Where do I begin? The journey to the Marshall Islands – the first time – an interesting one!
I won’t go back to the start, that’s been covered (a lot!) but I can give some context to my first trip out, ‘OUR’ first trip out, to Majuro. I say our as this is a collective effort. Without the trust of the MISF board, this wouldn’t have been possible. Without the efforts of Justin Walley and Matt Webb (the other Directors who you should also get to know), this wouldn’t have been possible. Without our amazing donors and sponsors, this wouldn’t have been possible. But it was!
We aimed to have sessions running during my visit to Majuro for kids, women and men as well as coach education workshops and generally meeting the community. This was HUGELY exceed.
So the long journey began for me near Oxford through to Heathrow (London) to begin the 40 hour flight (with some stops!). First up, tackling San Francisco before the connection to Honolulu. Upon settling into the hotel for a small stop over, United Airlines contacted me to say that my morning connection to the Marshall Islands was cancelled and I can’t get a flight out for 2 days… what?! What do we do?! … United decided to help by providing food and accommodation in downtown Honolulu (it could be worse, right?).
After beaches, hikes and food, I finally managed to board the flight to Majuro… obviously later than planned.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by locals and instantly made to feel welcome. An amazingly humbling moment and a recognition of what I was there do and the impact it was going to have.
Skip some of the menial content for you readers and here’s the ‘good stuff’!
- Kids sessions took place. We expected 10-12 attendees – we had 30!
- Mens sessions took place. We expected 10-12. We had 22!
- I created the nations first coaching course, Introduction to Coaching Soccer. It’s an E-Learning course but I delivered some theoretical content and practical elements. We expected 5… we had 23!
- Meeting with the Olympic Committee. This was great as they finally recognised the federation (MISF).
- Meeting with the Ministry of Education. Hugely important step for the future of football in the country. Why? I created a school curriculum and the government agreed to put into the national curriculum – children will now grow up playing the worlds game.
What did this lead to?
We now have 2 kids sessions per week run by inspirational locals. We also have 2 mens sessions, one of which is the Futsal league containing 4 teams.
We also have an invite to a regional tournament next summer with a few other nations – watch this space!!!
Continuing the roll out of the sport. We need to focus on getting female soccer going. We also need to find a way to unite the players based abroad with their Marshallese routes and a way of doing this is by holding a camp in the US where a big portion are.
We will continue to educate locals and roll out football across the main island of Majuro in the short, medium and long terms) as well as start to implement talent pathways for those children and adults identified as strivers.
How can people help?
Well, we are still reliant on donations and sponsors as we are not a confederation member – yet!
If you’d like to donate, we have a GoFundMe page: Fundraiser by Marshall Islands SF Soccer Federation : Bringing football to the Marshall Islands (gofundme.com)
If you’d like to sponsor/partner with us: please contact: Marshallislandssf@gmail.com