FA Cup winner Emmerson Boyce will lead a delegation to Barbados next month to launch the island's Women’s Football Development Programme.
PFA member Boyce, who starred in the English Premier League and captained Barbados, will be joined by PFA trustee Brendon Batson OBE, ex-international referee and FIFA instructor Janie Frampton, Stephanie Boyce, a solicitor with specialist expertise in overhauling governance arrangements and Eileen Schofield, a solicitor with experience in international programmes.
Boyce, who was awarded the Barbados golden jubilee award in 2016 said: "Our aim is to help raise the standards of football in the country, developing elite players to represent Barbados in the top leagues around the world while at the same time helping to change perceptions and social barriers to participation, and also create a strong, inclusive and engaging brand to raise the profile of the game for the serious player and the casual participant,"
The programme is supported by the Barbados government, Barbados Football Association (BFA), the University of West Indies and the International Socca Federation - the governing body for small, sided football and the largest provider of small sided football in the world. It is hoped the programme will be the perfect vehicle to address key health and social issues affecting young women in Barbados.
“I believe the time is right to take women’s football in Barbados to a higher level," said Randy Harris, president of the BFA. "To set a new football benchmark, and lead by example in the Caribbean.
"Barbados will lead the emerging countries in the development of girls and women’s participation."
The delegation will arrive in Barbados on October 16th and will offer gender specific training for players, coaches and referees. The initiative hopes to give girls or young women the confidence to take part in football and different roles within the game, to address equity issues, combat obesity and promote an overall healthy lifestyle, whilst building self-esteem and giving participants a feeling of value within their community. It's designed to help to ensure any stigma or stereotypes about girls or young women in football is removed.
The programme aims to build on the success of the women’s senior national team at the Windward Islands Football Association (WIFA) tournament in 2017, which led to the highest FIFA ranking in 2018, by growing participation in the sport of football and raising the quality and standards of all sectors of the women’s game to compete in international competitions - including the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup.