Vincent among 20 finalists in Future Stars programme
Former Reggae Girl standout Tashana Vincent has been shortlisted for the WorldRemit Future Stars Coaching programme.
The initiative, which is a partnership between WorldRemit and English Premier League club Arsenal FC, celebrates the positive impact of youth coaches on their community, helping to give children important life skills on and off the field. About 1,400 applicants from Africa and the Americas applied for the competition, which gives one male and one female coach the opportunity to travel to London for a personalised coaching programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches, sponsored by WorldRemit.
Vincent, who coaches youth football with Ballaz International and St Hugh’s Prep school was shocked when she got the news, given that she had only applied just before the September 4 deadline.
“I was so shocked when I got the email from Arsenal. I was, like, Future Stars? This was the thing that I applied to the other day!” she exclaimed.
Her decision to apply was thanks to the gentle nudging of André Virtue, director of Ballaz international by way of a broadcast WhatsApp message. Not long after that Director of Football for the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Wendell Downswell approached her about the same opportunity and also encouraged her to complete the application.
Vincent is happy that she took a chance on herself to further her involvement in the game, which is seeing positive results.
“I’m proud of myself because I always knew I was going to be involved in football,” she said. “I knew that in order to get the necessary qualifications that I needed to excel and be the change, it required me taking innovate steps in order to attain that goal. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to apply for it.”
Vincent will receive Arsenal shirts for her squad as a result of making the top 20.
The judges will wither the shortlisted semi-finalists to eight finalists, whose personal stories of their work with young footballers and in the community will be shown on the WorldRemit website, where the two winners will be chosen by public vote.
For her essay, Vincent shared her work in her community of Waterford, St Catherine, which include raising funds to renovate their football field and volunteering as manager for the Waterford Primary School team and also using the sport as a means to escape the violence that plagued her neighbourhood when she was young.
She hopes that her story would resonate with the judges, stating that her desire to coach children was more than just to improve their skills on the field, but to give them a way out of the challenging circumstances they face.
“A lot of them do not know the avenues to take to get out of whichever ghettos they are from. I want to be the coach who helps them and highlight their options. I don’t just want to be a football coach. I want to be somebody that impacts the lives of the young people that I coach,” she said.
“If I’m selected, it would mean the world. It would give me a chance to give back to a sport that has given so much to me.”