The Grand Bahama Youth Soccer Development Programme is scheduled to restart on Wednesday September 6th at Freeport Rugby Football Club at 5pm for all boys aged 9 to 21 years of age . At present the following age levels will be coached on a weekly basis:

Under 10s,
Under 12s,
Under 14s,
Under 17s and
18 and over

The Boy Development Programme offers those young male players, looking to further develop their soccer, an additional means of improving their skills and experience in the game of soccer. Now entering its 5th year, The Programme provides a framework which complements the YMCA and School programmes by offering players further higher level and qualified coaching and additional organized (practice and competitive) games. To achieve the latter, the Programme aims to arrange matches against US and other Bahamian islands and local teams and plans to both arrange and participate in soccer tournaments.

Co-ordinator Mark Hardy noted that he was pleased that the Programme appears to be paying dividends in terms of the quality and quantity of soccer on the Island. The Bahamian youngsters coming through at age 12 and 13 really have some talent and we can see the improvement compared to the boys of the same age when we first started . It gives a good feeling to coach players at that age knowing they have progressed through our Programme . However, the greatest satisfaction undoubtedly comes from the oldest group of players in the Programme , who play under the guise of Brita Red Bull in the adult Grand Bahama Football League. Despite the vast majority of these players still being at school, the youngsters sucessfully won the mens senior title last season against players (in some instances ) twice their age or more !! Their coach Husseyin Dengizer was especially pleased with that achievement as it reflected on the hard work undertaken during the previous few years. Furthermore, all the Programmes coaches are confident that this performance can be repeated in future years noting that the previously mentioned group of Bahamian players aged 11, 12 and 13 have even greater potential and these should form the new look Brita Red Bulls in 2010 and 2011 !!

Indeed the coaches are determined not to rest on their laurels despite seeing the progress in the Programme and the players. The biggest initiative this season will see the introduction of a new Intermediate I League for the boys aged 14 to 17 which will be run by of new coach Tommi The Finn. This I League will act as a stepping stone for players who are too old for the YMCA League but not old enough for the adult league. The league will play at the same time as the other age groups practice (from 5 to 6.30 every Wednesday) and registration has already begun for this new initiative. It is anticipated there will be at least 4 teams participating in this new league.

This season, the programme has the following additional aims:

1) To continue the current age groups ( under 10s, under 12s ,under 14s , 17s and 18 and over).
2) For each age group to either hosts 1 team from the other Bahamian Islands or the USA or travels to play teams in Nassau, Abaco or the USA.
3) To develop a framework and pathway by which young soccer players can obtain soccer scholarships in US Schools and Colleges
4) In addition, the Programme aims to assist in fund raising for the new practice pitches and new playing field being developed at the Freeport Rugby Football Club. Work on these new pitches is currently ongoing.

Long time Programme coach Brad Bethel added that they are hopeful that the programme continues to grow but with expansion comes the problem of the need for additional resources. Primarily we need additional coaches and assistants so that we can provide the individual attention and coaching that is needed. In addition, as the Programme does not charge its participants, they are also asking the business community to support the Programme and the parents to offer a donation to the Programme. Any persons interested in helping in coaching or assisting financially, or participating can contact Mark Hardy at 357 5403 or come to Freeport Rugby and Football Club from 5pm every Wednesday

If you want to be part of the action or simply want to see what is going on then come to Freeport Rugby and Football Club every Wednesday starting September 6th at 5pm or contact Mark Hardy at 357 5403.