Photo: Andrew Edwards presents the trophy to Norbrook Academy U-7 football team at the Genesis Cup
A massive crowd descended on the Manchester High school in Mandeville last Saturday for the second staging of the Genesis Cup, a football tournament which was hosted by the Genesis Football Academy.
Forty six teams from across the island played in five different age group categories ranging from U-7 to U-15 as 670 boys and girls battled all day for the various trophies and prizes on offer.
The large crowd that witnessed the event (which included many parents), was engrossed all day by the competitive but friendly play. Most teams fielded only boys but some clubs had girls playing in their teams alongside the boys.
The four teams to make it to the semifinals of the U-7 category were Norbrook Academy, Norbrook Strikers, Ballaz and St. Aloysius. Norbrook Academy defeated the Strikers 1-0 to advance to the finals while St. Aloysius fell 0-2 to Ballaz. Norbrook Academy went on to lift the trophy after they won the final 1-0 in a penalty shootout.
Ballaz made their second final of the day when they defeated Hillel 2-0 in the U-9 semis while St. Aloysius defeated Benders 3-0 in the other semifinal. The finals heartache continued for Ballaz as they lost 1-2 in the final to St. Aloysius.
The consistent Ballaz Academy won their third semifinal of the day when they defeated Norbrook Academy 2-0 to face Emmanuel Christian Academy (ECA) in the final of the U-11 category after ECA has clipped Hillel 1-0 in semifinal two. The Andre Virtue led outfit were finally able to celebrate a championship win with a 1-0 finals win over ECA.
The hosts Genesis Academy were not to be outdone as they had their lone win in the U-13 category. They had the beating of Benders 2-0 in their semifinal while STATHS defeated Central 3-1 to set an intriguing final which was decided from the penalty spot. Genesis claimed a 4-3 win to ensure that at least one trophy remained in Manchester.
STATHS would not leave the tournament empty-handed however, as they won the last final of the day with a 2-0 win over the luck-less Central in the U-15 final. Both teams had gotten to the final via semifinal wins over Benders and Phoenix respectively.
Tournament organizer, Andrew Edwards hailed the second staging of the Genesis Cup.
“The tournament has to go down as a huge success. Certainly to my knowledge, nothing near this has ever been attempted in Jamaica much less accomplished and we are very proud of the achievements.”
He was however honest in his overall assessment of the entire day’s activities.
“Notwithstanding we also recognize that a number of errors were made so the tournament could have been way more successful with better planning, better organization and certainly with a larger pool of human resources,” he continued.
With future growth in the pipelines there is a promise to learn and grow from the experience.
“But again we are very, very proud and we see this as a great platform from which we can springboard ourselves to what we really want to achieve, in terms of expanding the tournament internationally.”
Jamel Banton who has three sons that play for Ballaz Academy said, “Jamaica’s youth football development needs one-day weekend tournaments like the Genesis Cup once a month. However more resources are needed to make sure the tournaments are better run on the day.”
With the FIFA World Cup 2026 coming to the CONCACAF region there may just be a greater investment in tournaments of this kind in the near future in Jamaica.