Organisers of the Cayman Islands Football Academy’s (CIFSA) national football camp are advising the public that registration is still open for all interested persons to participate in the one-week event, which will be held from 24th to 28th July at the Annex Field.
The camp, which is sponsored by Cable & Wireless’ bMobile, is organized in two sessions – the first from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, which is open to all ages and the second from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The second session is an ‘elite’ camp, and participation is by invitation only to persons who have been singled out as being high level players or who are seen to have the potential to be high level players.
Organised by CISFA co-founders, Darrel Rankine, Mark Scotland and Bernie Bush, the camp aims to be ‘a single common camp where the children can be coached together on the same ground.’
Director for the camp will be Everton ‘Sarge’ Edwards, Head Coach of the Women’s Team at Florida International University and a recognizable figure to Cayman’s footballers.
Mr. Edwards is credited with starting FIU’s women’s soccer programme from scratch in 1985 and has guided his Golden Panthers, as the team is known, to the 2000 Sun Belt Conference crown, 1993 Trans America Athletic Conference championship and an NCAA appearance, while competing in one of the nation’s toughest regions.
Last season, Mr. Edwards reached the 150-win plateau becoming one of only 36 active coaches with 150-plus wins, and is one of just seven coaches to compile that many wins at one institution.
Under his leadership, the Golden Panthers have earned national rankings four times and multiple individual honors including two All-Americans, seven all-region selections, 12 first-team all-conference selections and three Player of the Year recipients. Along the way, Mr. Edwards has been named conference Coach of the Year three times.
Every year, FIU not only assembles a solid team on the field, but also in the classroom. Last year, the Golden Panthers landed three players on the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll for having grade-point averages between 3.5 and 4.0, plus 11 more were honored on the conference Academic Honor Roll for grade point averages between 3.0 and 3.49. In 2002, the Golden Panthers finished with a 3.24 cumulative grade-point average, the highest of any sport at FIU.
Mr. Edwards began his coaching career as an assistant with the 1983 FIU men’s team. One year later, he was part of that programme’s second Division II national championship in three years.
Before taking the helm as coach, Mr. Edwards was a star collegiate goalkeeper. He played at Mercer (NJ) Community College, where he starred on the Vikings 1980 junior college national championship squad, losing just three games over a two-year career there. After transferring to FIU, he recorded 10 goalkeeper shutouts in 1981 and a 0.84 career goals-against average are both school records that still stand today.
Originally from Sheffield-Yorkshire, England, Mr. Edwards earned bachelor’s degrees from FIU in 1982 in criminal justice and computer science
Mr. Edwards will be accompanied by Shaun Gore, Chelsea FC Director for football in the community, who will attend three days of the camp. Chelsea FC is the English Premier League champions for the last two seasons. Other coaches from overseas as well as local coaches will be working along with Mr. Edwards and Mr. Gore.
‘The success of this initiative is greatly dependent on the involvement of the local coaches as well as parents, these are the persons that the young players interact with regularly,’ Mr. Edwards remarked.
The choice of coaching staff is an indication of the high aspirations that CISFA has for the camp’s development. ‘This is not just a summer football camp, this is an organization of committed members that is looking and thinking long term by establishing relationships with coaches, professional teams and universities in the USA and Europe,’ remarked Mark Scotland.
Mr. Edwards also noted that the camp provides the opportunity for the visiting coaches ‘to search for talented players and to track players with potential over the next few years.’
Persons interested in registering for the camp may do so at C&W stores at Galleria Plaza, West Bay Road, Anderson Square and Trinity Square or by calling 916-2625, 916-3169 or 916-2600.
About Cayman Islands Scholastic Football Academy (CISFA)
CISFA is a new organisation whose volunteers have a passionate love for the sport of football (soccer) and the development of young persons in the Cayman Islands. While the organisation is new, the founding members are no strangers to football and/or community service and have served in numerous capacities in these Islands.