Tue, Apr

Denice Dedier, left, with some of the youths in the Seed of Greatness programme.

Denice Dedier once had lofty dreams of representing T&T in international football. When those dreams didn't materialise, she was tasked with a mandate to uplift the youth in her Biche community.

She told Newsday, "Seed of Greatness is a gift from God to me. My dream was to represent T&T playing football.

"It didn't happen for me, but God is using me as an instrument where I can make it happen for those around me who love the game. It's about reaching the younger ones."

Dedier, 30, has a BSc in sports management from UWI, St Augustine, and a T&T Football Association (TTFA) C coaching licence. She works as a junior administrative assistant with the Eastern Regional Health Authority.She set up Seed of Greatness – Biche Football Development School (BFDS) on September 30, 2017, and celebrated its sixth anniversary last month.

Seed of Greatness caters to children from as young as five. At present it has roughly 70 members in total and participates in minor league tournaments from the under-seven age group through to the senior ranks. The teams have training sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Biche Recreation Ground.

But as its name implies, Dedier says Seed of Greatness is much more than a football club or academy, and prides itself on exposing the youth of Biche and environs to a different experience in life.

"My vision for Seed of Greatness is for youths from ages 15-17 to attain scholarships abroad. I am trying to see how far at least one child from Biche can reach in football through this programme.

"This is God-led. I always pray, 'God, whatever is your will for Seed of Greatness, let it be done.' It's just to see one little Levi Garcia from Biche make it out there," she said. "I was charged with creating a new environment in Biche."

Aside from their football activities, Dedier has taken her team on Know Your Country outings which have included trips to Matura, Palo Seco and Tobago. They have also attended Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches.

"Bringing new experiences to them has been one of my biggest joys," Dedier said. "For the past six years, that has been one of the biggest things for me."

Dedier hopes she can take Seed of Greatness to Grenada and other Caribbean countries, and has plans for international exposure as well.

"I just want to broaden their horizon in knowing countries and getting new experiences. Let it be done according to God's will.

"I don't want to limit myself and say we are just a small club from Biche. No, I am open and ready for whatever experiences that will come for Seed of Greatness."

Raymond Cozier, chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation, echoed Dedier's sentiments with enthusiasm. He said Dedier was doing yeoman service to the community and he and his council were happy to assist in any way they could.

"Seed of Greatness needs further support than we are able to give. However, I must highly commend Ms Dedier for her vision and foresight to give the children of Biche this opportunity," Cozier told Newsday.

"It is really a programme that's preparing these youths for the life that is ahead of them. It's preparing them to be disciplined and preparing them to make sacrifices. It's preparing them to have a sense of obedience to follow rules and regulations.

"It is invaluable, to me, what she's doing for these youths."

Cozier said he and his council try to accommodate the Seed of Greatness team by giving them access to the recreation ground and other facilities. However, he acknowledges that sustaining a venture of this nature requires a certain amount of financial backing.

"Whatever contributions she needs we try to put them together. I know it's not enough, because these things need a good sense of financial introjection.

"I am in full support of what she's doing, and I will continue to provide support wherever I can. What she's doing is really awesome, and it's really important that we offer that support to her, because she is preparing the future citizens of T&T."

When covid19 shut down sporting activity in 2020, Dedier encouraged her Seed of Greatness team to plant corn in their community as a fundraising initiative, and she and her youngsters reaped monetary gains from their produce.

Dedier is thankful for the combination of sponsorship and support from businesses in the community, as well as Cozier and Biche/Charuma councillor Charlene Moona.

With this support, this year, Seed of Greatness had one of its "biggest accomplishments," Dedier said.

"This year was our first year competing in the Republic Cup (youth tournament). It was a learning experience for us. We took part in the under-13, under-15 and under-20 divisions," said Dedier. "We didn't make it to the second round, but the experience we acquired from the league was one to boost us to go towards next season and being part of the Republic Cup again."

This year, Seed of Greatness hosted a Biche Village Football Cup and a community festival. Next year, Dedier wants to take it up a notch and host a Biche Village Olympics, where residents from Biche and environs can test their skills in varying sports.

"I believe in community, and sport is the greatest tool.

"When you hear about Biche, sometimes all you hear about is Biche and bush and that kind of thing. My whole vision behind Seed of Greatness is to expose or bring new experiences to these children's lives."

SOURCE: T&T Newsday