The Grenada Football Association (GFA) has set the date April 11th as the start of its first ever National Youth League. The tournament will kick off with matches playing simultaneously at Fond, St. Patrick, Grenville Recreational Ground and Morne Rouge, St. George.
Twelve teams will participate in the inaugural tournament. The teams participating are St. Patrick East, St. Patrick West, St. Andrew North and West combined, St. Andrew East and South combined, St. John, St. Mark, St. David, St. George Northwest, St. George Northeast, St. George South and the Town of St. George.
The tournament will see the best players from various communities representing their constituencies in the U-15 age ground competition and will run for the next twelve weeks.
The aim of the tournament is to identify and select the best talents to continue training and also represent Grenada at the second biennial CONCACAF U-15 tournament, slated to be staged in the Cayman Islands, in August.
Chairman of the Youth Committee and President of the GFA Cheney Joseph believes the tournament will serve the GFA's long term vision of producing better players for future national teams.
“We want to identify these kids much earlier and secure the proper training for them to play at a much higher level" Joseph stated.
“If we are to really compete internationally, we must identify talents early and nurture them, hence the reason why we are now focusing on Under-13 and Under-15 boys and girls," said the President.
The National Youth League is an idea of the Executive Committee of the GFA and is aimed at identifying talents at an earlier stage, with a view to harnessing these youngster’s talents at a much earlier age.
Technical Director of the GFA, Lester Smith says there are many talented youths on the island, but there has not been enough avenues for them to display their talents. He believes there is a next generation of Sharlrie Joseph, Jason Robert and Kithson Bain on the island.
“Grenada has produced many great talents however, we have not been fortunate to see them on the international scene, this new generation of footballers are going to make the difference for Grenada. The aim of the League is to promote football development in Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique and to nurture our local talents.” said Smith.
Smith believes the time is right and many of these players will emerge as regional stars in the game. He encouraged the players to focus on a balanced education, healthy lifestyle, good nutrition and proper training habits in order to make a career out of the game.