BELVEDERE – On Saturday, February 4, the St. Maarten Soccer Educational Foundation Tournament held the opening of its 25th soccer tournament at the John Cruijff Court in Belvedere.
The tournament, which hosts all the elementary schools, is a yearly event, which sees a high level of participation at various age levels and includes both genders. The tournament was kicked off by the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Affairs Silveria Jacobs. Minister Jacobs, in her opening address to the student athletes, parents, teachers, coaches and organizers encouraged all the players to play hard, enjoy the camaraderie, and embrace the thought of good sportsmanship.
More than 300 students will participate in the tournament, which is scheduled to continue until May 2017. The SMSEF is commended for their endurance in hosting these elementary school football competitions over the years.
The Minister looks forward to the SMSEF and the governing body for soccer collaborating to grow the sport from grass roots, through school sports right up to the competitive levels and even provide the youth with opportunities to pursue their dreams later in life at professional levels.
President of the St. Maarten Soccer Association Johnny Singh was also present to lend his support to this endeavor, and pledged together with Keith Gittens to work together toward this end.
Minister Jacobs also stressed that participation in sports is a very positive outlet for the students who do so, requires a lot of adult participation to be successful and teaches youngsters discipline, determination, sportsmanship and subsequently how to be good citizens of St. Maarten. The Minister has supported these endeavors at all levels through the years and has seen the benefit it brings to the youth. As such Minister Jacobs is striving to see all recognized sports organizations, duly registered with the St. Maarten Sports and Olympic Federation, hosting school tournaments and grass roots programs on St. Maarten, and engaging the general public to assist, volunteer and thereby contribute to the positive development of the youth.