JISA considers girls' football competition
Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA) sports coordinator Winston Keys says that the body is currently working to create a football competition for girls in preparatory (prep) schools.
Currently, the only football competition for girls up to age 12 exists for primary schools, which has led to discontent among parents and guardians of young girls in prep schools who want to play the sport but are unable to do so.
One guardian, who requested anonymity, told The Gleaner that he felt that his niece's talent is going to waste as unless she starts attending a primary school, she has no chance to play the sport. He believes that since there is no football competition for girls, they should then be allowed to play on boys' teams. But Keys said that such a condition has never been facilitated.
"Girls have never played with the boys," Keys said. "We used to have a six-a-side competition for the girls way back in the '90s. But it has never happened where you have the girls and boys playing on the same team in a JISA-organised competition. Never.
"JISA is run by a group of principals, and until they are convinced that the boys won't rough-up and kick down the girls, then for this year, it will not change.
"It would be nice, though, if someone could assist, even in starting a six-a-side, because JISA would sanction it. As it is now, JISA is not running a competition like that will sanction any private schools who want to do something
like that. Personally, I have nothing against it. There are the principals who have reservations about it. The last time they met on the matter, a lot of questions were brought up: Who is going to be looking at the girls when they go out to play with the boys? Are they going to be in the same changing room changing? Is there a girl coach separate, or a female there to look at the welfare of the girls?"
Chairperson of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) women's programme, Elaine Walker-Brown said that the body is looking forward to JISA having young girls in prep schools playing in tournaments like their primary-school counterparts.
"We're seriously looking at football at the grassroots level," she said. "The JFF, from time
to time, has put on several weekend grassroots activities. About a year ago, we met with the president of JISA, and he likes the idea and development
of the women's-development programme and each time to meet with his principals and see how best they can introduce it to get the young ladies in JISA involved as those are at the primary-school level."