He’s literally a little Tiger – and
not just in the tackle or when stalking goals.
Jermaine ‘Tiger’ Wilson is Cayman’s
finest 15-year-old footballer and over the Easter break he gets his chance to
test his burgeoning mettle at a much higher level, at Championship side Watford,
no less, in England.
Watford may be struggling
financially and in the league, but the Hornets have a long history of producing
exceptional youngsters who go on to bigger clubs with consummate success.
John Barnes is a prime example.
Luther Blissett too, although his one year spell at AC Milan was a disaster.
Ashley Young, presently with Aston Villa and hoping to go to the World Cup with
the England squad, is a former Hornet.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise
that Watford was last week named Football Foundation Community Club of the Year
at the Football League Awards 2010.
There is always a nice buzz at
Watford’s Vicarage Road and Jermaine, accompanied by dad Tiger Snr, will spend
a week on trial hoping to impress Watford enough to get a place in their
Although English football standards
are far higher than here, Jermaine is confident he can impress having been
invited to join Real Madrid’s Miami-based side in the last two summers. Both
times Real Madrid did not realise he lived in Grand Cayman, an hour’s flight
An Elite midfielder at Under-15, U-17,
First Division and Premier League level this season, Wilson has banged in 39
goals in only 31 games with 28 assists.
Elite coach Gregory Ebanks said:
“Jermaine has continued to grow and mature. He is a very positive player and
has a great work ethic.
“I’m pleased he’s getting this
trial at Watford because I’ve always maintained that if he didn’t get off the
island and try for a higher level he wouldn’t achieve his potential.
“He definitely needs to get
exposure somewhere else.”
Jermaine’s mum Susan said: “We’re
really happy he’s got this chance because he knows what he wants in life and
that’s being a pro footballer. He is totally dedicated and even trains at 5am
on the beach before school.”
Tiger Snr is a former world natural
bodybuilding champion so knows the effort necessary to make it. Those tenacious
genes are evident in Jermaine.
Big Tiger is Jermaine’s U-15 coach.
He said: “I’m really glad he has this opportunity with Watford. Jermaine’s
preparation has been right up there through guidance from me and coach Greg.
“I’m hoping he can get into the
club and continue his education and football career with them. We’ve given him
a good foundation, now he’s ready to reach a much higher level. His fitness and
discipline is exceptional and we hope he’ll be a success at Watford.”
As for the youngster himself, he
said: “This is what I’ve always wanted and I hope I do well. I’ve never trained
as hard in my life.
“I see my strengths as my passing,
control, vision and assisting as well as scoring goals much better. My heading
and shooting power are the things I am working on to improve.”
Wilson is still a manic Real fan
but it’s Barcelona’s Lionel Messi who draws his most admiration. It used to be
Zinedine Zidane for obvious reasons. Not bad players to model yourself on.