Soccer continuing to grow In The Bahamas
The growing interest in the sport of soccer has the Bahamas Football Association(BFA)considering implementing a five-and-under division in the Bahamas Youth Football League(BYFL).
Although the BYFL is just four weeks into the regular season General Secretary in the BFA, Lionel Haven, said the response has been incredible with improvement being seen on all levels. Games in the BYFL are played every Friday and Saturday. Players compete in seven divisions inclusive of the nine-and-under, 11-and-under, 14-and-under as well as the 17-and-under. There is no nine-and-under division in the girls league.
The under-14 and under-17 boys and girls play full games while the younger divisions play a modified version. The fields are smaller and the times for the games fluctuate. The fields at C.H. Reeves, Tambearly, Winton and Queen’s College are used by the younger soccer players in the under 7-11 divisions while the Roscow A.L. Davies Stadium, located at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, is used by the bigger players.
“The BFA Youth League started on November 12, some four weeks ago,” said Haven.”It has been going fairly well, especially with the younger players. The younger kids, it is always a treat to watch them. That has been going very, very well. The older divisions, we are getting very competitive every year, so the kids have improved from when they first came. What they have been able to do in the past, compared to now, it is incredible. You can see the level of improvement every time they step on the field. They are looking a whole lot better than they did in the past. The competitions have been fierce, which is a good thing.
“The younger divisions… they play at their home park. All of the clubs they have their own home park, so on any given Saturday there are about four or five parks where football is being played. There is a full day of play and loaded schedule at these parks for these age groups. We have seen a slight increase in terms of numbers and participation. We are now having a larger number of kids in the younger division. The under-seven and the under-nines, I think that all of the clubs are at their peak in terms of numbers. It has gotten to an extent where some of the clubs have actually formed an under-five division, within their club. It is not a division within the league though. They have gotten so many persons interested and coming out so they have formed their own little category so that they can play. These clubs play games against one another. Not every club does it but those that do have the under-five divisions, they will play against each other. The numbers are increasing every week that we(the BFA)might have to consider it.”
There are eight teams playing in Division I of the nine-and-under boys. The top team is Meridian Manta Rays which has a 5-0 win/loss record. The Cavalier Football Club trails with a 4-0 record and the Baha Juniors are 4-2. In Division II, the IM Bears Football Club has a 2-4 win/loss record with six points won. Football Club Nassau and Cavalier Football Club both have six points but have win/loss records of 2-2.
The 11-and-under boys division is being led by Baha Juniors Football Club, Tambearly Optimists and the Meridian Manta Rays. The United Football Club has control of the 14-and-under boys division. Their 3-0 win/loss record has them ahead of the Baha Juniors Football Club and the Western Warriors. The Baha Juniors Football Club has a record of 2-0 while the Warriors are 2-1 on the season. The win/loss record of 3-0 have the Baha Juniors and the Cavalier Football Clubs tied for the top spot in the 17-and-under boys. The IM Bears Football Club follows with a 2-0 record.
Over in the 11-and-under girls division, the Cavalier Football Club is 2-0 on the season and one game ahead of the Lyford Cay Football Club. The Baha Juniors are 1-1 while the Dynamos Football Club is yet to win a game. The Lyford Cay Football Club leads the 14-and-under girls with a 3-0 record, the IM Bears are at 1-1 on the season and the Cavalier Football Club has also won just one game.
Only one game has been played by the top two teams in the 17-and-under girls division. Both the Baha Juniors and the IM Bears have won their opening games.