THE Guerreros FC Soccer School started its project in Nelson Mandela Park in Port of Spain.
Led by Venezuelan coach Richard García, Guerreros FC aims to promote the participation of the Latino community in T&T football.
García said: “This Guerreros project started in 2019 with great enthusiasm with the aim of giving our children the opportunity to have a recreational, healthy space and have fun learning football.”
With seven years of experience in professional football in Venezuela, García came to T&T three years ago like many Venezuelans looking for new opportunities.
Seeing the possibilities of stability in T&T, the coach thought about starting the football school.
“Together with several people, I was talking about the idea of opening a football school, first with children and then grow to other categories and we are focused on that,” said García about the progress of the project.
“At first it was difficult because the pandemic stopped the whole plan that I established and when the first quarantine was lifted we began to train and make invitations through social networks of Venezuelans here,” he recalled.
In the first weeks, only five children between four and ten years old attended. Now, the school has 13 children of different ages, including two girls.
Guerreros FC train from Monday to Friday from 5.30 pm in the Nelson Mandela Park, Port of Spain.
“Soccer is participation, integration and it is what we want to promote, not only that they are men, but also women, not only Venezuelans, but also Trinidadians, all together learning soccer,” said García.
The opening of Guerreros FC has also been a relief for parents, who with the covid19 pandemic saw their children remain locked in their homes for many days.
Agueda Farías has been in T&T for two years and two of her children, nine and six years old, are enrolled in the football school.
“My children were locked up at home for a long time due to quarantine and when the Government decided to open the parks I thought of bringing them in the afternoons to drain accumulated energy, so I saw the advertising of Guerreros on the social networks of Venezuelans in T&T and decided to register them immediately.”
Farías and her children live in Fort George, near Nelson Mandela Park, which makes it a bit easier for them to attend training sessions.
“We must encourage each other, parents must understand that our children change positively in this type of sports activities, they improve their attitude, discipline and organisation,” she acknowledged.
Yolbert Lopes’ four-year-old son attends the school.
“The idea is that after arriving at work he can go out with us to do some healthy recreational activity and nothing better than through soccer,” he commented.
Lopes has lived in T&T for five years and is a partner in a ceramic company and is the main sponsor of the Guerreros school.
“First for my son because he has a space and an organisation to recreate and train as a good citizen and second because it is a school of inclusion, the uniforms that we have donated have the flags of T&T and Venezuela with the aim of encouraging all both local and immigrant children to come together through sports.”
Guerreros FC is currently promoting various plans. In addition to youth football, they are also working on starting a men’s and women’s team.
“Our idea is to be an example so that the Latino community throughout T&T is encouraged and in each city create their teams and we can one day, with the support of the authorities, have a Latin soccer league and perhaps, why not, compete with the champions of the local leagues,” considers coach Garcia.
He and a team are preparing a proposal to take it to the TT Football Federation and the Ministry of Sports.