According to Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) officials, plans are already in motion to establish the island’s first national U15 girls squad.
‘The idea for a national team came during last season of the women’s league. Once we got the OK from the [governing members of] CIFA, we went into action,’ says Manager of the proposed national team Bernie Bush.
The initiative is part of CIFA’s national programme for the development of all aspects of Cayman football.
‘[The creation of the national team] has been an ongoing program for CIFA. It is part of the present development of women’s football here in these islands,’ said Chairman of the Women’s Football Committee Al Bartice.
Try-outs for the team will be held the last weekend of July. The venue and time for the try-outs will be announced at a later date.
Admittedly, the majority of players are expected to hail from a select number of local teams.
‘Catholic, Elite Sports Club, George Town Sports Club and Future have the most youth talent. However, we are looking to get some players from other sports clubs as well. In any case, the try-outs are a public event and everyone is welcome to attend,’ Mr. Bush stated.
Reportedly, four or five coaches will be initially involved. As the program grows, the number of coaches is also expected to increase.
‘We will be about four or five coaches strong. We will be using the pro system with a manager and coaches working together. Eventually, we aim to get more local coaches involved,’ Mr. Bush said.
Mr. Bush went on to appeal to all local coaches to actively become engaged in CIFA’s efforts and submit players’ names to him.
The team’s formation is very much in the veins of the Cayman Islands Scholastic Football Association (CISFA). Mr. Bush, who is also a co-founder of the CISFA, stressed the level of attention coaches will give to the other areas of players’ lives.
‘Once we get the fundamentals [of football] done, we hope to teach the girls about attitude, team spirit and those sort of things. Players will work closely with coaches and parents so as to work around training with their clubs and school. School grades will also be monitored and expected to be at a certain level.
‘This program is not about clubs, it’s about something much bigger. It’s about country. We will be stressing to these girls how they ought to carry themselves as ladies.’
According to Mr. Bush, the women’s league has showcased some of Cayman’s best young talent. In his opinion, they will be the key for future success.
‘There are about 20 to 30 girls in the U15 [age bracket] that have the potential to go very far if they are serious. Many of the players I see now are exceptionally good.
‘With training, they can put Cayman football on the map. In three or four years, I feel roughly nine girls will play overseas in major, division 1 colleges.’
Mr. Bush went on to discuss his desire to see Cayman football gain international prestige.
‘I want our country to make a name for itself in our region. In a year or two, Cayman should be in the top-5 in the Caribbean. Jamaica, Trinidad, and Cuba are among the top teams right now. I intend for us to be in that mix.’
In addition, the CIFA has many plans in place for women’s football in Cayman. Among them is the notion of starting up a league specifically for girls under the age of fifteen.
‘We are also working on starting an U15 league in the future. We are aiming for sometime in September or October. I feel the U15 girls will lead to the rise of women in other age groups. Those girls will undoubtedly run the league and put Cayman on top,’ Mr. Bush commented.
Mr. Bush wanted to add one final comment.
‘This [national team] program is all-new. Cayman hasn’t had one like it before, but it’s getting it now. No other age group has this much talent.’
All interested persons are asked to contact Bernie Bush at 916-3169.