Kicks-a-bout with neighbourhood kids
Liverpool and England international footballer Raheem Sterling is on vacation in his native Jamaica.
After having to endure a long season in the English Premier League (EPL) and then at the World Cup, it could be forgiven if the youngster – just 19-years-old – chose to spend most of his time on the island relaxing on beautiful white-sand beaches and in all-inclusive resorts. Instead, he is dedicating a lot of time organising activities in his hometown of Maverley, a tough inner-city community in Kingston that has its fair share of violence.
On Sunday there was a neighbourhood family fun-day organised by Sterling. It featured a four-a-side-football tournament, which included his own “Team Sterling”.
When Loop News arrived on the scene, it was a picture of fun and excitement. Scores of spectators enjoyed football on a multi-purpose hard court and children played in bounce-a-bouts and on slides. All that mixed with the harsh realities of the environment as army vehicles monitored the proceedings. Sterling appeared to be just a regular kid in the neighbourhood as he sat on the tail-end of a vehicle, chatting with a group of friends.
He was soon cheering on “Team Sterling” before making a cameo appearance, giving youth in the community the amazing experience of having a kick-a-bout with an international football star.
When Loop News approached Sterling for an interview on the community project, the humble youngster deferred to his friend, Lamar Jordan.
“We guys just came here to organise the community because we have heard there is a lot of violence, so we just came back to bring the kids and the people together,” Jordan said.
“To be honest, Raheem really loves the people here…he takes care of them, gives them what he has,” Jordan added.
Sterling, however, did speak with Loop about his World Cup experience and outlook for Liverpool in the EPL this season.
England made an early exit from the World Cup, the first time the team had been knocked out in the group stages since 1958. Despite the team’s setback, Sterling got rave reviews for his performance.
“For any young person to be involved in such a big tournament is obviously a great experience and it was no different for myself…It was a good feeling to get out there on the pitch and show the world what I could do really,” Sterling told Loop.
He added: “Obviously on a team performance (level), we are obviously disappointed with how the tournament went. We would have liked to be in the tournament up until now and all the way to the finals, but that was not the case. Hopefully we build from this World Cup experience and go even further in the next four years.”
Liverpool came close to ending its League title drought but was clipped by Manchester City to the championship. Sterling noted that while Liverpool “did really well” last season, they were disappointed not to win the league.
“This season we will just go in the same as we did last year and take it step by step, week in week out … so we will be going out there on a positive note and hopefully we can do what we know we can do,” Sterling said.
Sterling said the event was one of several he had organised to give back to his community.
Stay in the Loop for videos on Sterling in Maverley.
Loop News ServiceTags: England, FIFA World Cup, Jamaica, Raheem Sterling, top