The St Leonard’s Boys (SLB) Under 19 Football team has been invited to meet scouts in the USA in August.
The team, which has dominated secondary school competition over the years was contacted by Justin Reid of Reid Sports and Entertainment, the company hosting the inaugural International Champions Friendlies or ICF. They will be heading to Washington DC, the number one tourist city in the US with over 22 million visitors annually.
From August 5-12 the championship international schools and national teams from the Caribbean will go to the Washington Metropolitan Region to compete against the champions of the US domestic leagues. These include the US Developmental Academy and the Elite Club National League. Reid said the tournament provides competitive pre-season matches for boys and girls at high school age and is a cultural and educational tour as well.
“A lot of countries like Barbados are known for cricket and not for soccer and many of the soccer players from the Caribbean come from Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, St. Vincent and Haiti,” he said. “We felt it was time to invite Barbados. This is a great opportunity for the SLB boys to showcase their talent in front of college coaches, so far we have confirmed coaches from the Washington Adventist University and Howard University.”
The American-born Reid is of Trinidadian parentage but his grand-father is Barbadian. “I’ve only been to Barbados once and that was in 2015 when I attended Soccer EX,” he said. “I browsed the internet for the best teams in Barbados and I found St Leonard’s Boys. Late last year I reached out to the principal and then I spoke to the Football Coach Fabian Massiah and I told him about the friendly matches.”
Massiah has been at the SLB for 15 years and he has been coaching for the last ten. He noted that the current team is made up of players who have moved from the junior league championships to the senior ones and some are on the junior national team as well; among them Thierry Gale, Niall Reid Stephen and Jaiden Miller. “We have one or two boys who are capable of acquiring scholarships because they have done the SATs,” he said.
Meanwhile, SLB Principal Joseph Maynard welcomes the meet. He said students at the school have been excelling in both athletics and sports and the school continues to do its best to assist the boys. “We need to give young people a chance. Our boys genuinely want to be, in my view, good citizens, to do that they need a chance. I don’t think sometimes that happens. So we need the public’s support.”
To offset expenses for the trip which include airline, accommodation, meals and gear the school is hosting a fund-raising dinner at the school on Saturday, June 08. Performances will be from the school choir, the school band, past students Gabby, Richard Stoute, Hypa Sounds and Holla Back. There will also be a special appearance from veteran artiste Tony Grazette.
Tickets are available from the school. (PR)