Cayman’s youth football program is on the up and one of its teenage defenders hoping to go all the way to the pros is Donald ‘Naddy’ Solomon.
He played in the historic 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw against Bermuda three weeks ago and is bursting for the return leg to come on 30 March when they come to George Town. By then the Truman Bodden should have reopened and the stadium will be filled to the rafters with Caymanians hoping to see a historic passage into the next round. If Cayman win or get a 0-0 draw they’ll go through to face Trinidad and Tobago.
Bermuda had most of the possession and chances in the first encounter and it was Solomon who helped held the fort so gallantly to earn the prized draw. It wasn’t a flash in the pan either. He played brilliantly in central defense for Cayman’s Under-23 Olympic side in Cuba in September. One of the three matches he played was against Bermuda, who they held to another draw, 0-0. Coach Carl Brown singled Solomon out as one of Cayman’s heroes in that tournament.
Cayman had a short break before resuming intensive training at least four nights a week and still playing for their clubs at weekends. Naddy works at Home Gas and hopes one day to turn out in the Premiership. ‘I’d love to play in the English Premier League, that’s my dream,’ he said. ‘I support Manchester United and my favourite player is Wayne Rooney. I love how Ronaldo plays too, but Rooney, I just love how he plays, he’s so inspiring.’
In the meantime he’ll settle for George Town, one of the island’s top sides, who lost by a single goal to Roma in the Digicel Cup final last week. ‘I was really very upset about losing the final. We were expecting to win but I guess we went there with too much confidence and maybe took them too lightly.’
Solomon had a knee injury before Christmas. It’s still not 100 per cent and hopes it won’t need surgery. But it definitely won’t stop him playing against Bermuda. ‘I found Bermuda to be very talented. They had a good left midfielder. I had to do some work with him.
‘They could hold the ball with confidence. I played right back. I don’t mind being at the back, wherever the coach puts me is fine.
‘I started off a little bit shaky but afterwards, once I settled, it started coming. I’m very much looking forward to the second leg because I want to make history in Cayman.’