Allora!

Translation from Italian: so or then

Why is Italian important in Jamaica? Because I spent the last week in Kingston attending a FIFA Women’s Coaching Course taught by Italian footballer Carolina Morace. The first day her English was pretty rough, I think she lacked confidence because she was having so much trouble understanding Patwa. Once she realized that it was forcing more thought from the group, she made a note to teach some Italian. Allora became a word that the whole group used in conversation. It was pretty funny.

Carolina Morace, me, and Luciano Gama after one of our practical sessions.

Luciano Gama is a Brazilian born player, and spent many years in Italy so he acted as somewhat of a translator. He is currently the coach for the youth national teams. His father is the Technical Director for the Senior National Team.

Anyway, the JFF put all participants in the course who live outside of Kingston up at the Mayfair Hotel. It was really strange staying there without all of my PC friends. We were picked up Monday morning in the Reggae Boyz team bus and taken to the JFF office for the launch of the U-15 Female League.

This was the first time I had been in a group of people who were completely unaware that I am a Peace Corps Volunteer and that I am here for a long time. I had some negative interactions at the beginning of the week, but once people learned about my role here they were all much more open to speaking with me and offering help.

Training consisted of theory training in a classroom. We went over different roles or players and coaches and what the basic skills of football are. From a player perspective it was somewhat tedious, but I see that value in learning it as a coach. My favorite part was the practical sessions. In the mornings we did training sessions with some females from teams in Kingston. Carolina ran the drills while we observed, taking notes on the drills and how to conduct them.  She had the same frustrations I have on a regular basis about getting girls to listen and retain the information and the complete lack of motivation or drive to be better footballers. Here these girls were with one of the best female players coaching them and they were more concerned about whether of not they got to keep the training gear. In the afternoons we did the practical sessions with the U-20 national team. The boys were a lot more up-beat and came more mentally prepared to train.

We also spent time watching the Euro Cup semi-finals. We were split in to groups and each group was assigned to analyze offense or defense of a given team. The second day, during the Germany-Italy game, the power went out in the 70th minute, so we didn’t actually get to see the end of the match.

Overall this was an amazing experience. I not only got to learn a lot about football from a technical perspective, but it gave me a better insight into football as it relates to Jamaican culture. It was strangely refreshing to hear and watch Carolina have the same struggles I have on a regular basis and be completely befuddled on how to change it. I am excited for the U-15 season because our (my!) team is quite young and I hope I cannot only help them be better footballers but strong women.

What I learned today:

(As an obvious generalization) Jamaicans will do what is asked, usually less, but never more of what is asked of them.

I will never be able to marry someone who snores unless I want to wear headphones while I sleep for the rest of my life.

Cricket makes absolutely no sense to me.

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