Primary Football League Returns this Saturday

Following in the wake of some marvellous global football competitions, namely the FIFA U-20 World Cup in July, the FIFA Women’s World Cup in September and the always exciting UEFA Champions League and Euro 2008 Qualifying, the CUC Primary Football League (PFL) takes centre-stage as the 2007/2008 season kicks of this Saturday, October 20 island-wide. This marks CUC’s third year of sponsoring what has come to be the Island’s most entertaining football league and if this season is anything like the 2006/2007 season, fans of the ‘the powerful game’ are in for a special treat.

With 15 schools vying for the U-9 and U-11 titles, Saturday mornings for the next four months will be filled with joyous celebrations and heartbreaking losses as each player takes to the battlefield shouldering their school’s expectations. As in all sports, there are traditional ‘powerhouses’ who year-in and year-out perform at a consistently high level and finish in the top three or four – Prospect Primary, Cayman Prep, John A. Cumber Primary and St. Ignatius Prep immediately come to mind. Then there are those schools that fluctuate, playing well one season and fading the next. Finally, there are those schools that are just plain unpredictable. What will they do and where will they finish at the end of the season are just a few questions asked of these schools every year. The underlying factor shared among all 15 schools is that no matter whom they play or the conditions they face, they will always give 100% and leave everything on the field.

This season, the League will follow a similar format to the 2006/2007 season with schools divided into two groups, Group A and Group B. Regular season play will conclude on December 8 with the top four teams in each group advancing to the Champions Cup and the bottom three (or four as the

case maybe) advancing to the Consolation Cup. Playoffs begin on January 5, 2008 with the quarter finals, followed by the semi finals on January 12 and the big one – the finals on January 19. The 2007/2008 season will conclude with the traditional Closing Rally on January 26.

Many coaches find themselves in the unenviable situation of fielding a mostly inexperienced U-11 team as every two or so years, the group of players they’ve enjoyed success with have now graduated and moved onto high school. How will the younger players handle the pressure? Only time will tell, but as Craig Reid, head coach of the 2006/2007 U-11 champions Prospect Primary states, ‘We at Prospect Primary have been training hard and are excited to be defending our championship and look forward to a good season.’ In the spirit of sportsmanship, Coach Reid adds, ‘We wish all the teams good luck and invite everyone to come out and see the most exciting football in Grand Cayman.’ Well said Craig… very diplomatic. Loosely translated… ‘Come and get us if you can!’

The underachieving and oftentimes unlucky Red Bay Primary team are ready to take on the challenge and Antwan Seymour, coach of the U-11s, sums up his team’s aspirations by saying, ‘Come the start of the season, Red Bay will be ready to travel from east to west to take on the best.’

Finally, this could be the season for the upstarts following in the footsteps of the 2006/2007 U-11 Consolation Cup champions Cayman International School (CIS) and runners-up, Truth For Youth. Both were surprising finalists with Truth For Youth shocking everyone by defeating First Baptist and Grace Wesleyan on their way to the finals, before succumbing to a talented CIS team in the final. A very tranquil coach Orvin Palacio commented, ‘The 2007/2008 PFL season will be an interesting one for Truth For Youth to say the least as I am very confident that we will make a good account of ourselves this season.’ CIS’ Greg Simcoe simply praises his team’s preparations by saying, ‘The kids are all excited about another football season and have been practicing their little hearts out.’

As major sponsors, CUC wishes all the teams the best of luck during the upcoming season and emphasizes the joy of having fun… it’s only a game! We thank Progressive Distributors for their valuable contribution of a season’s supply of Gatorade for all the schools, and to ARCP, SAM’s Mobile Cleaning, Air Supply, Joey Ebanks, Double ‘G’ Ranch, FabriZone, PBJ&J Development Company Ltd., Fire Extinguisher Plus and Rohelio’s Car Wash for sponsoring t-shirts for players and coaches.

‘We especially thank the PFL supporters for being there to cheer on players and teams and we encourage those who have never been to a game to set your calendars for this and every Saturday morning,’ said Neil Murray of CUC. ‘Show your support for our future footballers as all who compete in ‘the powerful game’ are superstars.’

Be sure to check the Compass every Friday for the schedule of games and results from the previous weeks games.