Today began with myself and Ben discussing a strategy for implementing a grading scale for each of the local youth clubs here in Likoni, in order to raise the standards. The concept behind the grading scale is to improve the quality of each and every youth club here in Likoni, and in turn the clubs will have an incentive when they raise their scores, such as additional soccer shoes, soccer apparel, balls and coaching resources. Providing such resources for these young players is so critical to the further the child's enjoyment and development. The game provides hope and enjoyment to kids that otherwise have very little to look forward to each week.
What is needed most are soccer balls. Without proper equipment we can not ensure a proper training environment. With that said, the kids are so resourceful and as such many of the kids make their own soccer balls, by collecting the many trash bags that litter the streets and are held together by string. The youth clubs are also in need of cleats for the players. Unfortunately, when the best players in Likoni finally have an opportunity to be scouted for the next level, the common occurrence is that they do not progress since they are not comfortable wearing soccer cleats for the first time and it is hard for them to adapt in such a short period, such as a week long youth soccer trial. The coaches also do not have enough cones or pinnies to organize and conduct the most basic of training sessions for the players.
What they are not lacking is eagerness, optimism, a strong work ethic and talent. These young players see their participation in the beautiful game as a something to look forward too each week, and it shows. It has been a joy to watch them play.
If you would like to learn more about ways in which you can support the league, please send me an email at JField@SoccerFieldAcademy.com
One of the home-made "soccer balls" in Likoni.