Beneath sunny blue skies at the Beausejour Stadium, scores of children gathered for the first-ever LIME TV / ESPN Caribbean Soccer Clinic.
Aged 9-15 and hailing from every corner of Saint Lucia, the youngsters were thrilled to be part of this experience. They were especially delighted to meet and train with two of the Caribbean’s sporting heroes, ESPNFC Press Pass analysts, former football professionals and World Cup representatives, Shaka Hislop and Robbie Earle.
With the support of international youth coach Dion La Foucade, as well as local coaches from the Valley Soccer Academy, Robbie and Shaka drilled the budding stars in the fundamentals of ball control, first touch, passing, attacking, shooting, defending and goalkeeping. The youngsters also had their skills assessed to determine which areas they need to improve to become better all-round players.
“The key here was really to make this fun for the kids,” said Robbie. “They’re enthusiastic, energetic, and it’s a joy to be able to impart what we’ve learned over the years.” For their part, it was clear the boys and girls came away with a feeling of renewed confidence in their soccer ability. “I learned a lot today,” said Harrison Moffat. “I watch Shaka and Robbie all the time on TV, so to see them up close and learn from them was just amazing”
Bernard Stewart, General Manager ESPN Caribbean & Maritime Media, says the clinic is one of the ways in which ESPN Caribbean is giving back to communities across the region.
“It was a pleasure to partner with Saint Lucia’s leading cable TV provider to introduce this initiative,” he said. “LIME has given us the opportunity to really bring our programming alive for these kids, and that’s an important part of our brand message. Watching these kids relate to Shaka and Robbie is amazing, and we love being part of that.”
Also in attendance at the clinic was Minister of Youth Development & Sports, Hon Shawn Edward. He commended LIME and ESPN Caribbean for this development, especially in the context of the ongoing primary and secondary school football tournaments taking place under the auspices of his ministry and the Ministry of Education.
Meanwhile, LIME Saint Lucia General Manager, Chris Williams says the clinic was a natural fit for his company. “ESPN is committed to promoting sports in the Caribbean, and we jumped at the chance to work together to offer a unique, potentially life-changing experience to these youngsters,” he explained. “Part of the LIME TV mission is to make our programming more accessible to all of Saint Lucia. Being able to do that whilst giving the island some exposure and helping our future football stars take another step on the road to greatness, this was absolutely a win-win for us, and something only LIME could do.”
The Bay Gardens Beach Resort co-sponsored the clinic and provided accommodation for the ESPN personalities and broadcast crew. A segment of ESPN FC Press Pass was recorded from that venue and will air on ESPN Caribbean, LIME TV channel 82. Kids from the clinic were also given the chance to pose questions to Tommy Smyth and the remainder of the ESPNFC Press Pass panel to be included in that same episode.