Trinidad and Tobago is among four CONCACAF member associations that will host the Concacaf Scotiabank NextPlay Cup, a new invitational youth tournament that will be held from November 10 – December 8. The announcement of the tournament, which featured football officials, Scotiabank executives and government representatives, took place at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica. Also in attendance were Concacaf Director of Development, Jason Roberts and Concacaf Player Ambassador Richard “Bibi” Gardner, former Jamaica international.
The other three nations joining T&T as hosts will be Bahamas, Barbados and Jamaica. This pan-regional Scotiabank competition, held in collaboration with each of the participating Member Associations, is a new pillar of Concacaf NextPlay, a comprehensive grassroots development program that promotes access to football within the region, while leveraging the power of the game to drive social change.
Over 2,000 boys and girls ages 10-11 will participate in the tournament, that will feature a total of 224 schools, including 56 school teams from Trinidad and Tobago in a joint effort with the Ministry of Education. The teams of 10 players, who will compete in a 7v7 format, will be divided between urban and rural regions, each further subdivided into four groups of six teams.
“We are very excited about the launch of the CONCACAF NextPlay Cup which is an opportunity to take the values of total, increased participation of sport and football and ensure more boys and girls across the region are given more opportunities to access the game,” Roberts told TTFA Media on Thursday.
“There are existing leagues along the pathway for some of the elite players but with NextPlay Cup, further access will be given to those who may not be participating at the elite level and we are very excited about the collaboration with the Schools and the Ministry with the involvement of 56 schools at the under 11 age group,” Roberts added.
“This is about continuing the use of football for social change in the region. We made a clear choice at CONCACAF to have these four countries involved as we see football as a vehicle for social change. We see football as an opportunity to increase the message of teamwork, leadership and participation and NextPlay Cup speaks to that.
“We are very excited about the collaboration with the TTFA and the Ministry of Education to be able to put the programme on the ground to enable the benefits and champion the cause which can lead to young persons not only becoming footballers but also becoming the next set of administrators, referees and play other significant roles in sport,” Roberts said.
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani added, “We are very excited to partner with Scotiabank to host the Scotiabank NextPlay Cup as we continue delivering on a core principle of Concacaf — providing access to play the game, in meaningful and sustainable ways.The competition has been designed to provide boys and girls with an opportunity to learn and practice football skills, while fostering a wide range of social values including hard work, fair play, teamwork and respect.”
Participating Concacaf Member Associations have sanctioned the Scotiabank NextPlay Cup, recognizing it as a top-class youth football competition. The primary partners of the tournament are the local Ministers of Education, which have approved the schools’ participation with the aim of creating a unified competition that promotes the practice of sports and transcends national, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers.
Details on the participating schools and competition in Trinidad and Tobago will be revealed in due course.