The 2006/2007 Primary Football League delivered an action-packed day of finals last Saturday at the T.E. McField Playing Field (Annex) in George Town. The day showcased a league that has become a vital component of the sport locally in just its second year. Funded by Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC), the league draws together Cayman’s primary schools in a positive competition designed to provide both fun and development. Organizer Neil Murray, a CUC employee and former Cayman Islands national team star, is pleased with the league’s progress. He believes it is money well spent by his employer.
‘This season far exceeded our expectations,’ said Murray. ‘We tried a new format this year that would allow all the teams to compete for a trophy, a champion’s trophy and a consolation trophy. It worked well so I think that’s the system we will use from now on.’
A rally scheduled for this Saturday will officially wrap up the 2006/2007 Primary Football League. The day will mark the end of the second year of CUC’s six-year commitment to fund the league. Murray says the investment is well worth it, given what he feels is a wealth of football potential in Cayman that deserves consistent nurturing and a proper stage to shine on.
‘We have some very talented youngsters here,’ he said. ‘There are some guys who are the mainstays of their teams, the guys who work hard and do their best, and then you have guys who are extremely talented. This league gives them all a chance to play.’
Murray says the Primary Football League stems from CUC’s president Richard Hew’s love for the game. Hew is also a former Cayman Islands national team player.
‘When he took over as president a few years ago, he decided to direct a lot of our sponsorship money into youth-oriented activities. He saw this league as something ideal for CUC to get involved with. He wants to help the sport develop in Cayman and he cares about our youth. We are thrilled with how well it’s turned out.’
Last Saturday’s turnout was typical for the league, drawing hundreds of parents out to watch their children chase football glory.
‘The feedback I have received has been great,’ said Murray. ‘The players and the parents seem really happy with the league and they like the new structure that allows everybody to have a chance to compete for something. We always get good turnouts, so we’re happy.’
Murray adds that the league provides an invaluable chance for Cayman’s youngest players to further develop their football skills and understanding of the game.
‘It’s good because kids start playing when they are 6 years old or so and they can really get into the game. When they finish here they can move on to [CIFA’s]under-13 league. The Primary Football League is a good preview of what’s to come for them.’
Despite the obvious hard and time-consuming work of volunteers who are necessary to make the league run properly, Murray says it’s a joy to be involved with the Primary Football League.
‘Oh, it’s fun,’ he added. ‘We do some refereeing and it’s great. I look forward to coming out here on a Saturday morning and being involved. It’s always rewarding.’
U-9 Consolation Cup:
St. Ignatius 0 vs . Red Bay Primary 1
U-9 Champions Cup:
John A. Cumber Primary 1 vs. Prospect Primary 0
U-11 Consolation Cup:
Cayman International School 3 vs. Truth For Youth 0
U-11 Champions Cup:
Prospec Primary 1 vs, Cayman Prep 0