The trip to Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois, USA, for the 2019 CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cup Final by 35 young players, is being described simply as “life-changing”. The young players, who were accompanied by their coaches and school principals, were the winners of the Scotiabank NextPlay Tournament.
In the final, they witnessed Mexico defeat the host-nation United States, 1-0, to claim the cup.
The 35 players represented the winning teams from the Scotiabank NextPlay Tournament that was held last year in The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. The trip was also an educational one as the youngsters visited the Fields Museum, the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where they were given tours and history lessons.
The Scotiabank NextPlay Tournament is an annual six-week youth (under-12) event targeting players from over 200 primary schools in The Bahamas, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. Each country hosts its own local tournament consisting of approximately 56 teams from local schools in each country, and the winner is the recipient of the Scotiabank NextPlay Cup.
Cleveland Eneas Primary School with coaches Naaman Lightbourne and Mariska Thompson represented The Bahamas.