The recent agreement between Donamisports, a United States based youth soccer developer, and the technical department of the Liberia Football Association to develop youth soccer in the country has come at a right time.
Donamisports’ president Doc Lawson and LFA technical director Henry Browne have decided to work together to better develop grassroots soccer from the various Liberian communities, where Donamisports has been active in the last six years.
Depending on local coordinators, Donamisports has been able to host soccer competitions for players as young as three year-olds and up to Under 14 year-olds. The coordinators, who are compensated by Donamisports, have ensured that leagues are organized in the various categories of U-11 and U-14, as well as the U-4, where Doc Lawson says is his specialty.
“The Under 4 kids are my group because they need special care as they play sport as recreation with each other,” he told this writer, in response for material to prepare this article.
He added, “Such kids enjoy the game just for merely running after the ball and gaining the knowledge that each player must kick the ball to only those on his side, with time.”
What is encouraging is that the world football governing body, FIFA, has recently approved a request by the LFA for a US$50,000 grant for Liberia to organize the first in a series of community leagues for U-14 would-be-soccer players; and therefore, with the Donamisports collaboration, the two have already set the ball rolling.
A couple of weeks ago, Mr. Francois Bohe, FIFA Technical Development Officer for West Africa based in Abidjan, La Cote d’Ivoire, was the guest of the Liberia Football Association, to follow up its support to Liberia to organize the first community soccer league.
“Mr. Bohe was impressed with our preparation and after a three day visit he returned to Abidjan well satisfied with our readiness for the community league,” Mr. Henry Browne, LFA technical director said in an interview yesterday.
Browne said Mr. Bohe returned to his base in Abidjan with information from the LFA about how excited Liberia is about organizing the community youth league. FIFA will provide bids and other equipment for the community league, and Browne says another one could be held in another county, in the future.
Though the LFA will have to put up a substantial amount of funds, that Donamisports has shown its willingness to provide equipment and its share of funds for its collaboration must be seen as an encouraging sign of progress.
So with Donamisports’ willingness to work with the LFA and the LFA’s determination to begin a program that could provide raw talents to football development in the country, it is safe to say that Liberia is taking a positive step to organize youth soccer programs that could bring substantial benefits for the country’s ever increasing need for soccer talents to follow the legacy set by James Salinsa Debbah, George Oppong Weah and many others.