26 th February, 2017; New Amsterdam:
Young boys and girls in New Amsterdam enjoyed fun football drills with free coaching at the first GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centre (ATC) grassroots session in Berbice on Saturday, 25th February.
At the All Saints Primary School, an enthusiastic group of boys and girls braved intermittent showers to practise dribbling around cones, catching and kicking the ball, and navigating a narrow slalom course at speed, before experimenting with their new array of skills in mini-matches.
A key part of each ATC is a weekly grassroots session for boys and girls aged 5 to 11, involving fun, basic football drills under the guidance of trained coaches in a safe environment.
“The sessions themselves are age-specific, so they are a lot of fun, but they are also building in the fundamentals of what is required when they get further forward,” said GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood.
“We have to make sure we are making that bond, so that the players want to come back every week.” The GFF-Scotiabank ATC employs nine full-time Technical Development Officers (TDO) and 14 part-time Youth Development Coaches (YDC) who are charged with the week-to-week organisation of a range of regional training sessions for boys and girls aged 5 to 17, including the grassroots activities.
“We had kids from all across Berbice, kids from as far as Rosignol, as far as Corentyne, as far as Canje, and a lot of low-lying areas – a mixture of kids, different races, different creeds, different backgrounds,” said YDC Mark Bollers.
The Guyana Football Federation, in partnership with Scotiabank, has created Guyana’s first nationwide network of youth football academies across the nine regional football associations to get more children interested in football, and to scout and more effectively develop talented boys and girls for the national youth squads.