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Five Female Footballers Head to Princeton University’s Sports Camp

Jun 20, 2023

Five Female Footballers Head to Princeton University’s Sports Camp

Five female football athletes have been selected to take part in the first Belize U.S. Visitor Sports Program. The five under-eighteen national team players will be at the Princeton University for two weeks where they will undergo physical and skills training. The university will also provide the five athletes with leadership training during their visit. An official ceremony was held this morning in Belmopan to officially launch the exchange program. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

This morning the U.S. Embassy and the Football Federation of Belize held a brief ceremony in Belmopan to send off five under-eighteen female national team players to Princeton University. These young athletes will be at Princeton University for a two-week sports camp. Sergio Chuc, the President of the Football Federation of Belize gave the following remarks.

Sergio Chuc

Sergio Chuc, President, Football Federation of Belize

“One of these fine days we hope that these football leaders will take us there. That is the expectation we will have of you that you will go out there and improve your football skill but most importantly your leadership skills, because we look at you as the future leaders. And, just as we gave Ms Centeno the opportunity to educate herself through football and now she has been appointed the National Sports Council Director, that is the highest position, the sporting authority in Belize has. Through football you guys will be next in line.”

This initiative is being undertaken through the U.S. Visitor Sports Program. The two-week sports camp was established to promote leadership and gender equality. Former Olympian, U.S Ambassador to Belize Michelle Kwan highlighted the significance of the program.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“I think it is an incredible program. It is a blend of two things I absolutely love, it is sports being an Olympian and diplomacy. It is sports diplomacy at its best. And partnering with the Ministry of Sports as well as FFB to create this program, I am super excited. As I said in my remarks, for these five women athletes travelling to the United States on a two-week long exchange. I think you said it the best, this is not only for the development of being great athletes, but also to develop their leadership skills and they will return back to Belize empowered and shape who they area in their lives.”

Shameka Lambey is among the female athletes selected to be a part of Belize’s first U.S Visitors Sport program. She spoke about her expectations of the training. Former National Team Coach, Iris Centeno, will be traveling with the young women.

Shameka Lambey

Shameka Lambey, U-18 Female National Team Player

“Well I am very grateful for this opportunity because we are the first set of females to represent Belize and it is a great opportunity to make the pathway for other Belizeans and we can show them that nothing is impossible, that we can always do what we set our mind to. I am just looking forward to a great experience, to develop my football skills, leadership skills, and socialization skills.”

Iris Centeno

Iris Centeno, Former Female National Team Coach

“I believe they are not the only one happy, I will also be happy because I will be able to also enjoy this journey with them and for me empowering women is the number one priority so it is something big for us.”

Rodwell Ferguson, the Minister of Sports, was also present at today’s event. He is hopeful that upon their return, these five athletes will contribute to the advancement of football in Belize.

Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Sports

“When I was called by Ms Deborah Seawell that they are looking for five young females to go to the United States to this sports camp. I had no objections. Right away I called Ms Iris Centeno who was then the director for FFB and I told her you need to organize five young women right away, get their documents ready, everything for them to travel at this particular time. I feel very elated because I feel sports in this country has been on a down low and I am hopeful with myself and the Department of Sports that we can make some kind of improvement.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.