Cayman had a goalkeeping specialist here recently who spread his wealth of knowledge to a group.
CONCACAF certified and Uhlsports sponsored goal keeping coach Paul Campbell was invited here by the Cayman Islands Football Association to conduct a keeper’s clinic.
He said that Cayman should make goalkeeping programmes a priority to enhance the development of the game.
Campbell is a former Jamaican national keeper and national goal keeper coach of the Reggae Boyz when they went to the France World Cup finals in 1998.
He recently completed a three week goalkeeping clinic on the island and was very critical of the poor response to the clinic which was very intense and free of cost.
CIFA in unison with Campbell has a long term vision to identify and develop goalkeepers ages 12 through 18 to provide the best custodians at the national age group teams.
Campbell in the short time demonstrated some of the best current training methods, coaching techniques and psychological development to produce goalkeepers for competition at the top level locally and ultimately internationally.
He pointed out that identifying this core of goalkeepers was a task as in the time that he spent here the keepers and prospective goalkeeper coaches who attended the clinic were probably representatives of maybe only three clubs out of several CIFA affiliated clubs.
‘There were six Under-12, zero Under-15, four Under-18, three Under-23 and two seniors as well as six goal keeper coaches in attendance. This sparse attendance is far beyond the reality of developing a proper core of goalkeepers,’ Campbell said.
‘To effectively have a feeder programme for the national programmes the following numbers are ideal; 14 Under-12, 14 Under-15, 10 U-18, six Under-23, and four seniors.
‘First and easiest is to observe the present teams at primary schools, high schools and clubs. The other options are tall field players – basketball, netball and flag football players.
‘As soon as these players are identified they should all be involved in a training cycle of two days a week during the football season and four to five days a week during holiday periods (Christmas, Easter, and summer).’
Campbell went on to point out that he has reserved an agreement with Uhlsports USA which will provide all equipment at a 25 per cent discount. Each participant should be equipped with a pair of gloves, pants, tights and a T-shirt.
‘In going forward with the development of goalkeepers CIFA needs to put in place a programme immediately with a trial period of six months. This would be a permanent programme which would be taken over by four identified Caymanian Coaches eventually.
‘The overall benefit of establishing this programme is immeasurable when you realize that at the end of two years there will never be a Caymanian national team that is forced to travel with just one goalkeeper. Every national team will have a core of eight keepers to choose from.
‘The goalkeepers on a psychological level will feel that they have been prepared to do a job and not just thrown out into the deep to learn how to swim.
‘Developing goalkeepers island wide (club and schools) will force your strikers to work harder at scoring and will improve football in the Cayman Islands overall.
‘In 1997, it was my brainchild while serving as Jamaica’s national goalkeeper coach to implement a similar programme.
‘This culminated in the qualifying of two youth teams for their respective world cups and having the Jamaican goalkeeper Allein Whittaker being named to the World XI in the 2001 Under-20 Youth World Cup.
Goalkeeping at the Jamaican Premier League level has improved tremendously and the presence of Donovan Ricketts in the MLS is another testament that the programme works.
‘Overall the participation and enthusiasm of all participants was outstanding, however the fact that all clubs and schools did not participate is critical in going forward as a nation in this global sports.
‘The Cayman Islands simple needs an organized structure to develop a nucleus of goalkeepers for all age groups and at the senior level.’
‘Emily Kelly at age 14 is the only female goalkeeper representing the Island at the national Under-17 and Under 20 level who was at the sessions; this is certainly not the way going forward. I am sure the potential and the interest is here, it needs to be identified and developed, the sooner the better.’