Cayman Islands football star Shakeina Bush is due to return home for a university break this week but she won’t do much resting. Bush has taken on the job of helping to organize and lead a football camp for Cayman’s female players.
The camp is scheduled to take place Nov, 24, 25 and 26. It is open to the top 24 players who fall between the ages of 11 and 15 years old and have been recommended by Cayman Islands coaches.
Bush will have help at the camp from her coach at Florida International University, ‘Sarge’ Edwards. Effie Dieke, a pro with the Atlanta Beat, and two more female coaches who will also assist.
At the camp, girls will be put into game situations and evaluated on their strengths and weaknesses.
Bush has had an up-and-down sort of season in her first year at FIU. The lowest point has been an injury but she has countered that disappointment with spurts of brilliant play for her team.
‘I have just completed my first season and I will not use a fractured leg or NCAA eligibility problems [she was hindered a bit by the usual international student paperwork woes] as an excuse, but neither myself or my coach was satisfied with my performance in the four or five matches I played in. This is one of the reasons for this camp. I know these young ladies in Cayman and I feel a lot of them are better than I was at their age. I want to make sure that in four years, when they are ready for college, they will be better prepared than I was.’
Bush says that the camp is not about clubs or districts; it’s about playing better football.
‘There have been too many petty things taking place in the women’s program here in Cayman and I am making sure to avoid that because I can see our program advancing so much because of the potential we have. I even see the possibility of us going ahead of the men’s program.
‘If this camp is successful and everyone sees it, the next step will to put in place a four-year plan that will include academics too. Different people have helped me achieve my dream of reaching where I am now and I promised my father that I would not wait until I have retired or quit the game to start to give back. Every time I come home for a break I will be working with theses young women because I would love to see them be able to carry their talent into bigger fields.’
Bush thanked CIFA president Jeffrey Webb for his support and the offer of equipment to work with. She alsos cited the help of Dalton Watler, Director of Sports, for allowing the use the Truman Bodden stadium from 4pm until dark every evening for the camp. Digicel, British American Insurance, Quik Cash, and Cayman Airways also provided crucial sponsorship.
‘I really hope the public will see the potential of this program and will step in and help young women achieve these long term goals that will also help us be productive citizens of this country.’