How do you address the problem and develop the future of T&T soccer?

Dennis Lawrence, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, has made a call for improvements, within both the TT Pro League and the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). Does he mean that T&T should consider the SSFL as a farm system? The SSFL have been in the news lately, albeit for the wrong reasons, […]

Dennis Lawrence, coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, has made a call for improvements, within both the TT Pro League and the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL).

Does he mean that T&T should consider the SSFL as a farm system?

The SSFL have been in the news lately, albeit for the wrong reasons, CHEATING!

Questioned as to what can serve to improve the competition? Lawrence Responded: “I think people need to start taking responsibility and recognize that they are students.” What is he implying? Is he condoning in appropriate behavior as a way to improve soccer in T&T?

“We cannot afford to sacrifice winning by any means necessary. We need to do the right things. These are students and they must remain students, who are allowed to play in a curricular activity, away from school. We cannot afford to lose the focus on that.

“The idea is now for the League to just understand that we need to keep it as a Schools League and not run it as a top professional league. Hopefully, they would get that sorted and that would only help to develop players for the Trinidad and Tobago team.”

How do you address the problem and preserve the future of T&T soccer?

When the Minister of Education refers to some Secondary High Schools as “Soccer Schools” The message is clear. Either the Minister does not care or the term is not meant to be derogatory and demeaning. However it does suggest elitism or social stratification at its best.

When the media refers to some Secondary Schools as “Sorry Schools’. The message is clear that there is massive perception of discrimination.

When soccer coaches coach at both Secondary and at an advanced soccer league. The message is clear. Students would be exploited and the doors to corruption is opens.

When Principals do not know the students representing their school. The message is clear .The principal is irresponsible and should be held accountability.

 When coaches play ineligible players. The message is clear.  The coach is negligent and should be fired. The coach is corrupt.

When the national soccer coach says that the SSFL needs funding to develop players .This is sending a clear message. He thinks that funding can develop players.

When overage players are allowed to play in the game. The message is clear. They are being taught how to be corrupt.

Try restoring Honesty ,Integrity , Good Governance,  and National Pride!

In order to restore civility there must be the institution of a code of conduct.

The Code of Conduct

A code of conduct, sometimes called a code of ethics or code of behavior, is a document that clarifies how people associated with your team are expected to behave and their duties and responsibilities.

 A code of conduct will be an integral part of your team policies. This document gives life to your policies in that it translates those policies into the practical terms of everyday acceptable behavior.

The code of conduct should be a list of the most important rules that indicate the attitudes and behavior expected your students and others involved in the sport.

A general code of conduct can be contained in a single document to cover all people involved with the team (athletes, coaches, support staff, parents, and other affiliates.)

You can list the expectations for each group in separate sections for each role.

Another approach, taken by many teams these days, is to develop separate codes of conduct for each role, in particular for athletes, coaches, parents, and support personnel.

A code of conduct can be viewed as a contract or agreement between the team and the person whom it applies to.

Many teams now require their athletes, staff, parents, and others involved to sign a statement indicating that they have read and understood the relevant code of behavior or conduct.

A signed statement serves as a record that the policy was explained, that they understand the code of conduct, and that they agree to act as required.

Having them sign

 The code of behavior also emphasizes how important you and the team view the code.

 Conflict Resolution

Team policies will help you manage your team.

However, to develop your policies.

 Sometimes,  conflicts can arise even with the best of intentions and clear policies supported by good management.

Conflict is part of the complexity of human behavior and cannot be completely avoided.

However, having within your policies a means to address conflicts will make it easier to solve them and to minimize distractions when conflicts arise.

You can include a process for conflict resolution within your policies.

Note you, disagreements and conflict arise even with the best policies and consistent enforcement of rules.

If handled well, conflict is not always a bad thing, as it helps clarify boundaries and expectations.

To be fair and effective, your policies should include some mechanism for athletes to question a decision, and for them to be heard in a fair and objective process.

This is especially important if you are coaching teenagers;

a common complaint among this age group is that adults do not listen to them or consult them when making important decisions.

Policies on conflict resolution clarify the process through which an athlete or others can question a decision or express a grievance.

This process usually involves a hearing before a discipline or grievance committee.

The committee should be objective and represent the entire team or organization; a player representative can be a member of the grievance or discipline committee.

Above all, it is important to ensure due process-the legal procedure that guarantees an individual’s rights are protected-at every step.

Not adhering to due process can cause several undesirable effects, such as giving the impression that your decision making is unfair or arbitrary, confusing your athletes because they cannot see how you make certain decisions,

Alienating your athletes or making them feel powerless, and leaving you and your school open to legal action by the aggrieved player.

 Dr. Cliff Bertrand

Olympian, Hall of Famer, Educator ,Former NYC Board of Education Administrator.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not those of

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