Some of the Cayman’s best football talents usually start out from a young age.
From camps to competitions most get their first kicks in early.
The latest group of prodigies recently came together in the final of the U15 Interscholastic League.
Run by the Department of Sports, the league started back in October (playing on Monday and Wednesday evenings) and focused on eight local middle schools.
The final would see a thrilling match between New Horizons High (which beat Leading Edge in the semi-finals) and St. Ignatius (Catholic) school (which beat Triple C in its semi-finals).
All the scoring would take place in the first half of the match with the second half being a tight and tense affair.
New Horizons High would earn the 2009 title with a 2-1 victory. Waldemer Jackson and Georgie Duarte-Haylock were the goal scorers for New Horizons.
Aside from those youngsters a number of other children turned in solid performances.
For New Horizons props must be given to keeper Denniston Thompson. The young man made a number of solid saves in goal, especially in the second half. Thompson has all the makings of a second Ramon Sealy with his athleticism and solid hands.
Meanwhile Dante Ramoon gave an inspired performance in mid-field. Ramoon chased the ball all over the field and often times he would be seen in a great tussle for the ball.
Catholic meanwhile saw a notable showing from Captain Noaki Montoya, who flashed the sort of footwork and alert passing that would make the likes of Ryan Giggs happy. His willingness to be a presence on both ends of the pitch sparked many good chances for his team.
One of the stalwarts on the defensive end was Dave Scott. He showed great vision with the ball at his feet and did a good job sticking with attacking players in front of goal.
New Horizons would be coached by school teacher Ruel Haughton who gave the youngsters constant support from the sidelines.
Haughton felt the game was a prime example of good youth football being played on these shores.
‘I think it was a very good game. It was very competitive and could have gone either way.
‘I’m very happy that there were no incidents at all. It was good clean football and a decent turnout.’
In fact some 30 onlookers manned the sidelines of the Annex field to take in the evening game.
Among them were notable local sports figures and George Hicks campus physical education teachers Cyril Gairy and Gillie Seymour (who watched the game before coaching one of the Cayman Athletics Sports Club youth teams).
All saw many good young footballers at work and, in addition to the ones already named, Haughton thought a few others wowed the crowd.
‘The players that stood out the most to me were Naoki Montoya for St. Ignatius, Joshwa Clarke, Waldemere Jackson, Denniston Thompson, Janel Ebanks, Laurent Bodden and Roshaine Anderson of New Horizons.
‘I also think it is worthy to note that Janel Ebanks was the only girl on the team. She played in a few games and did very well.
‘The season I think was very competitive, gave the students a chance to showcase their talents and also to build new friendships and to teach a few players discipline.’
Helping spur the children on from the sidelines was New Horizons teacher Janet Harris. Known to most for her involvement as an umpire in local netball, Harris showed some solid football knowledge shouting instructions to the kids on the pitch.
The Bajan resident was quick to echo Haughton’s sentiments.
‘Personally I thought St Ignatius played the better football but it is goals that count. I have to say that our goalkeeper Denniston made some outstanding saves.
‘There were two guys from St Ignatius in Reno Jackson and Noaki Montoya who really marshalled their attack. Aside from that the season was not long and drawn out which was a good thing. It was such a shame though that more persons did not come out to the finals.’