STAY’ In­grid Smith vows never to leave Hum­ble Lion

The Star (Jamaica) - - SPORTS THE WEEKEND STAR - LIV­INGSTON SCOTT STAR Writer

Since Hum­ble Lion en­tered the Pre­mier League al­most 10 sea­sons ago in 2009, team man­ager In­grid Smith has been an ever-present fix­ture on the side­lines for the Claren­don club. Al­ways at­tired in her Rasta­far­ian coloured (red, gold and green) head wrap, Smith, who also has dread­locks, de­clared that she does not prac­tice the faith. The vet­eran foot­ball ad­min­is­tra­tor, who usu­ally sits next to her team bench dur­ing matches, nor­mally goes about her busi­ness dis­creetly and mil­i­tantly but with­out much at­ten­tion. But her im­por­tance to the Ef­fortville-based club can­not be un­der­stated. Smith, whose main re­spon­si­bil­ity is en­sur­ing things are in place for train­ing and match days, ex­pressed the undy­ing love for the club and in­sists that only Brazil could make her leave Hum­ble Lion. “On match days, I make sure ev­ery­thing is ready. I do stats, match cards, re­fresh­ments, and make sure equip­ment is ready. So if a line is lean, the match of­fi­cials will come to me to get it right,” she ex­plained. Smith, who has been with the club since 2003, was the sec­re­tary. How­ever, she does not have that much re­spon­si­bil­ity again. But the se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tor, whose love for the game was gen­er­ated by South Amer­i­can foot­ball king­pins, Brazil, said she would never leave her club to join an­other lo­cal club. “(Last) Sun­day I was in St Ann and a gen­tle­men asked if I want a job there. I turned to him and said: ‘The only place I am leav­ing Hum­ble Lion to go is Brazil. Brazil alone could take me away (from Hum­ble Lion), not even Ja­maica (na­tional team). I got into foot­ball be­cause of Brazil. Mi love Brazil from as long as I know. Brazil I owe ev­ery­thing in foot­ball to. Is just Brazil get mi to love foot­ball,” she de­clared. Smith’s mother is from Ef­fortville, but she grew up in Four Paths. How­ever, she later moved to Ef­fortville to live with her and she got in­volved with the club af­ter she started vis­it­ing the com­mu­nity cen­tre where the team trained, daily. She was then in­vited by a for­mer player (Odean White, now de­ceased) to their meet­ings.

A BLESS­ING

She re­called they were play­ing Ma­jor and Con­fed­er­a­tion leagues and held meet­ings on the steps of the cen­tre. How­ever, when the club’s for­mer fi­nancier passed away in 2008, Smith re­mem­bered when mem­ber of par­lia­ment Mike Henry came in, and she de­scribed his in­volve­ment as a bless­ing.

“It was a lot of stress, those times. We didn’t have a man­ager, ev­ery­thing was vol­un­teer. Play­ers never got paid, ev­ery­body played for free and ev­ery­body ah work free and it was good. He (Henry) came about 2009 when we were qual­i­fy­ing for the Pre­mier League and that gave us a push be­cause the other guy (fi­nancier) got killed the same year. So he came in at the right time,” she stated.

“We were play­ing Su­per League and most times we reached the semi-fi­nal or fi­nal. The Pre­mier League wasn’t much of a change be­cause we did the same things we used to do. The only thing was that we could buy al­most any­thing be­cause money was there and play­ers could get paid,” she added.

She said like many de­pressed com­mu­ni­ties, foot­ball plays an in­te­gral role in their lives, and she hopes the play­ers can de­liver the Red Stripe Pre­mier League (RSPL) ti­tle for their com­mit­ted fans.

“Foot­ball hold this com­mu­nity to­gether. If we don’t have foot­ball, we don’t have any­thing else, es­pe­cially with the vi­o­lence. When foot­ball is be­ing played, we usu­ally have far less vi­o­lence,” she said.

She con­tin­ued: “Ev­ery team’s dream is to win the Pre­mier League. We have come close a cou­ple times, but any time we are to win it, noth­ing will stop us, it’s just not our time yet. But we need to win the Pre­mier League and we can do it. (Last) Sun­day was the start of the first win (against Mount Pleas­ant FA) and we will con­tinue. My big­gest dis­ap­point­ment is our top for­wards ah miss too much goals. If you’re a top for­ward, you should score more than you miss, and that mek mi up­set,” she con­cluded.

The ever-present Miss In­grid Smith (left) of Hum­ble Lion FC en­gages in con­ver­sa­tion with the sup­port­ers.

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