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“We don’t have a ground to play on right now”

“We don’t have a ground to play on right now”

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With the experience of CONCACAF Club Championships uneasily tucked away behind them, the members of the Avenues United football team are looking to the future, as well as the obstacles that they have to face before making it to another regional competition.{{more}}

As some members of the team gathered at a shop in their community to take in the second leg of the EUFA Champions League game between Barcelona and Inter Milan on Wednesday, there is no doubt among them that the local club will once again see regional action.

Chairman of the club’s fundraising committee, Chewalee Johnson, admitted that during the competition, which saw the team giving a good account of themselves here at home as well as in Puerto Rico, players were not only worrying about their opponents, but also social and economic factors which they had to deal with when they left the playing field.

“The team was stressed,” Johnson confessed. “We had to do our own fundraising, so while we engaged in competition, the players were worrying about how and if they were going to play the next leg of competition.”

“Right now, we are heavy in debt and have to do a lot of fundraising to cover our present expenses, so that when the next competition comes around we won’t have to worry about that.”

Johnson also indicated that many of the players are unemployed, thus making things harder for them in terms of family and self support.

Despite this, he said that the players remain positive, and as difficult as it is, they are encouraged to keep on the right side of the law by positive community members, along with the need to prove that not all persons from the Paul’s Avenue area are involved in wrongdoing.

“We have players in the team that are students of secondary schools and the community college. We even have a teacher on the team. We are trying to get the stereotyping and profile off the team, and we are doing this through sports, culture and education.”

Former player turned team coach Sean ‘Yellow’ James agrees with Johnson that the social and economic issues that the team faces are definitely causes for their poor but creditable performance in the just concluded competition.

But, naturally, the veteran footballer thinks that along with those, the mindset on the field, doubled with the lack of a playing facility of their own, played a very crucial part.

“We don’t have a ground to play on right now. We need a good ground,” said James.

Plans are being made for the team to have access to the playing field at the back of the Bishop’s College in Kingstown, which has been granted to the Avenues Organization by the Anglican Church.

The team and community members are looking forward to the day when the field could be restored to its old glory.

James also has no doubt that the team will be back in the regional competition, and said that the experience from the regional matches will surely go a long way.

“One of the problems that we have is that we don’t take practising seriously; a lot of them just go through the motions.”

“When they were out there and saw how tough and physical the teams were, then they realised that they have to get more serious and have to practice harder.”

According to James, the team is ready to lace up their boots once again and hit the ground running.

“We don’t want to take any time off and get ‘lackadaisical’. We want to jump right into it again. We will be in better condition in the future.”

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