World Sports Foundation Visits Turks and Caicos Islands
In World Sports Foundation’s first trip with the newly formed charity we visited Turks and Caicos Islands.
(FULL GALLERY OF PHOTOS COMING SOON)
On Wednesday, May 24, 2017 just after 8:00 PM local time I landed safely at Providencials International Airport in Turks and Caicos Islands. TCI is an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean, a British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas. All the donated gear made the journey and I made it through customs with no issues. My friend Jonathan Jennings of Coco Vibes sent his brother Robert to pick me up. Robert took me their friend’s place, where I’d couch surf for the next four nights.
Thursday World Sports Foundation’s work began with Turks and Caicos Islands Football (TCIFA). I spent the afternoon working the nation’s U-15 girls team. Some of the players remembered me from my trip in February. This helped break the ice, not that I needed it. The players were all very responsive and coach-able. We started with a basic warm-up and actives that I use with my youth, college and pro teams. I introduced a few new small sided games and we ended the day with a half field game of two-touch soccer. Since we had odd numbers and only one goalkeeper I jumped in goal. The game opened up very well for the players as they played very direct football with limit of only two-touches. To top of the day I gave up the game winning goal. What can I say lower 90 shots are nothing to mess with!
After the game I chatted with players about what they learned and let them vote on an MVP. The winner was a flashy attacking mid-fielder named ‘Jaz’ and for efforts I presented her with a portable speaker for her phone.
After the training was over Thursday I stayed and watched the newly formed women’s beach soccer team train.
Turning the page to Friday, day two, originally I was set to work with the U-11 boys but the TCIFA Technical Director Daz Meehan asked if we could add the U-13 boys to the session. I told him that wouldn’t be an issue with a smile. I said, “I’ve done sessions alone with 60 kids before.”
I took the boys through a warm up without the ball, which was quick. The upside having sunny weather over 90 degrees the warm up takes less time. We then moved it into some dribbling and passing actives. The boys responded very well, even though they did like to chat a lot.
Next we broke the boys into groups of three and we played several games of pong, a game that involves the likes ping-pong, volleyball and one touch passing. After a short water break and chat we broke the boys up into six teams and played several games of two-touch soccer with small goals.
Our final game of the day was a half-field game of hand ball. It took players a few minutes to grasp the concept but once they got a hang of up the game opened up.
The night was capped off with the TCIFA U-23 men’s team hosting a Bahamas college all-star team. The game drew a nice crowd of current youth players and fans from all over Provo. The game was a back and forth battle with each teams backline and keepers coming huge. The game ended 0-0 but it was a good result for the TCIFA.
The third day of work, Saturday, May 27 started before the sun came up. On our schedule was a trip to North Caicos to deliver soccer gear and coach a clinic for children of North Caicos.
Our friend Jonathan picked up Jeane and I at 5:45 AM and drove us to the Turks & Caicos Island Ferry. Our round-trip tickets with Caribbean Cruisin were set-up and comped though my friend Dudley ‘Tal’ Stokes a founding member of the Jamaican Bobsled Team that competed at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada.
Upon arriving in North Caicos around 7:00 AM another friend set up with a car rental on the island. After filling out some paperwork and grabbing some food we were on our way.
Along our way to Raymond Gardiner High School was stopped at mini-market for water and asked the lady running the shop how close we were to the high school. She told us we were very close and it was just down the road on the right. She asked why we were here and we told her we were here with World Sports Foundation and we were here to give out football gear and coach a clinic. She said her son plays and needs new boots. I took her out to the car and give a pair of boots for her son. Her smile was priceless.
We arrived at the high school shortly after 10:30 AM and met our contact Kammy, who runs the North – Middle Caicos Grassroots program and is a teacher at the school.
One by one the kids started to roll in and they were all in full game day kits. We started the day off about 11:30 AM with 17 players. I spoke to them and told them why I was here. We began the session with some basic dribbling and passing. I introduced a few new games and during each water break we would review what we learned. We capped the field session with a large game of ‘hungry hungry hippos’.
After we wrapped up our games on the field we moved the clinic into Kammy’s classroom. I presented donated balls to the first eight players that arrived to the clinic. We also as a group voted or the MVP of the day. That part was hilarious because the kids all started chanting, “VIP…..VIP ….VIP …VIP!” MVP or VIP, close enough I told them. I presented the day’s MVP Mark with a portable speaker for his phone.
I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible with their help and donations, Andrew Raudabaugh of Chester City United, John Dicriscio of World Sports Show, Paul Konneh of Junior Lone Star FC & American Airlines, Dudley ‘Tal’ Stokes, Michael Stokes, Caribbean Cruisn, Old Nick Transportation, Jonathan & Robert Jennings of Coco Vibes, Jeane Almasol – photos, Brendan Grady of Swarthmore College, Christopher Lopez, Angela Giampolo of Giampolo Law Group. Also a huge thank you Turks and Caicos Islands Football Association and their staff for all their help – Sonia Fulford, Daz Meehan, Oliver Smith, Olivia Graveley, Steve Kendrew, Benneth S. Williams, Candia Ewing, and Fritz.
Growing the game and spreading the love of the beautiful game will continue. World Sports Foundation’s next page is unwritten but impacting the lives of players and coaches in a positive way will remain the same.