Harsh lessons but girls will grow

USA 13 | Cayman 0

The Cayman girls’ Under-17 side
were outclassed again in their World Cup qualifier, this time against the world
no.1 ranked team USA.

But, just like the 7-0 loss to
Costa Rica two days earlier, Cayman’s brave novices did not go down without a
fight Friday.

The Americans were just too big,
experienced and polished and ran out worthy 13-0 winners. Cayman’s average age
is only 15. All the Americans are in the upper age bracket.

Cayman keeper Emily Kelly was the
busiest player on the park both times in Costa Rica, but she still saved many
shots and the scores would have been even heavier without her.

Kelly’s mother Rhonda was at both
games and said: “Cayman never gave up in either match. They stayed in the game
until the end.

“If you watch the US game online
you will hear Emily yelling in the background throughout, showing that they
were still fighting through the entire match.

“The USA are currently ranked by
FIFA the highest in the world in women’s football.

“Emily is okay because she
understands what they were up against and she feels like she gave it her all.

“She said to me that they learned a
lot and that quitting was never an option. I think that is probably their
greatest lesson overall as a team that they can never quit.

“Emily’s goalkeeping coach Paul
Campbell said to me that Cayman could not have paid to have the USA play them
is so significant. They would not have ever played us.

“This is something Cayman earned, a
chance to play the best team in the world, and they will learn from it and it
was an experience some of them, if not all, may never have again in their

Cayman played Haiti last night in
their final CONCACAF game in Alajuela.

Coach Bobby McLaren said: “In
2004 Usain Bolt did not even finish his race in the Olympics, he was injured and
four years later he cleaned up everything at the Beijing Olympics.

“Whenever any team or athlete steps
up a level in their sport, they have to learn to take a licking and keep on
ticking so to speak.

“That our girls have been willing
to come out and continue to fight has shown their amazing character and
commitment to their country and their team.

“We are the only team in the competition
right now that has six girls that are able to compete in the next U-17 World
Cup and it is an invaluable experience the girls have had from this.

“We have learned a lot and it will
definitely serve us well in our future endeavours. I truly am proud of how
these girls have stood up in the face of the great adversity they have faced.
God Bless them!”

Rhonda added: “My daughter is truly
my hero. As a community in the troubling times we have on our island we need to
embrace wholeheartedly our young people’s commitments, encourage them and
honour their efforts. These girls have shown us all the most wonderful example
of true Caymanian spirit and pride.”

In other games Canada beat Panama
2-1 and Jamaica lost 3-0 to Mexico.

For more information, go to


Kelly did well despite the defeats.
Photo: Ron Shillingford