Because soccer is a growing sport, particularly among the youngsters of Grand Bahama, having more space and more fields on which the kids can learn and play the game was quickly becoming more of a demand than anything else.
Well, that demand has been met by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
On Wednesday the Port announced that it has donated three acres of land to the Freeport Rugby and Football Club for a new soccer field. Good news for officials of the Grand Bahama Football Association.
“Over the years, the Principals of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Sir Jack Hayward, the late Edward St. George and Lady Henrietta St. George, are well known for their commitment to the youth of Freeport and Grand Bahama,” said Geneva Rutherford, who represented the Port Authority, during a press conference on Wednesday morning.
“The Grand Bahama Port Authority see tremendous opportunities in the athletic development of our youth and in this regard is very pleased to be a partner in this venture with the Rugby and Football Club.”
Rutherford is confident that the land donated by the Port will be put to good use by the Grand Bahama Association.
The announcement came as soccer kids participate in a soccer summer camp, being conducted by the English Premier Soccer League at the Freeport Rugby Football Club.
The announcement is also timely, because not only has land been made to the development of soccer, but the English Premier Soccer League has stepped up to the plate and made a substantial monetary donation, along with their expertise, to be used in conjunction with the land donated.
“The English Premier Soccer League has been actively involved in the development of youth soccer in Freeport for the past three years,” Mikala Moss of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
“While summer 2006 concludes their direct involvement, they intend to play a vital role in the future development of soccer in Grand Bahama.”
Philip French, of the Premier Soccer League, noted that since getting involved in the summer soccer camp, he has seen the number of eager, excited youngsters grow by leaps and bounds.
“We hope that we will leave an impact on the kids here in Grand Bahama, which will go a long way in the development of the sport, particularly among the teenagers who we hope will be in a position to obtain scholarships through the sport of soccer,” said French.
“It’s great for us to have been a part of this and we’re even more pleased to be able to leave a legacy behind.”
French said that their donation will come in a variety of ways – from the Premier League, via their charity, otherwise known as the Football Foundation.
“That charity, which is set up with the Government in the UK, will partnership with the local soccer league to try develop youth development as well as provide infrastructure for kids of all ages and abilities,” said French.
“The combination of all of that will provide us with a total of somewhere around $100,000 towards the development of the artificial pitch. We’re gonna see multiple coaching programmes and we will build on what we already have going on here with the summer camp.”
“From our point of view, we see a fantastic development of the kids. And what has soccer brought them? It’s brought them skills, leadership and the ability to work as a team.
“It’s been amazing the impact soccer has had on them. And we’re proud to be a part of that.”
Having to use the Rugby Football Club Playing field for soccer will soon become something of the past.
As more and more kids become involved in the sport of soccer, more and more opportunities are expected to be opened to them.
Soccer officials and coaches are hoping that the kids will take advantage of those opportunities.
DEVELOPING SOCCER – Philip French of the English Premier Soccer League (left) and Geneva Rutherford of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (right) revealed plans for the development of local soccer with the donation of land and funds from both the Premier Soccer League and the GB Port Authority