Budding Messis will soon be stars

Youth football wrapped up with two
entertaining FA Cup matches over the weekend.

With the skill and commitment
displayed, Cayman should have few worries about producing quality players in
the future if they keep the youngsters interested.

Some of the Islands’ aspiring
Messis, Ronaldos and Rooneys took the opportunity to show their prowess.

Both matches were played at the TE
McField Annex on consecutive days. They were not on the same day because Cayman
Athletic were involved in both and some of the players were picked twice.

In the Under-15 FA Cup final on
Sunday, Cayman Athletic started the huge favourites against Bodden Town.

Athletic were unbeaten in two years
and although Bodden Town have an excellent youth programme too, they were
simply overwhelmed by coach Gillie Seymour’s boys.

Gillie was in fine voice as usual
but he didn’t need to be so animated because Athletic were never in danger of

Captained by sports all-rounder
Matthew Suberan who is also a superb cricketer, they cruised to a 5-0 victory
with Suberan getting two. Martin Webb, Cody Wright and Kevin Foster got the

Sports Minister Mark Scotland, who
is also president of Bodden Town Football Club, was beaming as he handed out
the medals.

In the Under-17 final the next day,
the match against Elite was never going to be as easy.

Elite were captained by Jermaine
‘Tiger’ Wilson who recently went for a trial at English Championship side

Wilson was his usual magnificent
self, spraying passes around from midfield and marshalling his troops against a
spirited Athletic side that refused to give in despite going behind three

Elite, coached by Sylvester ‘Pongo’
Coleman and guided by the club’s technical director Gregory Ebanks, knew they
were in for a torrid time. 

Ray ‘Bobo’ Smith opened the scoring
for Elite before Matthew Forest equalised with a quickly taken and cleverly
chipped free kick when he spotted keeper Danner Taylor out of position.

Elite were upset with referee
Livingstone Bailey for giving the free-kick in the first place. Bailey was kept
busy all evening and generally had a good game considering how many incidents
there were that needed snap decisions.

Smith hit Elite’s second before
Kevin Foster equalised again for Cayman Athletic.

After the break Mekko Gooden headed
in Elite’s third and again Athletic responded, this time with a Juwan Ebanks

Athletic were for the first time
ahead when Forest struck again near the end.

This time it was Elite who showed
their heart to when Brennan Ebanks fired in from the edge of the box. Brennan
had an excellent match up front and could develop into a classy striker if he
can find shorts that don’t keep falling down!

Athletic keeper Samuel Williams
hurt his ribs in trying to save it and when the end of regulation time came he
was taken to hospital for treatment.

Athletic’s Roshaine Anderson also
went to hospital and was treated with a fractured ankle.

Extra time favoured the fresher
Elite who did not have a third keeper in the game like Athletic had.

David Connolly did his best but
could do nothing about the Gooden thunderbolt that sealed Elite’s win. Not even
England keeper David James could have saved Gooden’s volley.

Connolly has been a stalwart for
Cayman Athletic this season, literally playing in every position.

This time it was Cayman’s technical
director of football, the celebrated Carl Brown, who gave out the honours.

Overall, both games were great
adverts of what is good in Cayman’s youth football and on the strength of the
talent out there, a few of them will be turning pro in Europe and America in
the next few years.