United F.C. celebrates 45 years
The United Football Club (F.C.) is celebrating 45 years of grooming and cultivating soccer players in The Bahamas. They celebrated the milestone by doing it in a homecoming style from January 10-16 that featured an in-house battle between United FC White and Purple Under-19 girls.
There were other events that included a 3-on-3 soccer tournament, a slate of youth matches, a homecoming dance, and a grill and chill social.
The history of United F.C. goes back to 1974 when the club was established as Nick’s Body Shop soccer team by community businessman John Eustace Nichols.
The club started its Youth Football Development Program in 2001. The team has developed players who have played on various men’s and women’s national team.
Currently, the team has U-7 coed, U-9 coed, U-11 coed, U-13 boys and girls, U-15 boys and girls, U18 boys, U-19 girls, senior men and a masters men team (40 years and over).
In the United FC White vs. United FC Purple U-19 girls’ game on Saturday January 12, it was the White team who had more chances at goal but did not capitalize. In the end the game ended 0-0.
Rashimah Thibaud, head coach of the White team said her team is a development team.
“Coming into the game, it was intense because it was an in-club match,” Thibaud said. “My girls are a development team and the Purple team is the first-string team. This year was about keeping the girls motivated and keeping them encouraged. We are here to get better and we have to use each game as a step to move forward, better ourselves and to work on our downfalls.”
Thibaud added, “In today’s game we came with the intentions of getting first to the ball, get back on defense and defended when we need to defend, and keep our focus on the ball. We wanted to win the ball and have fun more importantly.”
She was happy with the draw since they won the game before this one and said this was the cherry on top the icing.
Jodei Clarke, head coach of the Purple team, felt the game could have been better.
“The game could have been better. I feel that since we came off a long break and because my girls were laid back had a big impact on the game. It was not a bad game but it could have been more but I guess the girls were not hungry. My girls did not attack. We had an opportunity to score, it is just that we did not shoot. We attacked their half of the field most of the game,” Clarke said.
Asia Williams, captain of the Purple team said: “It was a fun game but it was challenging. It was a good experience for my teammates and I. It was a draw and we expected better from us but we fought till the end.”
The senior men played their arch rivals, Dynamos. They suffered a huge loss 10-0 on the night. The Dynamos’ attackers punished the defense, who were missing some key players due to injuries and suspension due to a red card.
After the game, Sam Thibaud, head coach and president of United F.C. said it was a tough game and his team was missing key players.
“It was a tough. It was hard to lose the way we did especially during homecoming. It is a rebuilding year for us. We have a lot of new faces and young players. I think we are the youngest team in the league in terms of combined age. It’s a rebuilding process, we have our successes but tonight was a fail. We did not execute the plan that we came out the locker room with. We failed to take shots on goal and we cannot dribble so much in the box.”
He took some time to talk about how homecoming was over the couple days and he said it was a success and it has gotten the club excited for the second half of the season.
“Homecoming has been a great success. This is our first year doing it and we wanted to do it for out 45th anniversary. Our teams did well during it except for this game. It has lifted morale in the club – not that the morale was down. It has gotten them excited to continue on to the second half and to put some games away. It went well,” he said.
On Sunday, January 13, they held a grill and chill. The masters came out as well as the younger players. Thibaud said the ones that paved the way are very active in the club still and still play.
“Our masters program is very active, a few of them sit on the board of directors. They contribute with traveling and they do fundraisers for the teams. They kick around every Sunday. These guys are 40, 50 and 60 year olds. They also pop in to help with the youth program from time to time and lend some help by refereeing a few games. It is important to have them around for us,” Thibaud said.
The energetic president said he just want his club to be number one in the country.
“Right now we are the top overall club in every category – most championships, most kids, most qualified coaches, most coaches. Everything the Bahamas Football Association throws at us, we have surpassed. I see us being number one not just data wise but the standards that we set, I just want us to be number one,” he said.
One of the major sponsors of the club is the Caribbean Bottling Company, makers of Powerade and Coca-Cola. Thibaud said they have been tremendous.
“Since coming on board, Powerade have been such a tremendous support. The not only give us a check but they also lend us tents, Powerade and volunteer. They are a tremendous support. We could not do everything that we do for our kids without Powerade and Coca-Cola,” Thibaud said.
The club trains at the C.H. Reeves Junior High School and is very active in the community.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism