Sport

Football camp brings new meaning to word 'Balla'

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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Over 500 young footballers turned up for the “Believe the Ball” motivational camp conducted by a number of motivational speakers and coaches on Saturday at the Ballaz Liberty Park in St Andrew.

The event, which started at 10:00 am, saw Andre Virtue and Sean Williams delivering the main motivational speeches to the youngsters, while a number of Premier League coaches and players had more interactive sessions with the youngsters in smaller groups.

Virtue, director of Ballaz International Group, said the objective was to help shape the lives of the young footballer outside of football. The former Jamaica College standout, shared his own experience how he tried to balance schoolwork with sports.

“I took my CXC and I failed because I got seven threes, and at the time, three couldn't take me to sixth Form. I had to repeat and the process of having to sit in the same classroom with persons who I was ahead of was a humbling season and period for me,” said Virtue.

“But I had my eyes on being a professional footballer, so I had to choose my friends, made some decisions and those decisions and choices helped me to move forward and I had 25 full scholarships offered to me the following year,” he revealed.

Virtue, who gained his degree in finance from the respected Howard University in 1998, told the youngsters how he gave his mother the degree and pursued his first love of football and went on to play in Denmark and Sweden as a professional player.

“When I asked what a 'Balla' is people tell me, pile, shift, salad, bruck and all of that. But I gave them a different perspective to think on. The B represents the balance in life, too much of one thing not good for you. The A is about attitude, the attitude that they turned up with at school, training, games.

“The first L is for love for others, self and country. The other L is about leader on and off the field then the A is about being an ambassador for your home, your family, school and community. That reference is to let them understand what a balla really is and not just the baller who can kick the ball into the back of the net.”

The, event which was supported by a number of sponsors with numerous tents all over the venue, also featured six-a-side games and drills competitions.

However, heavy rains hampered the evening session and the much-anticipated father-and-son matches never materialised.

— Howard Walker


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