Cayman recently saw the re-opening of a sports landmark in the Ed Bush football field.
Located in West Bay, the facility was named after a prominent member of the local football fraternity and has been the site of many football events.
The facility is being re-opened in time to host matches for the upcoming premier and senior leagues.
The field had been closed to the public the last four years due to ongoing renovations caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
With a FIFA-rated two star pitch, new grandstands, lights and concession area the facility is now back to its former glory.
During the re-opening last Saturday a number of games took place in the evening featuring some of Cayman’s past, present and future football stars.
Many members of Cayman’s football fraternity were out to engage in the festivities and take in a refurbished Ed Bush field.
Among them was Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour, Cayman’s national youth football coach and assistant technical director.
Seymour played in the masters game which featured the likes of Bernie Bush and other past, 40 years-plus football greats.
For Seymour the facility is up to the standard it should be at.
‘When I went for the coaching course in Trinidad some time ago I saw the same turf there. I did a soccer camp in Cayman Brac recently and the same thing was there too.
‘It’s a really nice and level pitch. There are no holes, bumps or anything like that. With the proper shoes people who love to dribble shouldn’t have a problem.’
Two other members of the football community who played alongside Seymour on the night were Elite FC Coach Gregory Ebanks and Scholars Coach Antonio Smith.
Both had similar feelings on the pitch.
‘The turf is very good,’ Ebanks said. ‘I’m really enthusiastic about the new look and it is good seeing interest from the government to invest in our sports facilities.
‘It’s long-overdue though I know it’s been government constraints why it couldn’t be done before. But still, it should have been done a long time ago because Ed Bush has the atmosphere to draw people in to watch.’
‘It feels good to be at home,’ Smith said. ‘Everyone remembers Ed Bush and that night brought back memories of the old Ed Bush days.
‘It felt and looked level and the cushioning is soft. You can really feel the difference compared to hard surfaces. The next day I didn’t have any problems with my ankles or knees like I do normally after playing a game.’
All felt the Ed Bush facility can have a positive effect on local football.
According to Seymour passing should be one of the main areas that sees improvement.
‘All the fields government are fixing [the Annex field in George Town was also recently renovated] should increase the level of play and passing. Any good turf should improve the standard of play.’
Coach Smith echoed those sentiments.
‘On Saturday I saw smoother, more accurate passing and the ball going where it was aimed. As the players get used to the field they will have better control of the ball, their basic football skills will get better and we should see better skill players across all three islands.’
For Coach Ebanks local football should now be able to attract more spectators.
‘In the long run Ed Bush can create better and more entertaining football in these islands. A better level of football should be seen from playing on level surfaces and in turn that can give motivation to the spectators to come out and watch the games.’
The next major game scheduled to take place at Ed Bush will be this weekend. Tomorrow at 7pm Scholars takes on Sunset as part of the Cayman Islands Football Association Premier League.
Among some of the bigger names in action for West Bay-based Scholars are Dwight Moxam, George ‘Lulu’ Smith and Andres Webb. Meanwhile Sunset are to be led as always by captain Tom Elliot.
Ultimately all are satisfied that the re-opening of Ed Bush is a step in the right direction.
‘I must thank Minister Alden and his ministry for improving our facilities in Cayman as they are solely needed,’ Seymour said. ‘Local football can only improve if the players and coaches take advantage of places like Ed Bush.’
‘I feel the right direction is being taken,’ Ebanks said. ‘There is only one way forward and that’s putting in the proper turf.’
‘Ed Bush was a member of the Scholars team and was a daddy to us,’ Smith said. ‘The district of West bay and the whole of Cayman knew who he was.
‘Seeing the facility named after him back up makes Scholars on a whole feel proud and happy.’