If ever a Caymanian was born to play football it has to be Charlo McLean.
He is the only son of dad Elbert who happens to be Cayman’s national Under-15 coach.
So far in his 15 years, Charlo has not disappointed.
He’s been scoring heavily for every team he’s played for since primary school and next week will captain the U-15 side at the Caribbean Championships in Trinidad.
Charlo, all facial hair, manly build and adolescent scowls, looks older than he is – and plays like it too. His physical advantages helped hit the net 48 times last season, including five for the men’s team and six for the U-19s. A mixture of genes, dedication to training and dad’s influence has ensured Charlo continues toward their ambition of getting a scholarship into an American college in a couple of years’ time.
Elbert has no doubt Charlo won’t achieve at least that.
‘I’m hoping he will be good enough to be a pro in Europe,’ he said. ‘He certainly has the talent and dedication. Apart from his natural ability, he uses both feet well and is very skilful and tricky. I’ve helped get five boys’ scholarships to the States in the past and think Charlo can at least do that. My only criticism is that with his physique he sometimes goes for power instead of finesse.
‘Charlo will be carrying the weight of the team on his shoulders in Trinidad and I believe he can do it. He was there last year as an under-age player and gained a lot of experience from that. Now he’s in his own age group he will do better.’
Elbert has certainly ensured the team is properly prepared for the trip on 15 August, having nurtured their skills since primary schools. Besides the standard training methods, he has them running on the beach twice a week and aerobics in the sea, all designed to build up their legs and break up the monotony of just running around a pitch.
Naturally, Elbert ensures that his son doesn’t skip training and his diet is always correct.
‘Charlo is very good with his diet; only has maybe one burger a month and eats all the right foods. I don’t have sodas in my house. Often at weekends you can find most of the squad at my house eating.’
Charlo certainly seems focused enough. He hit 37 goals for Bodden Town in the U-16 league last term and team mate Kareem James got 30.
‘I put a lot of effort into my training,’ he said. ‘My favourite team is Manchester United and I admire Cristiano Ronaldo and Robinho who plays for Real Madrid. Their discipline, passing and skills are what I really like.’