Belize's MCC Garden and action packed football!
Memories run wild, and nostalgia haunts the Belizean football lovers, in remembering the knockout football tournaments at Belize's most popular football stadium of the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s golden age of Belizean sports, the "MCC Grounds" also called, "The Garden"!
The Marylebone Cricket Club Grounds (MCC Grounds for short) is a Belizean football stadium, located on the Northside of Belize City, Belize.
It has traditionally been the homefield of all Belize City clubs that participate in national and international competitions. It is currently being occupied by FC Belize of the Premier League of Belize (PLB).
It also plays host to primary school and high school football competitions.
The Grounds opened in the 1950s on the site known as the Barracks and was named after an English cricket team (Belize was a British colony). The MCC has since played host to numerous matches between City teams and visitors in the Belize Premier Football League, now the Premier League of Belize, and competitions sponsored by UNCAF and CONCACAF.
Cricket is alive and well and being played (a lot) in rural Belize, ie along the Belize River between the major highways from Belize City, in the villages of Ranchito, Doublehead Cabbage, Bermudian Landing, Isabella Bank. Lemonal, Flowers Bank, Crooked Tree and Lords Bank. And there's even a team from Belmopan.
LET'S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT FOOTBALL (soccer)
by Hector Silva
WELL, LET'S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT FOOTBALL ( soccer). My favorite Sport and pretty good at it, DEM SAY. .
I began playing football, when I was about seven years old. - We played with anything that was ROUND. - Tennis Balls, Grape Fruits, Oranges, Limes, and my favourite one was, PIG BLADDER wrapped with raw rubber from the Trapiche Savannah. - Favorite because it bounced better than the others.
What about the leather ones, - Sh Sh, this was during World One II. Leather was scarce. But we played hundreds of games with these marvelous Round objects.
Then I went to college in Belize City, where number 5's balls were avilable.
My speed was tremendous I was told.- My maneuvers pretty good and my punch kick acceptable.
So Mr Lucy, SJC football coach invited all those in interested to join the SJC Foot ball selection. We met at the old barracks grounds MCC ( Bariks, ) - We ran, we kicked the ball, we head the ball and many other antics for about five sssions.
The following week, Mr Lucy notified those who was selected. I was Lucky to be on the list. AND MY FOOT BALL CAREER BEGAN. To cut it short, I played many seasons in Belize City competitions, against top teams like Preston, All Stars, Crimson, Excelsior, MYA, Police, British Army, Landivar, Unknown for Jack Lind.
SJC came out in Second Place to Preston by ONE point. - Thereafter I began to get invitations to play for City and District Teams, Eleven in all.- I also played for the Belize City Selection, The Cayo District Selection and the Stann Creek District Selection.
During my TEN years playing Football I Played against many teams local and Foreign. - Of significance were, The Cayo team defeating the Holiwood of Jamaica, Champion of the Caribbean, 3 to 0. -Then the Cayo Selection combined with a few Queen's Park Rangers players defeating some of Peten Teams and a Selection from Guatemala City 3 - 1. - And other teams like Aduana of Honduras and many Teams from British Ships and Chetumal.
I also played for the Great WD Eleven from the West which defeated the Holiwood of Jamaica, by 3 to 0, - then Champion of the Caribbean. I also played for the Non Pareil, Queens Park Rangers of Pomona 1955 - 56, 57. We defeated any team in sight, including the best that Belize City could offer at that time. (Yes, Belize has produced great teams, but not during this period.)
BUT MY MESSAGE HERE IS TO SAY THAT our teams today lack the ability to score goals. - They reach near the opposite side but freeze. This is something that coaches have to work on very serious.
Get players to practice the V's - Knife the Goal Posts, and Burn the grass. Get players to work the Wings more and the wings to work with the Forwards, ( Strickers. )
FOOTBALL is a game like a checkers game, TRY TO FOOL THE OPPONENT with sudden change of plays. - Combination is the art of the game, When the opponent thinks that you are there, you are actually else ware. ( I retired in 1958, when I entered the Political Arena.
Top photograph courtesy Sam Gentle
How many Belizean sports enthusiasts and football buffs watched the corner kick in the 1970s Belizean football explosion at the legendary MCC Grounds in Belize City from their side of the bleachers?
How many of you saw Maurice Jones bombed keepers from this side of the field as one of the best strikers and goal scorers Belize had ever seen?
How many of you did see "The Mugger" attack the goal and scored from the 18? I was too young to know!
How many of you saw Enrique Carballo bullet shots from the baseline here of the field?
How many of you saw Ricky Gongora left foot canons smoked keepers while you sit glued to the bleacher seats before jumping up shouting "goal"!
How many of you have seen Garrincha Adderley play his wizard midfield ball at the famous MCC Garden?
How many of you have seen the Belizean football superstars from the districts across Belize played outstanding football on "The Garden"?
How many of you have seen your 1960s and 70s favorite Belizean strikers and defenders attack and protect the goal post from this angle while watching the games with a happy or sad heart that your team had win or lose?
How many of you have had your heart broken at the MCC Garden football madness!