Children from Rose Hall and surrounding communities in St. James are to be exposed to life-changing lessons, through football, at the newly-launched Real Madrid Football School for Social Integration.
The school was officially launched in Montego Bay on Monday (April 26), however, the agreement for its establishment was signed Tuesday (April 27), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston. The school is the result of collaboration between the Real Madrid Foundation, Spanish-Jamaican Foundation and Rose Hall Developments.
The school is modeled on the Real Madrid Foundation’s network of schools for social integration, and will target young people in underprivileged situations.
Former Reggae Boyz goalkeeper and Technical Director of the Real Madrid Football School for Social Integration in Montego Bay, Aaron Lawrence (right), and Director of Institutional Relations for the Real Madrid Football Club, Emilio Butragueno (second from right), sign an agreement establishing the school, at a ceremony held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday (April 27). Looking on are (left to right), Rose Hall Developments’ Marc Rollins, whose family is providing the land to permanently house the school, and Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, His Excellency Jesus Silva.
Spain’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Jesus Silva, said the “promising and ambitious” programme is geared towards much more than creating football stars. He argued that sports, especially football, was an area of common interest among children, and could be used to teach them certain values and foster social integration.
“With this motivating factor, Real Madrid has established a model where you can invite them to be part of something which is a football school.. And, at the same time, teach them certain values which are intrinsic in football, which is teamwork, which is not being selfish, doing something for others, which is accepting rules,” he stated.
The school will be managed by former Reggae Boyz goalkeeper, Aaron Lawrence, and will be temporarily housed on lands neighbouring the Wyndham Resort in Rose Hall, Montego Bay. During the first year, it is expected to provide training for 30 to 50 boys and girls between six and 12 years old. The second phase will see expansion of the school, by the erection of permanent structures on land donated by Rose Hall Developments in the Rose Hall area.
For his part, Mr. Lawrence said he was hoping that involvement with the school would help the participants to excel in all areas, especially their academics.
Ambassador of Spain to Jamaica, His Excellency Jesus Silva (second left), and Director of Institutional Relations for the Real Madrid Football Club, Emilio Butragueno, shake hands after signing an agreement for the establishment of the Real Madrid Football School for Social Integration in Montego Bay, at a ceremony at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on Tuesday (April 27). Looking on are Rose Hall Developments’ Marc Rollins (left), whose family is providing the land to permanently house the school, and Former Reggae Boyz goalkeeper and Technical Director of the school, Aaron Lawrence.
“One of the things that we ask of these kids is to be good [students] and to get at least a 50 per cent average in school. And when you get a 50 per cent average, don’t stay there, try to improve yourself, or if you get less than 50 per cent you will be in trouble with us at the school, because we want bright young, future stars at the school,” he said.
Also speaking at the signing ceremony was internationally acclaimed former Real Madrid striker and Director of Institutional Relations for the Spanish football club, Emilio Butragueno. He expressed the Real Madrid Foundation’s delight at being able to introduce the programme to Jamaica.
He said he was convinced that it would be a “big success”, and that today’s signing was the beginning of a fruitful and long-lasting project.