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Jul 19, 2018

The Future of Football – a Summer Camp that Teaches the Sport

A football summer camp is underway in Belize City and wraps up on Friday. The camp started two weeks ago to engage children in sporting activity. This is the seventh annual camp for the Future Football Club and the organizer says that while it teaches the children news skills and tips, it also helps them to form new friendships and learn team work and respect. Reporter Andrea Polanco stopped by the MCC Grounds to check out how former, big-name, local players are using football to build a legacy and appreciation for the sport among the youth.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

You may recognize the names Edon ‘Yellowman’ Rowley; Orland Lyons; Sanjay Pitts as veteran footballers of Belize – and while some may not play football at the semi-pro level as before, they are keeping busy to ensure that the legacy of great football continues in Belize. And that is why Rowley’s ‘Future Football Club’ is hosting a two-week summer camp in Belize City at the MCC.


Edon Rowley

Edon Rowley, Coordinator, Future Football Club Summer Camp

“We have three main goals for this summer camp, the first one ispromoting physical education, developing life skills and showcasing skills and talent.   Our name is Future Football Club because we are looking for the future. Football has been written all over my agenda from I was a kid up to present age and I want to see them progress as far as I accomplished in my life or to go further.”


In its seventh year, the Future Football Club Summer Camp is hosting over seventy-five children from ages five to fourteen years old in a football program. Instructor Sanjay Pitts is imparting his many years of knowledge by teaching younger children the basics of football.


Sanjay Pitts

Sanjay Pitts, Instructor, Future Football Club Summer Camp

“This small group behind us is my group. And what I basically teach them is an introduction to football; how to pass the ball, how to trap the ball, head in and the basic dimensions of the football field. The group I deal with is from five to seven and they are pretty green and so they don’t know much about football, so I try as much to encourage them fin uh fraid fi the ball and stuff like that.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you see any bit of perhaps natural talent in any of these kids?”


Sanjay Pitts

“Yes, man, we have many, many. We have many natural talents in these kids and hopefully the country can take it seriously and be able to push them in the direction that they need to go.”


Twelve-year-old Kadeem Reyes and eleven-year-old Jazlene Leslie are two of the participants who have been soaking up the tips and tricks they are learning from these football vets.


Kadeem Reyes

Kadeem Reyes, Participant

“I have been here like from it started because of my uncle. When I first come I didn’t know how to kick the ball good, but now I improve a lot.”


Andrea Polanco

“What are some of the things you are enjoying the most?”


Kadeem Reyes

“Playing football, that’s my main sport.”


Andrea Polanco

“Talk to us about some of the other skills and drills you are learning?”


Kadeem Reyes

“I am learning how to run faster and how to control the ball.”


Jazlene Leslie

Jazlene Leslie, Participant

“I decided that I want to do this camp because really wanted to learn how to play football. I practice football every day at home by myself but I decided that if I go to the camp, I will get better and better.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, what are some of the things that you’ve learnt that you didn’t know before?”


Jazlene Leslie

“I learnt how to stop a ball, to kick a ball and I learnt that you need discipline for you to play the game well.”


But this summer camp is using football to build more than physical skills. It is being used as tool to bring children of different backgrounds together – to teach them respect, discipline, team work, as well as a number of different life-skills. As a part of this camp, the children do in-class sessions before they take to the field. Pitts explains how football is helping these kids to be better citizens on and off the field.


Sanjay Pitts

“The areas that they come from, unfortunately, are the gang ridden areas and so they come with their own attitude and seeing their older cousins and brothers doing things and maybe even being bosses in some of the neighborhoods and then they come out here and want to bring that attitude out here but we make them understand that this is a team effort. If you don’t pass the ball, then you get nowhere. So, it starts with sharing the ball; understanding that if someone falls, you ask them if they are ok and you try to help them up; if a goal is scored on you, then you accept it and you just work towards getting back that goal. So, it is just simple respect; respect for yourself and respect for each other.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.


The Future Football Club is being supported by several corporate sponsors including Sol, Belize Bank, B.E.L, Social Security, Cambranes Bakery and Freetown Drugstore.

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