Saint Lucia First Division

Information

  • Name: Saint Lucia Football Association First Division
  • Founded: 1980
  • Number of Teams: 10
  • Level on Pyramid: First

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Brief History and League Structure

The Saint Lucia FA First Division (previously known as the SLFA Gold Division) is the top division of football in Saint Lucia, an island country in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary of the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Lucia is part of the Winward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles and is sandwiched between the French island of Martinique to its north and the island of Saint Vincent to its south, with Barbados to the island’s southeast.

The league has been contested since 1980 with Dames FC being declared the first football champions of an independent Saint Lucia. This comes just one year after the Saint Lucia Football Association was founded and the country gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

The league only has a short league campaign with teams only playing each other once to have a nine-game league season, with games played in the summer months. The winners of the SLFA First Division qualify for the following season’s CFU Cup (historically, they qualified for the Caribbean Club Championship) which will act as a new regional qualifying competition for the CONCACAF Champions League. The top continental club competition is set for an expansion of teams in 2024 and will have three spaces available for Caribbean clubs, with the top three performing teams of the CFU Cup qualifying for the new CCL format. There is also promotion and relegation in Saint Lucian Football with the bottom two teams in the SLFA First Division being relegated to the SLFA Second Division, and being replaced by the top two teams in the second tier.

Questions on the SLFA First Division

To find out more about Saint Lucia’s top league, we spoke to the superb Saint Lucian journalist Terry Finisterre. Terry has an excellent knowledge of, not only football, but sport in general and we are hugely grateful for him taking the time to answer our questions on the SLFA First Division. You can find the links to Terry’s social media accounts below:

Q. Firstly, what is the current state or performance of the league?

The league is ongoing, having started recently. The tournament is off to a strong start, despite poor weather. The teams have responded well to the restart of play at the national level, with several community leagues ongoing or recently concluded, and crowds have returned in force.

Q. Historically, which teams have been the most successful in the league, and which ones are the strongest currently?

Unfortunately, our record-keeping is not as nearly as strong as it could be, so I could not say who has the most club titles in Saint Lucia. However, I can tell you that Northern United from Gros Islet [a community near the northern tip of Saint Lucia] have been a powerhouse in the recent past. A bit further back, around the turn of the century, teams like Roots Alley Ballers from Vieux Fort [a town near the southernmost point of Saint Lucia] would have been amongst the standard-bearers for club football. Going deeper into our history, teams from Castries [the capital of Saint Lucia] such as VSADC (Vempers Sports Athletic Dramatic Club) and Nyah FC would have ruled the roost in the eighties and nineties. As of right now, Platinum FC from Vieux Fort have been champions for three years running, and they are off to a fabulous start this season.

Q. Which teams in the league are the most popular in the country?

Popularity tends to be specific to communities in Saint Lucia. For example, you won’t find folks from Vieux Fort or Dennery [some of the ten districts in Saint Lucia] following the fortunes of Monchy United [Gros Islet] or B1 [Castries]. But the rivalries between Platinum FC and Uptown Rebels in Vieux Fort, and between Northern United and the emerging Monchy United in Gros Islet have driven engagement in those two communities.

Q. What would you say is the league’s biggest game or rivalry of the season?

Those community rivals that I mentioned above. North-South derbies are interesting, but they don’t draw as much interest as two teams from the same area playing each other.

Q. Which game(s) would you consider to be the best of all time played in the league?

Sadly, I don’t get a chance to see all the games, as they are often played in remote locations. But going back to when the finals used to be played at Mindoo Phillip Park [a multipurpose stadium in Castries], 18 Plus of Dennery came up to Castries and won their only title ever, that was a massive day, and they had loads of fans travelling to the capital to cheer them on.

Q. Switching to the playing side of things, who have been the best players to have played in the league in its history?

Gregson President

I would actually have to opt for one of the players currently playing in the league as the best player in the league’s history, and that is midfielder Gregson President who plays for Platinum FC. He is in the middle of everything that Platinum FC does, and he is a significant part of their success.

Q. Likewise, who are the league’s most successful manager(s)?

For this question, I choose Denver Samuel who is the manager of Platinum FC.

Q. In your opinion, who would you regard as the best player(s) currently playing in the league?

As previously mentioned, this has to be Gregson President.

Q. Which players have the potential to become excellent or important players in the league in the near future?

Tev Lawrence

Tev Lawrence of Monchy United. He is 23 years old and has already made the Saint Lucia national team squad. He has also played semi-professional football in Trinidad and Tobago for Morvant Caledonia United and his team, Monchy United, are very much on the rise. The Elva boys, Riquelme and Saviola are also hoping to follow in the family tradition – their father (Titus Elva, striker who scored 17 times for Saint Lucia in 28 appearances between 1995 and 2008) and uncle (defender Oliver Elva) both played for Saint Lucia, whilst their older brother, Caniggia Ginola Elva [25-year-old midfielder] currently plays as a professional in Germany for FC Ingolstadt 04. Although he was born in Saint Lucia, he has played for the Canadian Under 23’s national team [and was named in Canada’s preliminary roster for the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup].

Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the league in the future?

The Football Association has been working diligently towards establishing a semi-professional league on the island. The league would be based on a district format, as opposed to clubs. The club competition would remain, but the semi-professional league would be the premier tournament on the island. Though discussion has been ongoing for years, the stated intention is to launch in 2023.

A massive thank you very much to the brilliant Terry Finisterre for answering our questions on the SLFA First Division and Saint Lucian football in general. Remember you can find his excellent social media accounts in the links mentioned previously.

If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at the94thmin@gmail.com, send a message to the author at @Gareth19801, or the editor @The94thMin on Twitter.

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