Team takes aim at US tournament

The St. Ignatius U17 girls’ football team will be competing in an upcoming tournament in the United States. The Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament VIII will be held at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida 28 June to 3 July 2006.

The tournament is open to all boys and girls age 17 and younger. Teams from around the globe are expected to compete. The event is sanctioned by the two major US governing bodies, the FYSA (Florida Youth Soccer Association) and USSF (US Soccer Federation). Team trophies and individual medals will be presented to the winning teams.

‘Playing in the tournament will allow the girls to develop moral character and become better citizens,’ says team coach Olsen Bush, ‘This will be good to introduce them to what they may encounter later when they go on to play at the collegiate level.’

Mr. Bush was very keen on the need for female football players to play in the upcoming tournament.

‘It can truly be a beneficial experience for them as they become technically sound at playing to a higher standard. Exposure to the standard of football they need to be playing at, will serve as inspiration for them to work even harder at improving their game.’

The team is a rising force in the U17 girls’ football league. The girls were able to advance to the recently-held league finals in spite of that fact that they only started training together last September.

Mr. Bush offered these views on his team’s current level of performance.

‘It is commendable based on the short time they have been playing football. However, I am aware that they are not at the level they should be. Nevertheless, the team has tremendous potential and is playing exceptionally well right now.’

Mr. Bush is cautious about any predictions regarding his team’s play in the tournament.

‘It’s not possible for me to say how we may place in the tournament, but more importantly I am confident it will be an invaluable experience. I know the team will compete fiercely but the greatest thing we can achieve will be the exposure to a high level of football and the opportunity to learn.’

The team is currently on a fundraising drive to cover the expenses of the trip. They have gotten involved with food sales, babysitting and sponsored activities among other things. The team is also seeking sponsorship from any business or individual.

Mr. Bush addressed the necessary presence of the community in supporting his efforts.

‘Support for our team is also support for the development of Girl’s Football in Cayman, which is a very worthy cause. By supporting us, people are not just rallying behind the team but also the football community as a whole. With that in mind, companies can show themselves to be good corporate citizens by backing us.

‘I feel that the tournament is helping to support the development of football in Cayman. Therefore, whatever we gain from the tournament will benefit the whole football community as well.’

According to Mr. Bush, the tournament can have a significant, positive effect on the quality of women’s football in Cayman.

‘We intend to share our experiences with the Cayman football community including players and coaches. In this way we hope to prepare our local players for the future.

‘We want to bring about an awareness of what is required to compete at the international and collegiate level. Playing in tournaments like this is one way to achieve this. The more exposure we provide our athletes, the more they learn and the higher the standard of women’s football in Cayman.’

For more information contact Mr. Bush at 916-5556.

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