SATURDAY, JUNE 2: Boulevard Blazers has released 13 players as it has changed the focus of what it aims to accomplish through its football programme after being forced to forfeit two games last season due to gang violence.
During the 2011-12 football season, Boulevard had to forfeit two matches at Somerset Cricket Club as some players opted out of playing out of fear of safety for their lives.
Boulevard forfeited a friendship Trophy match in December and a league game in February.
Dr Lou Matthews, president of Boulevard said the club is going back to its roots and will fully embrace the founding ideals from 37 years ago.
The club thanked the 13 players it released for their service and wished them the best in the future.
Dr Matthews said: “We are excited about the direction of the club as it aligns us with most progressive socially and culturally relevant social agents in our community. Here are some of the changes that were instituted as of May 1:
1. A new Code of Conduct that focuses on player responsibilities to the community, football and their peers
2. Reestablished links with local community partners including the Victor Scott Primary School, Hope for Life Foundation.
3. Adoption of new Player Agreements for all players the upcoming season.
4. All interested players for the 2012-2013 campaign will undergo a screening and vetting process by a committee appointed by the executive committee and sign a contract with the club.
5. All players under agreements will agree to support the community club’s core values: integrity, education, culture, community service, and family.
6. All players under agreement will be committed to training, travelling to every venue and to a lifestyle of positive living.
7. An official return of the club to the Victor Scott School Field as a practice field and meeting place on Tuesdays and Thursdays
8. All Players must be actively seeing employment or education, or be actively involved in a programme meant to train and support them to do so.
9. New Boulevard Cubs U-10 team will be introduced to support the club.
10. All of BCC coaches will be qualified or be in a programme leading towards qualification, at all levels.
Dr Matthews said: “The club has committed to some sweeping changes in order to reconnect to a community that we had lost sight of and we know these changes are a step in the right direction.
“Football in Bermuda has to be more than just a game on Sunday.
“Football must represent Hope.
“It must introduce our young men and women, to a better way of life, a life that shows that through team work, sacrifice, community engagement caring and sharing we can take positive steps to a Better Bermuda.
“Boulevard is committed to forward steps, we know that this journey will not be an easy one.
“We have committed to lifestyle changes: these changes are radical and we know that they will be uncomfortable at first, but in the end we know that our community will be better because of it.”