Football in Saint Lucia

  • As there has been much confussion here and in other databases, I want to take a closer look at the local football scene in Saint Lucia. What makes Saint Lucia special is their large tradition of district representive football. A nationwide inter-district championship was even held before a nationwide club championship. With "districts", we should be aware that football districts are meant and not the current 10 political districts are meant, neither the political subdivisions, as the football districts have grown differently. This can be originated to former historical (political) districts or the higher growth in populated centres, which may can lie between two political districts or inside one political district. So, let's take a look at

    Saint Lucia's 19 football districts
    listed in geographical order starting in the north and going south-west bound around the island
    Gros Islet
    Babonneau
    Mabouya Valley
    Dennery
    Mon Repos
    Micoud
    Desruisseaux
    Vieux Fort North
    Vieux Fort South
    Laborie
    Choiseul
    Soufrière
    Canaries
    Roseau Valley
    Anse La Raye
    South Castries
    Central Castries
    La Clery
    Marchand

    All these 19 football districts have own representive teams competing in various competitions. In first place the SLFA (Saint Lucia Football Association) runs the "Island Cup" which is a league format in two divisions with promotion and relegation and knock-out finals for the top4 of each divisions. Besides this league format, the district representive teams play a knock-out tournament called "Blackheart Tournament", besides the proper Blackheart Tournament, there is often a "Blackheart Big8" Cup, too (somehow compared to a "league cup" in other countries).

    Tournaments for District teams:
    1st tier: SLFA Island Cup Premier League (league format + play-offs for top4)
    2nd tier: SLFA Island Cup Super League (league format + play-offs for top4)
    Cup: Blackheart Tournament
    (Super) Cup: Blackheart Big8

    Now, coming to the proper club football. Each of the 19 districts is running its own league, too. It can be compared a bit to Brazil's league system, because the clubs competing in the 3 Lucian nationwide leagues are still competing in their district leagues at the same time.

    Nationwide club competitions in Saint Lucia
    1st tier: SLFA 1st division (league with 10 clubs)
    2nd tier: SLFA 2nd division (league with 10 clubs)
    3rd tier: SLFA President's Cup
    The President's Cup is a promotion tournament based on a group stage and a knock-out phase for districtal clubs aplying for a nationwide division. Back in 2018 when there wasn't a 2nd division, the President's Cup was the 2nd tier to determinate the promoting teams to the 1st division. Back in 2015 when there hadn't been a 1st division league, the President's Cup was even at the 1st tier.

    So, this is the proper club football. Note that there a further football tournaments running on the island. Like the SLHTA (Saint Lucia Hospitality and Tourism Association) is running an own Championship Cup where for example Delon Neptune was playing for Coconut Bay "Hard Nuts" when getting selected for the national team in 2018. Of course, this competition runs besides the actual club football and the district football.
    Another example is the commercial league, which had been played in the mid 2000s by companies' teams, called the "Lucozade Sport-Commercial League Football Championship" in 2007.

    Youth national teams
    In order to give the young players more game time and prepare them as team for the CONCACAF competitions, the SLFA is sending regularly the u17 and u20 national team in the 2nd tier of either the club league or the district league.

    National team players in all divisions
    Having no proper professional structures inside the club competing in the nationwide (club) leagues and the bigger coverage the players receiving in the district selections (the district leagues having the same amount on matchdays like the proper club league), several players are staying at their local clubs regardless if these play 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier or even no nationwide level at all, and still get picked for the national team.

    What's next?
    In order to advance the local club football the government (The Ministry of Youth Development and Sports) and the SLFA are planning to launch a semi-professional league this january, which is set to kick off the next 3 months. I don't know in which way they want to promote this "semi-professionalism", if they either want to empower the SLFA 1st Division clubs, so that they can purchase the best players from the island (and abroad), or if they want to push the district teams, or if they run a full commercial league again like the "Lucozade Sport-Commercial League Football Championship" in 2007, or if they start a complete new league with complete new franchise teams. We will see.

    Mistakes often happen to international databases
    I would focuse on the actual club football, rather than the district representive teams. So do other databases as well. A mistake, I frequently observed here on this site, and on other websites as well, is that only the district representive team of a player ist known, and then the player is assumed to be part of the major club from his district (or the only club we have in the database). For example, most player from Anse La Raye district team, have been listed as "Young Stars" players. In the last days, I correct a few to "1987 All Stars" which was the Anse La Raye club they actually played for. So it seems all "Anse La Raye"-players had been set to "Young Stars" by default. I did observe the same for "Mabouya Valley"-players to "Rovers United", "Dennery"-players to "White House", or in a lower amount "Micoud"-players to "Pakis FC". I have corrected, what I did found, but I am quite sure there are still further such mistakes, so the ones of you following the Lucian club football on district level will surely find further corrections regarding the actual clubs. Another problem are namesakes clubs, having clubs from different districts with the same or similiar names. Like we have Rising Stars from Desruisseaux district, competing in the 2nd division in 2014, but now we have also another club in Soufrière called Rising Stars, after Ghetto Stars YO changed their name into Rising Stars in 2016. We also have "All Stars" clubs all around the island in various districts. Namesakes can also be abroad, like we have "Helenites FC" in Micoud district as well as abroad in the US Virgin Islands where "Helenites SC" is based with a strong Lucian connection.
    So, we have to be careful when setting the players' clubs.

  • Post by AlexisAlexandrou (May 28, 2024 at 9:11 AM).

    This post was deleted by the author themselves (May 28, 2024 at 9:11 AM).