Iris Centeno Appointed Director of National Sports Council, Receives Honor from San Juan/Cowpen Community

Iris Centeno Appointed Director of National Sports Council, Receives Honor from San Juan/Cowpen Community

Iris Centeno: she’s the new Director of the National Sports Council who’s planning to shake things up in Belize’s sporting sector. Centeno is no stranger to sports and was appointed to the post last month after her predecessor Ian Cal resigned. Centeno has had a long career in the sport of football, and her passion and drive recently resulted in her name being immortalized. Two weeks ago, the villagers of San Juan/Cowpen chose to name their newly renovated football pitch in her honour. Centeno says she has been advocating for a better facility for the villagers for some time and was extremely elated when she found out her community chose to show their appreciation. 

Iris Centeno, New Sports Director: “We’ve been working very hard to get the field in better condition. So from since 2018, well I grew up playing at Cowpen right? So I always told myself that if I had the opportunity to find ways to better the condition of the field, I will try to do so. So I started to be very active in the community, trying to help assistance from friends and everyone. So the first time that I tried to actually fix the field, I gathered $3,000, but I had no idea then that it was nothing. It’s a female, new to this type of stuff. So I was excited to tell everyone, we’ll fence the field. Then I found out that I was just able to do one side of it. So I continued to push for it for the project, and I said, you know what, I can’t stop. And that’s how people started to support me and started to push for it and then we we got the light of course there through the Ministry of Sports and then the fencing happening when I was not here and a big surprise from our chairman. I wasn’t expecting it. He was like, Iris I have a surprise for you so make sure you’re online. Make sure you tune in. So when he announced that I was going to name it it’s very touching because most of the times you wait until someone dies for you to tell them thank you. I appreciate that the chairman and my community, this is the big effort I’ve been doing for me empowering girls, changing the direction of their life is very important. I made a mistake, I dropped out of school when I was 16 and I was able to redeem myself and if I can help other girls to do the same thing, I will try my best to do so.”

Reporter: How excited are you to play on the field? 

Iris Centeno, New Sports Director: “Well, that’s my number one thing. I love playing, I love sports. Well, actually I’m very excited to start to go around attending this event, support all the sports that I can. Every sport for me is important because it gives the opportunity to the athletes in our country. Sometimes we tend to celebrate when maybe a team falls or stops existing, but we don’t realize that athletes are losing the opportunity to be active and doing what they love.”

Centeno also broke barriers when she was named the first-ever Female Head Coach of the Women’s National Football Team.

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