Miami triumph for aspiring little pros

Six aspiring Under-11 footballers traveled to Miami two weeks ago to compete in the Third annual Miami 3v3 Challenge at Tropical Park.

It consisted of over 80 teams, and it was intensely competitive.

In five games Cayman outscored their opposition 52 to 17, dominating in the final, winning 12-3 against the Under-12 Tropical Reds.

As a result of this victory they are invited to attend the National Championships in July at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando Florida, which should have between 300-400 teams.

In addition to demonstrating advanced football skills, the group also exhibited grace and sportsmanship in victory, providing the Cayman Islands with great representation.

Representing Cayman were, Ryan Burke, Hunter Ebanks, Coilin Flynn, Cline Glidden, Jagger Hope and Daniel Smith.

Altogether this group represents two club teams and four schools. After playing each other throughout the year, the tournament was a welcome opportunity to play together and renew friendships.

The majority of the group are all veterans of the 3v3 format. Although all under 12, collectively the group has 17 years of experience in the 3v3 format and this came to the forefront as the tournament proceeded.

The 3v3 game is played on a smaller field with 6 by 4 goals, with three players per side, no goalkeeper and unlimited substitutions.

The format emphasizes ball handling skills, passing and teamwork. The speed of the game is fast, requiring both stamina and the ability to think quickly on your feet, providing both a both physical and mental challenge to the players.

The team had been practicing under the guidance of coach Cline ‘CG’ Glidden for several weeks prior to the tournament and included practice games against another Cayman team representing the Elite Sports Club led by coach Ardin ‘Cheeky’ Rivers who also entered in the tournament and came officially third but technically second because Tropical Reds were overage.

Flynn from Scholars and Cayman Prep provided a calming influence with his command and vision of the field. A relative new comer to the group, he fitted in seamlessly.

Representing CIS and Future; left footed Hope, contributed timely goals with his footwork in close quarters around the goal, while Smith, prowled the midfield with his characteristic intensity, always ready and willing to counter whatever physical play his opponent threw at him.

From GCA and Scholars; Glidden supplied endless energy, goals and a perpetually upbeat personality, while Burke was a mainstay in defense with impeccable timing and positioning, along with a quiet confidence.

Finally the rookie of the group, Ebanks from Triple C acquitted himself very well at the age of nine, and by tournament’s end had perfected the art of the ‘one-timer’.

A 3v3 tournament to be held in Cayman next year is in the planning stage and the team is looking forward to taking on all local challengers. Anyone interested in sponsoring the Team should contact Gloria Glidden on 938-5983.