THE SECONDARY Schools Football League (SSFL) has announced a partnership with United States-based group Global Premier Soccer (GPS), which will benefit both SSFL players and coaches.
This announcement was made by Neil Holloway, general manager of GPS, during yesterday’s launch of the 2018 SSFL season, at Fatima College, Mucurapo.
“We want a long-standing relationship with the SSFL and the partners of the SSFL,” said Holloway.
And Holloway pointed out that he is seeking a minimum of 40 players to enrol in US universities and colleges.
The Global Premier Soccer, which was founded in 2001, is one of the largest and most successful football clubs in North America.
Its mission is to be a leader in the development and growth of the sport across North America and beyond. According to its website, “We will establish an identity of excellence as we pursue our pathway to success on and off the field, with our primary focus being the development of players and people.”
SSFL president William Wallace added, “GPS will provide the SSFL with a consistent and sustainable player pathway through their established US collegiate placement and US private school programmes, which provide a variety of tools to aid players and families in navigating their way through the application and placement process.”
He noted, “GPS will provide coaches education seminars, clinics, courses and licensing.”
Wallace also addressed some of the issues that plagued the SSFL last season.
Former champions Shiva Boys were docked 17 points and subsequently relegated from the Premier Division, after Kierron Mason and Matthew Beal were improperly registered.
The rules previously stipulated that players had to seek clearance from the SSFL to play in other leagues after August 31. Mason represented Marabella Crisis Centre in the TT Super League and Beal played for Siparia Angels in the Southern Football Association (SFA) on September 2 2017.
According to Wallace, “We have made an important change in our constitution.”
He revealed that players can play at the club level until their first SSFL game, which will hence make them ineligible for other tournaments outside of the SSFL.
Wallace said that deals would be announced within the next few days regarding sponsorship for the boys under-14, boys under-16, senior girls, girls under-15 and the form one divisions.
“We are of the belief that the top is as strong as the bottom, and that we need to strengthen the base in order to sustain the top,” said Wallace.
The former national men’s football team manager, added, “As we continue this journey, a journey which as a league we cannot deviate from, simply because for many of our youngsters it provides hope and – in many instances – a career path.”
Minister of Education Anthony Garcia admitted feeling a sense of nostalgia as he was back at the school in which he served as a principal from 2000-2009.
He urged the competing schools “that the joy is in the participation rather than the prize.”
“I’ll congratulate the (players) and the coaches, as well as your teachers and principals, for (their) commitment,” said Garcia.
Also speaking at yesterday’s launch were Tanya Lee, vice-president of marketing at Sportsmax; Tari Lovell, group sponsorship manager at Digicel; Kurt Headley, head of retail banking of First Citizens; Kelli-Marie Patel, external relations advisor at Shell; and Anthony Lovelace, senior marketing co-ordinator at Coca Cola.