The Secondary Schools Football League is proud to provide you with the following E-booklet which reviews the League over 50 years.
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The History of the SSFL
Research indicates that schools played football as far back as 1908. St. Mary’s College (CIC) played
Queen’s Royal College (QRC) in the Northern Intercol. In and around 1923 both Queen’s Royal College (QRC) and St. Mary’s College (CIC) played among clubs in Trinidad Amateur Football Association. QRC and CIC together with Fatima College played in the Port of Spain Football League from 1959.
In 1935 Naparima College, Presentation College and St. Benedict’s College began playing in the South Intercol as well as among clubs in the South Football Association League. During those past years teachers played with the school boys on occasions both in the south and north. These six schools sometimes defeated some of the major clubs of the day.
Trinidad some schools were given the opportunity to play against them. In 1947, schools combined played against British Guyana. Schools also combined to tour the different West Indian islands to play football.
From 1958 to 1959 attempts were made to start a school league inclu- sive of
colleges and other private schools to assist with the development of school football. Unfortunately many difficul- ties, especially playfields accounted for the suspension of the school competitions.
In 1962 Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence and a number of five (5) year secondary schools were built. In 1963 a shift in the Cambridge examination for secondary schools from December/January to June affected the local education system and sport was not an exception.
It became very difficult for schools to continue to play amongst the clubs, since exam preparation for June affected preparation for football.
This paradigm shift heralded the formation of the Colleges Football League in 1964. This league was in- augurated with the six Colleges. From the north were St. Mary’s, Queen’s Royal and Fatima Colleges and in the south Presentation, Naparima and St. Benedict’s College.
The founding members of the Col- lege’s Football League were Dr. Ray Dolly President, Dom Basil Matthews and Mr. Dave Traboulay St. Benedicts, Mr. Horace Springer Queen’s Royal College, Mr. Roy Jagroopsingh and Mr. Victor Cowan
Naparima College, Brother Cletus Presentation College, Fr. Farfan Fati- ma College and Mr. Azlan Khan, St. Mary’s College.
In the 1970’s a number of Junior Secondary and Senior Comprehen- sive Schools were built. This augured well for the increase in the number of student footballers. In and around 1970 the East Zone was formed and in 1980 the Tobago Zone was formed.
In 1984 the Championship Division was changed from a national league competition to a zonal competition due to the increase in the number of schools participating. In 1986 the Colleges Football League constitution had to be amended to ensure that only Secondary Schools students participated in the competitions. By 1989 the membership had increased to 28 schools which advocated a change in the name of the league to the Secondary Schools Football League. In 1991 the central zone which was a part of the east zone was separated and it now meant that five (5) zones existed (North, South, East, Central and Tobago.
In 1986 the North Zone started a girl’s division and in 1987 the East Zone experimented with a girl’s league. By 1992 the membership had grown to 32 schools involving three zones.
The Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League was incor- porated by an act of parliament on 22nd August 1995 which is a hallmark decision for the SSFL.
The SSFL is an affiliate of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and has always had a good relationship with that organisation. The SSFL moved into its office at the TTFA Home of Football at Ato Boldon Stadium in 2017.
The SSFL through its own initiative has emphasized development of the league by offering coaching courses to its members. The first English F.A. course in Trinidad was held in 1993 for 32 school coaches. The Brazilian Academy has held four courses for our coaches one of which was an advanced course in 1994 as a follow up to the English FA.
In 2017 the SSFL conducted C and B license coaching courses conducted by Concacaf instructor and current TTFA Technical Director Anton Corneal. In the past, The Ministry of Sport in collaboration with the TTFA has run a number of Level I courses for our coaches. Former national coach Everald “Gally” Cummings former national coach has run two courses and ex-national youth team coach Keith Look Loy former national youth coach has also conducted a course for SSFL. In 2000. Professor Simoes Brazil national conducted a CFU Level I for some of our coaches.
There are over 400 coaches registered in this league fifty-five (55%) percent of whom are certified. Two (2) administrator/coaches have attended Courses Conductors and Master Course Conductors courses with the Commonwealth Sports Development Programme (C.S.D.P.) in St. Lucia and Barbados and are equipped to conduct courses for the league.
In our effort to expose talent the SSFL national schools representative teams have toured Suriname, Jamaica and Barbados. A Secondary Schools football team has been to the Norway Cup. The league through its then sponsors BWIA has hosted four (4) Caribbean school tournaments. The SSFL has hosted two (2) Italian youth teams Napoli and Flamingo as well. As part of its sponsorship for the Intercol, Coca Cola Ltd has sent a representative junior school team of the winners to the Copa Coca Cola schools tournament in Latin America on three occasions:- Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica.
Although the SSFL has encouraged each school to acquire their own health insurance for the players, the league has a Player’s Fund where each player has to contribute one ($1.00) dollar on registration to the fund and the league matches. This fund is used to assist players with with part payment for serious injuries during the season.
The SSFL currently has one hundred and twelve (112) participating schools in the league out of a total of one hundred and thirty eight (138) Secondary Schools. There are thirteen thousand four hundred (13,400) student footballers par- ticipating in the Secondary School Football League (SSFL) competition and programs
Of the 112 registered schools 60 schools play girls football. The 112 schools are distributed among the five (5) zones as follows:- North 27, East 32, South 32, Central 14 and Tobago 10.
A premier division, a national schools under 20 league was inaugurated
in 2014. Additionally each zone is divided into the following grouping: (i) Championship Division (U-20) North, South, East, Central and Tobago. These schools compete for three (3) places in the premier division.
The Senior Division (U-20) is where schools vie to be promoted to the Championship Division in their zones. The other zonal groups are Under 16, Under 14, Form 1 (U-13), Girls U-19, and Girls U-15.