The sweetest left foot in junior football on Grand Cayman belongs to a 13-year-old.
Mark my words, this kid is good. He may only be knee high to a grasshopper, but here size belies ability. Wesley Robinson eventually wants to play for Manchester United in the English Premiership – and who’s to say that he won’t make it as a pro? Maybe not for the Red Devils which is his ultimate ambition, but certainly a top club.
Cayman Islands will be well represented when the boy wonder turns out for the Under-15s next month in Trinidad at the Caribbean championships. The little striker is at Cayman Prep and although he is not 14 until September has already been playing seriously for years. Wesley started at the age of six and so fast has been his development he’s already turned out for Cayman Under-17 and 19s.
Mum Lanie McLaughlin is justifiably proud of little Wesley who is the eldest of four brothers. She was a regular in the women’s league for the Latinas and Naya and when motherhood took over directed her football energies into coaching and instilling that sporting love in her offspring.
‘Wesley is a natural striker,’ says Lanie. ‘He was third top scorer in the Under-16 league for Bodden Town so that shows how good he is. Because of my love for football I always had balls in the house, so even as a small child he would train. Once he had a ball to play with I didn’t worry because he would be happy.
‘Wesley’s dream is to play professionally in England and if he remains focused I believe he can do it. Two of my boys are Chelsea fans so when they play Man Utd there can be a lot of fighting. At least Wesley’s good at teaching them skills.’
Wesley is asthmatic but that hasn’t stopped him from excelling in athletics and learning to swim too. Lanie encouraged sporting activity to help build his lungs. He is very excited about playing abroad for the first time when the tournament starts in Port of Spain on 15 August. ‘I train every single day and would love to play in England,’ he says. ‘That’s my dream. My favourite players are Wayne Rooney for his goals and drive, he never gives up and Cristiano Ronaldo for his flair, pace and skill. I’m looking forward to playing in Trinidad because it’s my first football match abroad. I’ve been off- island for track and field but this is more exciting.’
Lanie is the U-15 team manager. She expects them to do better in Trinidad than last year when they went out early to Haiti. ‘It was our first time and we didn’t adapt to the conditions well. It rained in Trinidad a lot we didn’t have soft ground boots. Wesley’s new to the tournament but I expect him to adapt okay.’
Elbert McLean is one of the national youth football coaches and also Wesley’s Bodden Town coach. ‘Wesley’s heart is bigger than his size,’ says Elbert. ‘He has immense talent and can only improve. With the right guidance and management I believe he can make it as a pro. It’s pleasing that a boy of his age is already very focused about what he wants to do in life.’