110 schools kicks off SSFL 2018
Newly promoted Valencia Secondary and perennial title-contenders San Juan North Secondary will kick off the 2018 season of the 15-team Shell/First Citizens Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) in the opening match of a double-header at the Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya from 3.30pm today.
This will be followed by a clash between Trinity College East and St Benedict's College at the same venue from 5.30pm before the ten of the other 11 teams kick off their campaign on Saturday, August 15, including defending champions Presentation College of San Fernando.
Making the announcement on the start of the new season was SSFL President, William Wallace at the launch of the new season which was held at Fatima College Auditorium, Mucurapo Road, yesterday.
During his address, Wallace, a former national senior football team manager said that it was wise to reflect on the league past 50 years of survival through the dedication and steadfast commitment of its members as well as corporate T&T.
Looking ahead, Wallace noted that while he was delighted to see the continuous support of its major sponsors in Shell Limited First Citizens, Digicel, Sportsmax, and Coca-Cola, he was happy to note that within the next couple of days, he will be announcing partnerships with not one or two new sponsors, but three.
He added, 'These major companies coming on board will provide support to the Under-14 and Under-16 boys, Under-15 girls and the Senior Girls Divisions from 2018 and beyond.
'In addition, the Form One will also be sponsored from 2018 and beyond.
With regards to the Premier Division, Wallace noted that the SSFL was ready to set up its own Scholarship Programme for its players.
'We are going to be taking an active role in our students who are interested in scholarships and we have in place a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the SSFL and Global Premier Soccer (GPS) which will help us with this.
Neil Holloway, general manager in explaining the aim of GPS, which has formed partnerships with top European clubs FC Bayern Munich and Valencia CF stated that the mission of GPS is to be a leader in the development and growth of soccer across North America and beyond.
Holloway added, 'We will establish an identity of excellence as we pursue our pathway to success on and off the field, with our primary focus being the development of players and people. We will develop players who can compete at the highest level of soccer around the world."
Joe Bradley, owner of GPS which is now in its 17th year of existence made it clear that his company was in the spirit of collaborations in the way of a resource and support structure as they want to enhance the brand of the SSFL and its other sponsors.
And helping these players to be scouted and seen by the 25 countries across the Caribbean over the next three months of SSFL action will be Sportmax and in the USA and Canada, CEEN TV.
Tanya Lee, President of Marketing of Sportsmax noted that her company was very serious about the SSFL here in T&T and Schools Boys Football League in Jamaica as the high school's sports in the region are seen by Sportsmax as their greatest investment in Caribbean Youth.
Lee, also had some fantastic news for viewers as she noted there will be a marked increased in the number of matches being shown live on local television, CNC3, which has made a commitment to broadcast 21 matches all live.
With respect to the SSFL Girls Inter-Col, Lee also stated that for a second year running Sportsmax will also be broadcasting the final live as part of its package for the 2018 season.
Honourable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education praised the SSFL for continuing to give the nation's youth the opportunity to develop themselves holistically.
Garcia pointed out that there were 110 secondary schools that are participating in all levels of the SSFL from a total of 135 schools, combining for between 13,000 and 14,000 boys and girls overall.
In paying credit to the coaches, teachers and parents, Garcia reminded all that if the league is deemed as being successful its means that the education system in T&T is also successful.
Other sponsors speaking at the launch of the new season included Tari Lovell, Sponsorship Manager at Digicel Group; Kurt Headley, Head of Retail Banking First Citizens; Kelli-Marie Patel, External Relations at Shell and Anthony Lovelace, Senior Marketing Co-Ordinator of Coca-Cola.
Venue: Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya:
Valencia Secondary vs San Juan North Secondary, 3.30pm
Trinity College East vs St Benedict's College, 5.30pm
Fatima College vs Bishop's High, Fatima College Ground, Mucurapo, 3.40 pm
Presentation College vs Trinity College Moka, Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, 3.40pm
Queen's Royal College vs East Mucurapo Secondary, QRC Ground, St Clair, 3.40 pm
St Anthony's College vs St Augustine Secondary, St Anthony's College Ground, Westmoorings, 3.40 pm
St Mary's College vs Naparima College, St Mary's College Ground, St Clair, 3.40 pm