The Cayman Islands Football Association took the occasion of the just-ended International observance of Women’s Month in March to recognise women in football, especially three who have gone the extra mile in becoming leaders of their clubs.
Martha Godet is President of Elite Football Club; Avolyn Tatum is President of Academy Football Club; and Dena Thompson is Chairperson of Future Soccer Club.
‘It is refreshing to see women stepping forward and becoming leaders in sports, which have been traditionally dominated by men’, commented Jeffrey Webb, CIFA’s President. He noted that the three clubs compete in every level of CIFA league football, youth, women’s and men’s divisions. ‘What is so dynamic about these three women is the fact that they are developing their Clubs holistically.’
Responding to CIFA’s recognition of her outstanding achievement Martha Godet said, ‘I have been the President of Elite SC for only one year and my experience during this time has been mainly recruiting young players to compete in most of the competitions CIFA has out there.
‘The Club has grown tremendously over the past year in regards to working with our youth teams, however I feel that my major responsibility as a president is to focus on recruiting experienced people of quality and good character to assist with the development of these players by providing them good coaching skills and a fine role model’.
About her goals Martha said, ‘My objective is to build our club to be one of the most outstanding that there is in Cayman in regards to discipline, good character, responsible people and instil these values to our youth and on generations to come’.
For Avolyn Tatum, the first woman ever in local football history to take on the role of president, the post has had its ups and downs. ‘I have been president for the past four years and it is a challenging role, especially dealing with undisciplined players. But, the rewarding aspect is seeing youngsters earning scholarships from their football and academic skills, this is what keeps me going.
‘My desire is not just winning a competition cup but what we get out of the game at the end of the day, whether an opportunity to earn a scholarship or just becoming a well-rounded person, or simply a good team player’.
For Dena Thompson, of Future SC, it is more a matter of balancing the roles of parent and chairperson. ‘I have had the pleasure of being involved with Future since its inception in 1998. My son has played with Future from Year-4 of primary school and is still playing with them today. He graduates from high school this year, so my role has always been first as a parent of a player. Needless to say, I have always supported him and the kids in their games, and as a member of the Executive Committee of Future.
‘I have been chairman for the past two years and I don’t think there are a lot of women chairs in the league. I am also very fortunate to have an executive committee in Future that is very experienced and supportive.
‘I believe a woman in what is typically a man’s world is always a difficult role to be in but I think I hold my own. I did not “jump” into this chairmanship but I have worked behind the scenes over the years as team manager and secretary and a supportive parent’.
‘In my dealing with teams/clubs/CIFA where there are predominately men, I have found that once you are confident, believe in what you are saying, and make a representation that makes sense, you will be paid attention to. It also helps that I am consistent in my views and opinions’.