Tivoli Gardens footballers bring Christmas cheer to west Kingston
Having grown up in Tivoli Gardens, Nathan Thomas understands the significance of receiving gifts during community events. Now, as a player for Tivoli Gardens FC, Thomas and his teammates were able to recreate that experience during their recent Christmas event held at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex in west Kingston.
The five-time national champions organised and hosted the event for numerous children and teenagers from Tivoli and the neighbouring west Kingston communities. During the event, the team distributed gifts to the participants and engaged in various activities and also provided food for everyone to enjoy.
Midfielder Thomas expressed his happiness to the Jamaica Observer in being able to bring joy and smiles to the faces of those who took part in the event.
“When I was a kid, I was happy to get free ice cream, free bags, books and toys to play in the Christmas because you know not everyone was fortunate to get barrels, etc, from family and friends abroad so giving back is always a good thing. You give a yute a chance to play with some toys, enjoy the Christmas and it’s about family, so sharing is the biggest part of family. It’s always a good feeling to give back to the community,” he said.
Despite being in the position of head coach for less than six months, Jerome Waite was enthusiastic about being involved in the seasonal celebrations.
“This is something that Tivoli will always look forward to during the Christmas season and you know the fact that these players have done so much over the period of time, it’s the best time to give back. This is something we always look forward to when the supporters take time out to support us during the games so this is a good time to give back to the community,” Waite said.
Club President Annmarie “Dawn” Heron expressed her admiration for the players’ eagerness to make a positive impact in the community.
“It’s really not me per se as the president, this is an event that the footballers are giving back to the surrounding communities of the club. I supported them once they wanted to do it because it’s a very good gesture at Christmastime [because] Christmas is a time for giving. We hope next year, we can get help to do bigger and better,” she said.
Tivoli, who haven’t won the Premier League title since 2011, endured a miserable 2022/23 campaign after finishing 11th on 22 points and recording just five wins from their 26 games. However, they have been flying in the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League season and are currently third on 18 points, already match last season’s win tally.
Thomas believes an initiative like the Christmas event will lead to better results on the pitch.
“Giving back to the community is always important because the community support us a lot, they always come out in their numbers and give us the support we need. Giving back to them is like a like for situation; they support us, we support them. Supporting them encourages them to come out, support the team and the club and it’s a great feeling,” said Thomas.
After their act of giving back to the community, the players will shift their focus to their upcoming match against Harbour View on Wednesday, when they will be looking to receive three points.