Liverpool legend Barnes to help guide youth
John Barnes, the former Liverpool ace, has teamed up with Bermuda legends Shaun Goater and Clyde Best in an initiative designed to influence positive social change among the island’s young people.
The star trio have agreed to mentor students at BerkeleyInstitute, CedarBridge Academy and Victor Scott Primary School and will also be involved in various other social gatherings taking place from March 6 to 7.
The initiative is part of a programme known as the Sports Mentoring Initiative being organised by the Official Liverpool Supporters Club Bermuda.
“The make-up of the Official Liverpool Supporters Club Bermuda is a diverse make up of Bermuda and we are acutely aware of the social ills that have befallen our community,” said Calvin Smith, one of the programme’s founders and Police Officer
“The programme is specifically geared towards using sports as a means of connecting with underserved, vulnerable young men in Bermuda.
“It is well known that sport is a catalyst for change in communities. Recognising this, OLSC is looking to mobilise, among others, professional athletes and coaches to help us in engaging our sidelined young men.
“The goal is to teach them about the important role that sports plays in the development of leadership skills, academic success and emotional wholeness.
“As part of our strategy, the OLSC has been in negotiations with three known English Premier League football legends; John Barnes, of Liverpool, and Bermuda’s own success stories Shaun Goater, of Manchester City, and Clyde Best, of West Ham United.
“We plan on having John, Shaun and Clyde to share their life experiences with our youth and discuss with them, among other things, how sports and education can be a vehicle towards greater opportunity and inclusion. The aim of our action plan is to cause sustainable positive social change and open opportunities for Bermuda’s youth through sports.”
Goater and Best are both looking forward to the upcoming series of events, which also includes social functions at Police Recreation Club.
“Truly excited to come home and be a part of it,” said Goater, who netted 84 goals in 184 appearances for City between 1998 and 2003.
“A couple of days of events happening but one of the important parts for John and myself coming back to Bermuda is to pass on the message of education and sports for the youngsters.
“We are going to a couple of schools and have a chat with the children along with obviously watching the live game and some other activities that will be happening throughout the week, so an exciting week ahead.”
Best, who netted 47 goals in 186 appearances for West Ham between 1968 and 1976, added: “I think it is a great idea.
“Sports does so much for everybody and when you see people trying to use initiatives to further people, what better way to do it than sport? It’s a healer for so many different things and anything for young people I’m for because that’s our future and we have to make sure that they are guided properly and given the opportunities that they need.”
Barnes netted 84 goals in 314 appearances for Liverpool between 1987 and 1997 and won the First Division (now Premier League) and the FA Cup twice.
He was also capped 79 times for England and in 2005 was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
The former winger also had coaching stints at Celtic, Tranmere Rovers and the Jamaica national team, having been born on the Caribbean island before moving to London with his family at the age of 12.
“The thought of bringing down someone who would have an impact, not just for our members but also for the community, was really cool,” said OLSC spokesperson Jennifer Ward.
“The guys had the thought of bringing down John Barnes because he’s very kind of prolific in football in general and is a very good speaker and, teaming up with Shaun Goater and Clyde Best, has a great story to tell for youth and for black males coming up.
“Obviously what the three had to deal with along the way, racism-wise and all that stuff in the game, is quite interesting. So they are going to be talking about that and how they broke through and did so well with their careers and I think it’s pretty exciting to hear them talk about that kind of stuff.
“I think it’s important for children, especially teenagers, to hear people that may be in the same situation as them having done well and overcome it.”
For more details visit inspired.bm/olscbda-legends or call 717-0454.
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