Wayne “Shorty” Lawson has a tall order ahead of him when the third annual Jamaican schoolboys ‘masters’ soccer festival kicks off at the Jefferson High School Sports Complex at 125-08 Flatlands Avenue, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, NY, on Saturday, July 23, at 1:00 pm.
In a creative twist to this year’s All-Manning vs All-daCosta Cup AllStars festival, Lawson will wear the captain’s arm band for the all city (Manning Cup) ensemble in their defense of the prized hardware, the Western Union/LEM Accounting Services Challenge trophy that they wrestled from the all rural (daCosta Cup) team in a contentious meeting last year at the Springfield Gardens High School Field, in Queens, NY.
The rural lads won the first staging of the charity soccer festival in 2009, setting the stage for a keenly contested match this year.
In an effort to give the festival a bit more ‘context’ this year, the organizers, CCI – Comets Club International (Montego Bay ‘Comets’ Athletics Club), will select the captains from the winning schools in Jamaica, West Indies. Lawson, who attended Jamaica College, was the unanimous choice, having played in the festival the two previous years under captain Douglas Bell (KC).
“Lawson was the clear favorite as a former JC player and also a strong supporter of the festival,” noted Clennon ‘Elder’ Clarke (Vere), the festival’s Player Liaison Officer.
Clarke said that the captain for the All-daCosta Cup team will come from Ruseas High School, winners of the ‘d-cup’ last year. The player will be named prior to the 5:00 pm kick-off of the feature presentation.
The Manning Cup team will wear the colors of JC (Blue), while the All-daCosta team with be outfitted in the traditional Blue & Gold of Ruseas.
“Choosing the captains and uniforms from the winning schools (in Jamaica), will definitely add more substance and worth to the festival,” noted Bertram Charlton, a sports administrator with the NYC School System and match inspector for the festival. Charlton will decide who gets rewarded for outstanding play during the three matches.
Rosedale Eagles of Queens will get the ball rolling at 1:00 pm, when they take on Santos FC ‘Masters’ of the Bronx. The co-feature – second match – between Munro College, the reigning NY area alumni champions and Camperdown High School, will be played in memory of Barrington ‘Cobra’ Gaynor, the C’down/Harbour View and national player who transitioned earlier this year from Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Richard ‘Pro-duck’ Green, who played with Gaynor said that the match will be a fitting tribute for someone who gave so much in such a short time to the sport of soccer. “Memories don’t live like people do. We will miss him dearly,” noted Green who is coordinating the C’down team for the ‘memorial’.
Along with Gaynor – posthumously – CCI will also recognize Norbert ‘Cunnie’ Radjpaul, for his outstanding contribution to the development of soccer in the NYC Caribbean community.
Radjpaul is the manager/mentor of the NY Reggae Boyz, winners of the Digicel New York Caribbean Cup soccer championship for the past seven consecutive years and they are on course for an eighth title.
The festival – which benefits track & field development and a scholarship (stay in school) fund for the Montego Bay ‘Comets’ Athletics Club – will open at high noon, with a coaching clinic for youth 12 years and under, conducted by Edward ‘Johnny Cool’ Dawkins and Leonard ‘Chicken’ Mason, rated among the ‘best ballers from yard’. Mason was honored at the festival last year.
The festival is being supported by; Irie Jam Media Group, Digicel, Jamaica National Money Transfer, RTN Production, AllTime Printing Corp.