Cedric Hazelwood is the Founder and President of the Laventille United Sports Club. He is a Community Ambassador and a passionate UNC Supporter. He has spent many years elevating the youth of Laventille through Sport and through love. This is his story.
Laventille United Sports Club- The Origin Story
In 2006-2007, after witnessing young persons brandishing firearms, running through the streets of St. Barbs Laventille, Cedric Hazelwood was deeply motivated to stop those youths from following a life of crime and drugs.
“I simply wanted to make a difference.” said Cedric.
He approached the Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago and was able to get funds to start a ‘lil’ small goal tournament on the St. Barbs basketball court. Cedric immediately rounded up 12 teams from Laventille, and organised this tournament which ran for 3 months. At the end of the tournament, he realised that a lot of youths had genuine talent. Not wishing to see this talent to go to waste, he decided to start a little ‘old ball’ with 8 guys at Sogren Trace and it developed from there.
“I was hoping to help reform the youths of Laventille; affording them better opportunities through Sport, giving them a higher sense of self-esteem and assisting in programs like academics. I would like to see persons from Laventille playing at a national level on the national teams.” Cedric exclaimed.
The club soon grew to over 100 kids who came off the streets of Laventille. By 2007, 3 football teams had developed and the club was registered as the “Laventille United Football Club”. In 2008, the club was re-registered as “Laventille United Sports Club”, as girls had now come on board and 3 netball teams were active.
Funding, uniforms and transport soon became major challenges. Proposals sent to government and private organisations provided a little assistance, but transport remained a major hurdle. In 2014-2015, the Inter-Agency Task Force through The Hearts and Minds Foundation came to the rescue by providing police buses to transport the kids. The CEO of Miscellaneous Marketing Limited, Mr. Sham Mohammed, became the full sponsor of the club in 2016, which was then renamed to “Miscellaneous Laventille United”. Mr. Mohammed continues to support the entire club with uniforms, transport and registration fees. Under his patronage, a senior team was developed.
“We had 3 players who played on the national teams, from under 11, under 12 and under 15. Our senior team qualified for the super league. We had 2 youths from our club who went on a representative national team in an under 10 world cup. Those are some very proud moments in the club’s history.” Cedric beamed with pride.
In 2015, the club took 41 kids and 5 parents to Barbados for 8 days, to play in a Caribbean tournament. This was another great moment for Laventille.
When asked what the Government can do to help the club, Cedric responded that they can provide programmes and academics to educate the kids; and also provide transportation and funding to assist with the needs of the club.
As delinquency, teenage pregnancies and violent crime continue to ravage the community of Laventille, Cedric hopes the club will always be a place where kids can come to socialise with others of the same age, and to get involved in positive activities.
UNC: Making a Difference in Laventille
“I wanted to vote to for a change, and I did it silently and quietly.”- Cedric Hazelwood
Cedric Hazelwood was born into a PNM family, but converted to UNC because he wanted ‘change’. Despite Laventille being a PNM stronghold, he never experienced any abuse for supporting the UNC. He fondly remembers filling 2 buses with his players and members of the community to attend a UNC rally in Constantine Park. At that time, Brent Sancho was the Minister of Sports.
As a role model and community ambassador, he tries to keep the club separate from politics to avoid disputes and heated political arguments. Cedric suggests hosting more community-based social events to foster peace and respect, and to break down racial barriers. However, he recognises that this kind of socialising would be impossible at this time with the Covid-19 restrictions in place, but looks forwards to when it can be done.
“I actually know that there is a lot of UNC supporters in Laventille. I actually know that.” says Cedric.