St. Catharines, ON
The Northern Football Association U16 Soccer Team, Port of Spain today defeated the Garden City Nationals, St. Catharines 4-1 in a match to mark the 50th Anniversary of friendship between The St. Catharines and Regional Niagara Twinning Association and Port of Spain.
The match was played at the Lancaster Park in St. Catharines under an intense summer heat that made the teams take water breaks to cool down.
It was not just a game of soccer for the players from Port of Spain. The visit to St. Catharines will be the first time for some members to travel out of Trinidad and Tobago. It was also an opportunity for some of them to leave their tough neighborhoods.
Kerry Castillo, Assistant Manager said playing soccer has brought the poor and rich kids together. Some of the players are from Laventville, a tough area of Trinidad. “Some of the kids want an opportunity to get out of the area,” he said.
“The association provides the youth an opportunity to better themselves and get out of the area,” said Kerry Castillo.
A passport had to be obtained for the first time to get some of the players on the tour.
Kerry Castillo was on his phone texting the results of the soccer match to parents and family members in Trinidad and Tobago.
Members of the team are from the north zone in the North of Trinidad and Tobago.
He credited the leadership of the Chairman, Northern Football Association, Trinidad and Tobago Tony Harford for sourcing the funds and providing mentorship to make the activities of the team a success.
Tony Harford fondly calls the kids his “children”, according to the assistant manager.
Luke Sauev, captain of the visiting U16 said the team has given him an opportunity to show leadership qualities.
“Soccer has provided the players an opportunity to get out of their area and do something good,” he said.
Twinning between cities of St. Catharines and Port of Spain has been achieved through various activities including visits and cultural exchanges, but this time it is through soccer matches. Two more matches would be played, one in Niagara Falls and the last match in St. Catharines.
Helen Atteck, vice president of the St Catharines and Regional Niagara Twinning Association said friendship has been forged since the inception of the association 50 years ago.
“The association has brought cultural groups to the city in the past. This year it is fostering friendship through soccer,” she noted.
Both teams played different types of soccer. The players from Trinidad and Tobago are younger than the players of the Garden City Nationals. “It was a good experience for the Trinidad Under 16 team to play older and mature players,” said manager Ruthvin Charles.
He complimented the St. Catharines and Regional Niagara Twinning Association for organizing the event, and for the hospitality showed towards his team.
Boris Apsitis, coach of the Garden City Nationals said his team was glad to play the U 16 team.
He commended members of his team some who took time off their jobs to engage in the friendly soccer game. “We hope to do this from time to time,” he stated.
Gabe Delle-Monache, captain of the Garden City Nationals said it was a good experience to play a team from another country.
Marlon Phillip, coach of the Northern Football Association Under 16 was on the sideline throughout the match and used every opportunity of break to give pep talk to the players.
Rafael Argota refereed the match while the assistant referees were Lou Braida and Ron Sutherland.
Lou Braida went to Port of Spain as a youth in 1974. He reiterated that the match was not only about soccer but an expansion of the cultural experiences of both teams.
Twinning jump-up dinner dance called “An Evening to Remember” to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Twinning will be held on September 21st, 2018 at the Polish Hall on Facer Street. Tickets required to be purchased in advanced by calling 905-935-3087.