Budding coaches in Samoa and American Samoa were the beneficiaries recently of the FIFA Grassroots coaching programme.
Both nations received a boost following the performances of their respective teams in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifying last November, and last week’s course is intended to put in place building blocks to develop tomorrow’s stars.
The five-day course in the Samoan capital of Apia was attended by a wide range of participants, all of whom play an active role in grassroots football in their various clubs and villages. They were given the opportunity to learn from FIFA Instructor Didier Chambaron, the OFC head of education and training, who was joined in conducting the course by OFC player development officer Daniel Shirley.
The goals of the gathering, as was the case in American Samoa, were to raise awareness of the importance of grassroots football and to equip the participants with the knowledge to organise age-appropriate activities for children aged six to 12.
Frenchman Chambaron was pleased with how the course panned out and says the grassroots level is a key aspect of coaching development. "I believe coaching is very much about understanding the players you are working with and providing an environment that meets their needs," he said. "Understanding that is the key to being a successful football coach."
Football Federation Samoa chief executive Sarai Bareman said the event was of great significance. "This course is vitally important to the future of football in Samoa," she said. "To improve the level of football in our country, and ultimately the performances of our teams on the international field, we must start at grassroots level."
A few days earlier in the American Samoa capital of Pago Pago, FIFA Instructor Nicola Demaine, who is also the OFC women's development officer, led a similar grassroots course along with Shirley.
It was the first such FIFA Grassroots course to be held in American Samoa, one of FIFA’s smallest Member Associations, while an OFC D Licence Women's Youth Coaching course was also conducted.