Three local football coaches Ron La Forest, Clint Marcelle and Kathy Marcelle, who work with underprivileged youth in Port-of-Spain, recently completed a special five-day training course in Spain conducted by renowned football club Real Madrid.
The course was the first of its kind for English-speaking countries who host the youth football programmes facilitated by the Real Madrid Foundation. The trio is affiliated with the Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sport School, a youth development and football training initiative conducted at St Dominic’s Home and at the Diego Martin West Secondary School for 200 children from areas in both east and west Port of Spain.
Marlon Grant, Team Lead – Sustainability at Atlantic, explained that the three local coaches in addition to teaching football techniques to the children at the Social Sport School, had also been helping to impart important social and life skills as these are even more important to the overall development of these youths.
“The Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sport School joins a suite of other initiatives sponsored by Atlantic that target youth development,” Grant said.
“What makes all our initiatives unique is our focus on combining sport and even education with life skills and social skills, always aiming for a significant degree of holistic development. This special training by Real Madrid exposed the coaches to best practices from the international football circuit and also from youth development practitioners. Atlantic encourages every opportunity that will equip the coaches in the programmes we sponsor with new knowledge and help them to train and mentor the students even better.”
The training intervention in Spain was facilitated by the Football Training Department of the International Area of the Real Madrid Foundation. The five-day course taught the coaches the theoretical and practical components for Real Madrid’s social sport projects.
Marcelle, one of the participating coaches, remarked that the experience in Spain with the Real Madrid instructors was almost “surreal”, building on some of the successes to date in the Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sport School.
“There have been significant changes in the lives of many of the participants in the Social Sport school in Trinidad,” Marcelle said. “The punctuality and attendance in schools by some of the participants have increased since the programme was introduced. Some have done the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) and passed for schools like St Mary’s, Bishop’s. This programme is an ideal integration of sport and values like discipline.”
In 2011, Atlantic partnered with the Real Madrid Foundation to establish the Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports Schools. The youth development and football training initiative targets underprivileged children between the ages of seven and fourteen selected from schools in Port of Spain and environs. The programme’s primary focus is to build positive values and good citizenship while exposing the children to the sport of football.