West Bay’s Future Sports Club has sent a teenage footballer to England for a try out with a professional club.
This is another step closer to the ambitions of coach Roy Huta Ebanks who wants to provide professional players to teams all over the world.
Courtney Duval, 16, has got the trial with Rushden and Diamonds Under-20 team in Northamptonshire. He is there this week being put through his paces.
One of the Future players had alerted Duval to a chance for the academy try out so he went on the club’s website and signed up for a trial.
He is paying for his own fares through family contributions and kind sponsorship by Ardin Rivers of Fire Extinguisher Pros, Jeffrey DaCosta of Paint Pros and Merlin Seymour of S & S Bobcat.
‘I’m very excited,’ said Duval. ‘I’ve been working very hard. I’ve been playing since I was eight in primary school. I play centre midfield and right-wing and I’d like to be a pro one day and play for Manchester United. My favourite player is Andriy Shevchenko.’
Duval was one of five Future players good enough to recently go to Atlanta for specialist training.
‘It was very hard,’ he said. ‘We were there for four days, the sun was very hot and we trained four times a day.
‘It was at Ralph Lundy’s Soccer Academy. We did pretty well. Damien Williams went to the semi-finals but lost. The rest of us went to the quarter-finals.
‘If I don’t get in at Rushden I’ll just come back and try harder.’
Paul Brown, 17, is a midfielder or left-back. ‘I enjoyed the trip to Atlanta. Improved fitness was the main thing I got out of it. The coaches were very good, mostly American and one Trinidadian.
‘I want to be a pro. I don’t mind which team, I just to leave Cayman!’ Brown is a Barcelona fan and his favourite player is Ronaldinho who has just left Barca for AC Milan.
Demion Williams, 15, is a left back and midfielder. ‘I want to go professional and play for Arsenal,’ he said emphatically. ‘Thierry Henry is my favourite player but I don’t model myself off nobody.
‘I had a good season with Future, scored five goals and the first season I scored three.
‘Coach Huta teaches us a lot of respect and he gives us a lot of work to make sure we’re fit and ready for our game.’
James Ebanks, 16, must be the most versatile player in the team. Apart from keeper, he has played in virtually every outfield position as well. He too would like to be a pro.
‘I think I can become a professional because I have the ability to work hard and train for long periods.’
Mark Ebanks, 17, is one of the best teenage strikers on the island. He’s in this week’s Cayman Under-20 squad to play in the World Cup qualifiers.
He said: ‘Our recent trip to Tampa got us more fit for the upcoming matches against Bermuda, Jamaica and St Martin. We did intense training.
‘It helped us bond as a team. My room-mates, I never used to talk to but now we’re closer.’
Last week the five youngsters were training at the Future camp at the Town Hall field along with many other kids from the area. Girls as well, enjoyed the camp which was run by Huta and a number of coaches including Thiago Cunha.
Huta feels the five that went to Atlanta are in the top level of Cayman’s youth football, especially Ebanks and Duval. ‘The rest are also good,’ he said but I think these two players have a hunger to succeed.
‘All of them work hard and are dedicated to improving themselves in the game. They’re a coaches dream.’
Huta feels Duval has an excellent chance to do well at Rushden. The trip to Atlanta had as head coach Bertille St Clair the former coach of the Trinidad national team. ‘St Clair ran the elite programme and my boys were under his tutelage.
‘Duval stands an equal chance and maybe better than some boys out there. I hope he makes it so that it can open the doors for other kids aspiring to do the same, not just in England but other academies in Europe, US and South America.
‘To get the kids into academies, I think is the only way we are going to develop the standard of football on this island.’
Huta added: ‘I want to make a big reference to an anonymous contributor towards the Atlanta trip. Future Sports Club is full of gratitude to individuals like that and we hope other companies and sponsors will see that we are putting money into the development of our human resources. I don’t think there could be money better spent.
‘I would especially like to thank Cable & Wireless for sponsoring our football camps here.
‘Here in West Bay there is a great challenge to keep these kids out of social problems – like getting shot – and I and Future can’t do it alone. It takes the whole community, plus the whole country.’