Coach educators course to boost Jamaica’s football
Several noted football stakeholders believe the recently concluded FIFA/Concacaf coach educators course will help Jamaica to become a true powerhouse in the sport for the long term.
The five-day programme held in Kingston ended on Friday and saw 18 participants from Concacaf member associations participate in theoretical and practical sessions to receive the necessary information and exposure to lead the development and mentoring of student coaches in the region.
Head of coaching and player development at FIFA Branimir Ujevic, FIFA’s Senior Coaching Development Manager Giovani Fernandes, and former England Under-17 and Manchester United consultant John Peacock were among those who oversaw the course.
Interim Reggae Girlz Head Coach Xavier Gilbert was a participant in the programme and says this will further enhance football on the island.
“It has been extremely good, it has opened our eyes. I must say thanks to FIFA, Concacaf, and the JFF [Jamaica Football Federation] for giving us the opportunity to grow as coach educators. A lot of us learnt new stuff and we have to put it into practice,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“We continue to develop, and coaching education is important. Hence, we [Jamaica] have closed the gap on powerhouses in Concacaf and also the other Caribbean countries are closing the gap on us, all because of coaching education. The competitiveness we see in our local football is because of coaching education, so it plays a vital role. The coach educators can better be able to prepare the student coaches who will go out and coach. It’s a ripple effect, better coach educators results in better coaches and better players,” Gilbert added.
Chairman of the JFF’s Technical Committee and head coach of Cavalier, Rudolph Speid, outlined that this course will help to save millions of dollars in developing the sport locally.
“It help the country a lot, because normally with one of these courses we have to get experts from overseas, put up in the best hotel, airfare, and everything, it costs a lot, so we have to charge in order not to operate at a loss. Now we are the ones who will be able to do it, so you see the price differences right away, so that is positive for the aspirant coaches. It’s just a wonderful achievement. We have about 3,000 persons coaching in Jamaica as we speak [with] only 120 C licence coaches, so it’s a difficult slag. So now [that we] have about 10 or 11 coaches that can teach the C licence it should be easier,” said Speid.
Glenmuir High’s head coach and head of coaching education at the JFF, Andrew Peart, says youth football will see the most benefit from this course.
“The formative years of any student or player is very important, so we want to bring across the same concept that just as the kindergarten or primary level, you have properly trained teachers there. It has to be the same for sports, in this case football. So having better-equipped persons who are more knowledgeable about the game or understand safeguarding policies or understand the stage of development that children are, not treating them like adults, it’s really important that we increase the pool of those who are available for the formative years,” said Peart.
Technical director of Kingston Football Academy and Campion High, Eric Rademakers, says a lot of issues on and off the field in Jamaica will be resolved through a course like this.
“Education is a huge part of most of the problems that we have, so for us to get educated in how to educate is, I think, a crucial part in developing football here. I think a lot of it comes down to what we’re used to. Reality is most of the times we don’t get the exposure and experience to understand how we have to deal with certain ages groups, elite teams versus recreational teams, etc. So I think the great thing from this week is we really get a lot of input and examples of how things should be done at a high level. People came from FIFA, Brazil, Croatia, and England who have all of this experience, so I think our standard is going to go up with this. Tomorrow we’re not going to see the benefit, but over time we’ll have more and more persons who understand what it looks like to [be] coaching grass roots, elite teams, and professional teams,” he said.
One of the highlights of the session was the participants’ visit to the MVP Track and Field Club where they received insight and experiences from founder Stephen Francis.