9 Jun 2011

Ever since the start of the rugby league revolution in Jamaica, Kingston has been at the forefront of activity. This tradition continues in 2011 with the establishment of two new teams, the Maxfield Park Star Steppers and the Denham Town All Stars Rugby League clubs.

The Star Steppers are situated in one of Kingston’s toughest inner city communities, Maxfield Park. They share grounds with the Maxfield Park football club, a promising organization that helped turn a dusty park into a relatively green area for the community children to play and sports to develop.  The president of the football club is Mr. Jenkins, he believes rugby league can further positively impact the lives of the young men who live in the community, “I support the rugby league initiative because all sports helps to keep our young men out of trouble and up lift our community”.

The driving force behind the Star Steppers is a quiet 20-year-old, Nicholas Wright. Wearing the cap of founder, chairman, coach, water boy and player, he has undertaken a level of responsibility that will be sure to test his resolve and capabilities over the coming years.  He is employed as a security officer and his modest income is bound to feel the burden of purchasing white lime; securing transport for players; providing refreshment and all the other small necessities his team needs on match days. Most of the players are between 17-24 years old, and like many Jamaican youths in that age group living in the inner city, they are unemployed.

As Nicholas explains, it is for this reason he extends himself is to make a difference in their lives through sport.  “Rugby league will help keep my players from violence and it gives them something to look forward to. We enjoy it, even though we are not professionals, we want to see rugby league get bigger and grow throughout Jamaica and we are contributing in our own way.”

He goes on to explain, “Maxfield Park is known throughout Jamaica as a tough inner city garrison, but now, we want it to be  known in a positive light, as a rugby league community. We want to overcome the challenges the youths face in their daily lives such as unemployment and so on, our aim is to be the best club on the island. For us, the sky is the limit.” When asked why he has taken the task of starting a club Nicholas said, “I want to see rugby league get bigger, and this is my contribution. I have always dreamed of playing professionally and by contributing with building a team, one day my dream may be realized. I work 12 hours a day, sleep for four hours, and spend the next eight hours doing rugby league and personal chores. I want to give the youths in my community hope, that’s why I am doing this too.  I wanted my first club since I was 18, I choose  rugby league because I think it  promotes discipline, it’s also a fast growing sport that has a lot to offer my players and my community, the sky is the limit. We are a brotherhood, it is about family. My only wish is that we get some support from corporate sponsors or individuals who want to assist in our growth, we might not have a lot, but we have ambition to be the best club in Jamaica.

So far the Star Steppers have given a good account of themselves on the field, they have played all  four fixtures to date in the Kingston & St Andrew’s Championship, and although suffering consecutive defeats, there is abundant talent present in the team and National and Caribbean Development Manager, Romeo Monteith has taken notice; “The Star Steppers possess some of the best foot work you will see on a rugby league field, they are super fast and super fit, I have seen quite a few players who would add to the national team and at least two of their players have been selected for the Canada international on July 31st. I am very proud of what Nicholas has achieved in a short time.