Reaches 700,000 kids in 7 years; provides over 100,000 jerseys & 50,000 footballs
The United States-based Donami-Sports, in partnership with the YMCA-Liberia’s grassroots soccer, has reached 700,000 boys and girls ages 5-14 across the country.
The program has also brought over 100,000 jerseys and over 50,000 footballs to into for the grassroots football programs, which are held in communities across the country.
The program is set to reach one million kids by 2030, according to Mr. Doc Lawson, executive director of Donami-Sports, told the Daily Observer at the end of a three-day ‘Follow The Water Challenge Cup’ in the Township of West Point in Monrovia over the weekend.
Doc Lawson, a former Liberian soccer star, and Olympian who featured for the United States Olympic team commended local organizing committee members who have been with the project for the last seven years, led by Josiah Toe, for their faithful support to the program.
Lawson said their support to the program over the years has reinforced his commitment to work for the program, noting that through their contribution other Liberians, including President-Elect George Manneh Weah, would be encouraged to create the enabling environment and the necessary material and organization framework to use soccer to develop the minds of the kids throughout the country.
He said the program has reached a stage where kids from one community will be transported to another community for interaction and games with other kids. “This is being done across the country where kids from Gbarnga will be brought to Monrovia and vice versa,” he added.
The U12 and U14 tournaments were won by West Point Young Stars FC (WPYS) in both divisions. The WPYS U12 defeated Central Mosques FC 2-0 in the finals and the WPYS U14 side also defeated No Bad Day FC, 5-4 on penalties.
The two winners are set to take on their Duport Road counterparts, this weekend on Duport Road in two games to determine whether Duport Road or West Point has the most talented players in the two communities.
“Already Josiah Toe has bragged that his boys are the best in the country but he should be warned that the boys on Duport Road are also preparing for them,” Lawson, said amid laughter. He even joked that should West Point representatives love the weekend encounters, they may walk from Duport Road to West Point.
“We will surprise you,” Toe responded to the challenge.
Earlier in the kickball division, Success Kickball Team defeated Grace Kickball Team 9-8 points in the first game on Saturday and lost 5-11 points in the second game to the same side on Sunday and therefore Grace Kickball Team won by 19-14 points in the combined points for the two days.
Mr. David Suah, of the David Foundation of the United States, one of the sponsors of the tournament, told the Daily Observer while growing up in Monrovia, he never visited West Point, one of the most popular slum communities in the country.
“I am supporting the program to be able to give to kids what they would normally not have in their various communities,” he said. “Soccer is a magnet that draws the kids together and so we have joined with Doc Lawson to provide as much assistance our foundation can provide.”
Mr. Suah added, “Having realized some successes in my life I think it is a responsibility for me to use my foundation to join likeminded organizations to assist our people, particularly kids who need us.”
He said once the ongoing program is successful, his foundation will look into other avenues to broaden its support in other areas, particularly in education for both and girls, with parents and guardians’ involvement.
“What we are doing is to provide a form of positive direction for the children to become productive citizens of society,” Suah said.
Suah was, meanwhile, gowned by the West Point support group, under Josiah Toe, for working along with the Donami Sports-YMCA Program for the kids across the country.
Other sponsors of the program are The Last Well, Ministry of Youth & Sports, YMCA-Liberia and Covenant Church.