“For your information, training for the National U-17 and U-20 boys was originally scheduled on Thursdays and Tuesdays at 4:30pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella.
“This would have caused a little hardship for boys who live in North and in the East, who would have to travel—as they would need to leave school early to get there on time.”
The following Letter to the Editor was submitted to Wired868 by the parent of a Trinidad and Tobago national youth team footballer:
I write as a very concerned parent who has seen the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) make scheduling decisions without regard for the educational priority of parents and our youth in the national youth team set-up. Here are just a couple examples:
For your information, training for the National U-17 and U-20 boys was originally scheduled on Thursdays and Tuesdays at 4:30pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella. This would have caused a little hardship for boys who live in North and in the East, who would have to travel as they would need to leave school early to get there on time.
Later on, the training was moved to Larry Gomes Stadium in Arima—on the same day and same time. The hardship was then transferred to the boys from South, some of whom had to travel and would even have to leave school half day early to get there on time.
Recently, a decision was made without consultation to swap both teams’ training days so that U-17s would train Tuesday, and U-20s would train on Thursday. Many kids who would have set up their after-school lessons to ensure they didn’t miss training ended up in some turmoil as they felt as if they had to stop going to lessons or be dropped.
Keep in mind, many of our talented youth need these lessons to be able to successfully pass their term tests and graduate from school.
Now, I am being advised that the National Under-20 has had an upcoming trip to Guadeloupe scheduled from May 15-22, which would cause some kids to choose between their team selection and sitting CXC or other exams. Who wins here?
These are just a couple examples. There are more, however. Why are we doing this to our kids?
Decisions are made and then communicated with very little chance for discussion or review. Who is making these decisions? Have they ever heard of stakeholder consultation? The stadiums being used are well lit. Consequently, most parents, if asked would agree that education is higher priority and allow the kids to start training at a later time—maybe 6pm.
Making such heavy-handed scheduling decisions can only shrink our talent pool and cause disillusionment amongst parents and kids. What would be the situation of a kid who goes to Guadeloupe, skips his CXC (or other) exams and gets injured thereafter? How about the kid who needs his subjects to move on to higher level education?
Sir, we haven’t had much success in football as a nation lately, and I submit that the TTFA must improve their consultation and communication efforts to help change that. All of us parents would like to support our kids and the national programme; however, the TTFA is making it extremely hard to do so with its extreme lack of empathy.
I hope by writing this letter, it encourages more respectful discussion and consultation with all stakeholders, allowing for better planning, co-ordination and eventually improved on-field success. I know WE can do this.
A very concerned parent of a National Youth Team player.