 500 and 600 children, and if we do a good job of selling and marketing this programme, then of course we will be expanding to maybe four or six five-days clinic each with 50 more children,” noted Stewart.

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