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Tech works for BFA’s Soraya

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Tech works for BFA’s Soraya

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Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) players and competitions logistics manager Soraya Toppin-Herbert is a firm believer that technology makes life easier, and has proved that in her day-to-day duties.

Recently, she took some time out of her otherwise hectic day to sit down with NATION Y to discuss some of the daily processes and how technology has helped or would help in the execution.

“I am responsible for the national programmes in terms of everything administrative, which includes making sure everyone has a passport and visa for travel, making sure everything is ready for practice sessions and I deal with equipment management. I also handle all the logistics for tournaments and local games.

“When it comes to booking airfare, accommodations and transfers, I am responsible for it,” she explained, adding that she was also the manager for club licensing and dealt with international transfers that come into the Football Association (FA).

Toppin-Herbert said technology enabled her to be more efficient, having to manage so many different things.

“I won’t say I am very technological, but I do like when systems and processes are efficient. I think that was one of the biggest jumps for me coming back home. I am a big advocate for technology because it makes my life easier and less messy; papers aren’t my best friend and I prefer everything to be digital,” she said laughing.

The 25-year-old lived in the United States for nine years and completed her Master of Business degree at Purdue University in Indiana. She also has a master’s in sports management from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. 

Toppin-Herbert, who took up the post in June, noted the BFA had an online players’ registration system, which made her job easier, despite not having some processes digitised.

“We’re one of the few FAs in the Caribbean to have one implemented. When I need to look up information on players, it is already in our database and I don’t have to go digging through papers to find it,” she said.

The BFA is also trying to improve keeping track of national players’ medical records.

“Right now that information is not incorporated into the system we have. Creating a [Microsoft] Excel document or Access database that we can keep track of that information as time goes by is one of the things on my list of things to do,” she added.

While she admitted she had not had the time to implement any new systems since taking up the post, she said she felt as though she was constantly moving, but was looking forward to development where she could focus on the implementation of efficient systems.

Toppin-Herbert admitted that moving back to Barbados was a culture shock when she realised it was not as technologically advanced as the United States.

“Coming back to live full-time was definitely a transition, and for me a lot of it is just systems and inefficiency of how everything goes. It’s frustrating, especially after living in the States, where everything is so automated. Those types of things where everything has to be done on paper and then you have to stand in long lines is baffling,” she said, shaking her head.

Outside of her career, Toppin-Herbert, who is small in stature, is a midfielder for the University of the West Indies Blackbirds, who are in battle in the BFA’s Women’s Premier League competition. Last week she was judged Player Of The Week in the seventh week of competition.

“I got hurt earlier in the season and then with work I have been travelling, so I haven’t played as many games as I would like. I have played with most of the girls before I left to do my master’s degrees, so I know them, and I am looking forward to getting back out on the field and hopefully scoring some goals,” she said, smiling broadly. (RA)