Brazilian footballing legend Pelé popularized the phrase “the beautiful game” to describe football many years ago. It is also possibly the most popular sport in the world with top stars placed on equal footing with others of the world’s elite. Belizean football is on the rise, but who knows whether there’s another Deon McCauley or Ian Gaynair lurking among the 90-plus kids who attended the SMART Stars Summer Camp at the MCC Grounds for the past two weeks? Organizer Josue Carballo of SMART and instructor Kaya Cattouse gave us their take following closing ceremonies this morning.
“Our Smart Summer camp is basically about kids coming out and having two week of enjoyment. Learning Football, new skills and actually developing for the future. Close to 100 kids have participated for the two weeks and for the final day, when we distribute certificates, four of them got trophies of recognition. They were chosen by their different coaches because they were divided into different levels around their age range. Today was the culmination of that and you see kids happy, having fun and enjoying themselves.”
“It was great as it is every summer. We taught them different skills which were passing, dribbling, juggling and how to kill the ball using you different body parts. A lot of them when it comes to the technical aspect of the game that’s where our younger players are lacking. In my group especially that’s what I focused on. I just gave them a few pointers and what they need to remember when doing these certain things.”
We also spoke to a few of the youngsters recognized as being among the best at their craft:
Kyle Mendez, Participant
Participation was free and SMART put up 5 thousand dollars in expenses to run the camp. The company also sponsors the SMART Mundialito tournament which winds down this weekend. Four selected participants from this camp will be heading to Miami later this summer for an international camp sponsored by giant Spanish club side FC Barcelona.