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Ten years and still on the ball

Florida-based J'can alumni sport festival celebrates milestone with new initiatives

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Another exciting and family fun-filled Labour Day weekend should be on the cards when the Jamaica High School Alumni Soccer Tournament (JHSASN) celebrates its 10th staging at the Lauderhill Sports Complex on Sunday and Monday, with new initiatives.

Organisers have upped the volume on the entertaining side by introducing live acts — Rudy Live, Dilly Chris and KAYAPI — to fire up the crowd between sporting competition in football and netball among Jamaican high school alumni over the two days.

On Monday's finale, America's Labour Day, JHSASN brings to the fans for the first time an old boys'-version All Manning-All DaCosta (AMAD) game, where past standout players, 35 years old and more will attempt to roll back the clock in pursuit of the JHSASN-AMAD trophy.

The annual event, which brings together the Jamaican Diaspora in a colourful array of sports, traditional food and culture, continues to enjoy support from South Florida's state bodies and corporate community.

“March of 2017 the City of Lauderhill Board of Commission unanimously voted to make the alumni tournament a city-sponsored event. We are grateful for this opportunity.

“This event has become such a cultural convening and is another great reflection of our county's diversity. The city of Lauderhill is proud to partner with and support this initiative,” said Howard Berger, city of Lauderhill commissioner.

The multifaceted event, which is free to the public, will also have a specialised fun area for children and a Caribbean-American market of local vendors.

Meanwhile, JHSASN president Lavern Deer urged other corporate sponsors to come on board with an event that promotes brand Jamaica in a spirit of family, sport and culture.

“We are thankful for our sponsors as we couldn't host the event without their contribution. We invite other sponsors to come on board as we look forward to an exciting and grand 10th -year staging,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Currently, the event is sponsored by Jamaica National Building Society, Greater Fort Lauderdale Hello Sunny, Jamaica Tourist Board, Irie FM, WZPP Radio, I-Star Music and Miami Broward One Carnival

Confirmed to renew battles in the football competition are Kingston College, Clarendon College, Bridgeport High, St Elizabeth Technical, Meadowbrook High, Tivoli Gardens High, St Mary's College, Herbert Morrison High, Glenmuir High, Cornwall College, Calabar High, Wolmer's High, Manning's High, Dinthill High, Ferncourt High and Excelsior High.

In netball, where both males and females participate, Ardenne High, Denbigh High, The Queen's School, Dunoon Technical and Glenmuir are down to compete.

Each year the football alumni descend on South Florida to renew old rivalries and fight for bragging rights, plus US$2,000 in prizes and the National Weekly trophy.

The cash prizes won are sent back to Jamaica to assist the sport programmes of the various alma maters.

“Many of the teams comprise former DaCosta and Manning Cup players and it is always fun to see them reliving their glory days. But more impressively, year after year, teams donate their winnings to their alma maters and, as result, we have been able to donate some US$10,000 ($1.2 million) so far to high school sports programmes in Jamaica,” noted Deer.

Last year's event was severely affected on the final day by a lightning storm. and the day ended in an unavoidable anti-climax at the quarter-final stage, where all teams subsequently voted to rededicate the prize money back into this year's tournament.

— Sean Williams