BY: ASHELLY SMITH
The Lynx Canada Foundation and the Alliance of Jamaica Alumni Association hosted their annual SoccerFest. Eight teams made up of alumni representing secondary schools from all over Jamaica were selected to play in a tournament for the Alliance Cup. The secondary schools included: Cornwall College, Calabar High, Meadowbrook High, Rusea’s High, Edwin Allen, Mannings High, Kingston College, Charlie Smith, Holmwood, Lennon, and St. Elizabeth. Teams faced off at Fletcher’s Field in Markham for the 2017 championships on July 16th; and can I tell you that it was an energetic day? It started off humid in the morning but as we know Canada’s weather is unpredictable and very changeable. In the afternoon, it was cloudy and began to rain. The fields were wet and muddy but the show must go on. Soon it was bright and sunny again and everyone was now in the cheering mood.
The tournament began with Cornwall College facing Charlie Smith High School. Throughout the day, the City Soul Band and Charlee and Amoye performed. At SoccerFest, Kristina Ramcharran interviewed a number of representatives. The Chief Representative of Jamaica National Jerrold Johnson told us in an interview that this year was the first year SoccerFest actually had live performances and their own currency. On the face of the currency was Earl Jarrett the Chief Executive Officer for Jamaica National Group. You could only use the ‘SoccerFest money’ to purchase food. He commented that this year is the best year yet and it will continue to grow. The Head of the Jamaica Tourist Board Philip Rose was one of our interviewees at SoccerFest. He was passionate about Jamaica’s Tourism and when asked: “What would you say to people who would love to go to Jamaica but are so burdened by the high expense of the destination?” “You get what yuh pay for,” he said with confidence.
The Jamaica Tourist Board is one of the sponsors of the event. Furthermore, the host of the event Dervan Malcolm, a radio host on the Power106fm in Jamaica was pretending to be shy to speak to us. Nevertheless, he was a great host and an eloquent communicator. He was supporting Team Jamaica rather than choosing a team from the tournament. However, he is a graduate of Calabar High School and former Head Boy.
The reigning champion Rusea’s High school took the Alumni Cup for the seventh time. Rusea’s played against Kingston College 3-1. Then Rusea’s faced St. Jago in the semi-finals and won 2-0. The final scores were Rusea’s 3 and Kingston College 1. The Rusea’s High School coach Glenford Cadogan is certainly doing a great job coaching and mentoring his team. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to continue to be the successful son, I commend Mr. Cadogan on his dedication to his team. The Earl Jarrett Most Valuable Player Award went to Evan Taylor. He was the most distinguished player for the day as he scored the most goals. Hip Hip Hurray for Evan Taylor, congratulations on your award.
In conclusion, Soccerfest has been a success for over thirty-three years. AJAA is a charitable umbrella comprised of forty Toronto-based alumni associations affiliated with high schools in Jamaica. This special event aims at bringing the Jamaican-Canadian community together in one exciting setting. The food and the vibes at the event were fascinating! If you missed SoccerFest this year, please make it a date to be there next year. Admission was $5.00 and free parking too!