Around 400 kids, aged between three and seven, enjoyed a day of sports organized by US based DonamiSports and the Liberia YMCA on Duport Road in Paynesville (outside Monrovia) last Saturday.
The kids were paired six a side in a twenty game encounter, while the rest of the little ones, dressed in T-shirts provided by the organizers, played with each other.
The games, meant to give the kids a day to play sports, was officiated by DonamiSports’ President Doc Lawson, a retired United States Major Soccer League (MSL) and Liberian football player.
The fun began after hundreds of kids, males and females, had earlier jogged instead of paraded through a designated route in the community to create awareness on the need for kids to participate in sports, which aimed to motivate parents to send their little ones out to play. They, in unison, expressed thanks and appreciation to all those who contributed toward making their day enjoyable.
As each of the twenty teams engaged each other, center referee Lawson and spectators joined in on the games by kicking the ball back onto the field whenever it made its way off the pitch, lending to the excitement of the day.
For example, during some of the girls’ games, several girls were fond of grabbing the ball with their hands and throwing it to their teammates to give added advantage.
And because most of the rules of soccer did not apply to these games, except making a goal by kicking the ball into the goal, there were a few games when goalkeepers left their posts and made their way to the center circle, when they were supposed to be between their posts to prevent the ball from the net.
“This is pure fun for the kinds,” a man whose two children were participating in the games, said. “I think children need this kind of fun.”
DonamiSport’s Lawson told the Daily Observer that the program began more than five years ago, but was suspended because of the Ebola Virus Disease of 2014; and that last Saturday’s edition was meant to reactivate it.
He was grateful to friends in Liberia and the United States that supported the program to ensure that Liberian children have particular days to enjoy sports for the fun of it.
Every kid present at the event received a jersey top and a medal, which many sported while walking home with their parents.
While the hurriedly prepared teams played each other like a gala, a good number of the kids who often stopped during the match to just dance to a catchy song – played from a sound system specially hired for the day – were joined by others until the referee could stop the jamboree and resume the game.
At the end of each match, each player received a bag of mineral water – they later received sandwiches and juices to restore their energy.
Many parents told the Daily Observer that they appreciated Doc Lawson’s contribution to their children’s happiness and commended him for reactivating the program.