A newly-formed soccer club, which targets boys and girls in the Niagara Region is collaborating with a club in Antigua and Barbuda to provide opportunities for kids in both locations.
Bert Lobo, executive director of Generation Next F.C. Rebels, told CBC News that there are exciting plans in the works for the kids, but it could be weeks before they can get the ball rolling.
Lobo was recently introduced to Ricky Santos, president of Generation Next Football Club (GNFC) Rebels in Antigua, according to CBC News.
“We immediately found our common connection as we both have been providing opportunities for girls and boys to pursue their dreams through the playing of soccer, or football as it is known around the world,” Lobo told television network.
“With this newly found association, we have moved forward with various initiatives including the formation of tournaments, university and professional showcases to display the talents of players looking to achieve successes in soccer, and also their academic lives,” he added.
Lobo said GNFC Rebels will offer participation in local and worldwide leagues and tournaments, according to CBC News.
He said GNFC Rebels players both in Canada and Antigua will have the added pathway of not only a possible university scholarship but also an opportunity to pursue professional options worldwide.
Lobo said he was “very pleased to work with Ricky and GNFC Rebels and especially the expanding brand that they have built not only in Antigua but also in Spain and England,” reported CBC News.
“GNFC Rebels, Niagara, will be unlike any other organization in the Niagara Region as options and opportunities provided by the GNFC brand have been successful not only in Antigua but other major soccer playing countries,” he said.
But Lobo said the club has been forced to put all activities on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CBC News.
“We can’t do anything,” he said. “Right now, everything is on total hold until we’re able to get out there and start putting the teams together and training.”
Lobo said, right now, he’s deferring everything on a weekly and monthly basis, CBC News reported.
“The objective is to put together teams to participate locally in different aspects — tournaments, leagues etc.,— once we can get going,” Lobo told the network. “The plan is to try and get it going but it’s totally COVID-dependent.
“So, whether we are able to get going in March, April, May, June or July, I’ve got no idea, but the objective is to put together some teams in several different age groups to participate in leagues or tournaments, whatever is available depending on what COVID allows,” Lobo added.