Tiger wants strength of a lion

Youth football is enjoying a
surplus of talent in Cayman right now and getting expert training – albeit at a
high cost – is what some of the best youngsters are doing abroad.

Jermaine ‘Tiger’ Wilson has just
jetted off to Rio de Janeiro to train with two other Cayman youths for a month
at Vasco da Gama.

The top Brazilian club has a link
with Cayman youngsters through Cayman coach Thiago Cunha and Wilson, 15, is
keen to further his education as he hopes to carve a career as a pro

Wilson had a fabulous season last
year, captaining the Elite Under-17 side to FA Cup glory over Cayman Athletic
and coming second in the league to Bodden Town. He also led Elite’s under-15 to
a successful season and regularly played in the First Division side and
occasionally for the Premier side.

He went for a week-long trial at
Watford, the English Championship side, over Easter and impressed them despite
being the youngest of the hopefuls and totally inexperienced in the English
game. He was also competing for attention against players as old as 21 who had
been rejected by bigger clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool, Wigan and Aston

“I learned that their style of play
in England is much different to Cayman,” Wilson said. “I need to work a lot to
reach a higher level. It is faster, more physical and the players down there
play much smarter than they do here.

“The English boys played like
Cayman’s Premier teams more than players of my own age. For their age they were
tough. I was the youngest person at the trial but there were a few around my
age and they were very strong and fast.

“I’ve been training really hard for
my Brazil trip. I’m looking forward to getting my fitness where it’s supposed
to be and learning some skills to use for next season.

“I’m looking forward to going back
to England for a trial because I’ll be more aware of what’s going to happen and
I think I can do much better.”

Dad Tiger said: “From what I could
see, English principles and how they approach their football is more serious
than what I’ve seen here in the Cayman Islands. The discipline and dedication
too is much more serious than in Cayman. The guys are stronger and faster and
play a more disciplined game. Their tactical movements are more rigid than in

“The little bit that I saw; their
approach, their system and love of football, is totally different to Cayman’s.
I’m just hoping that the experience Jermaine got he will use to his advantage.

“The game plan in sending him to
Brazil is that the more exposure he gets at a higher level it will benefit him.
Also I get an insight too. No matter how good you are, without the exposure you
will never reach nowhere.”

Mum Susan said; “Jermaine has had
the experience of training at Watford and the more experience he can get, the
better. The Watford coaches actually said that he was better than some players
of his age that they had.”

Tiger added: “One of the reasons
why we decided to go to Brazil (at considerable cost) is because there is not
much on offer here in Cayman. But there is so much potential here. Jermaine has
potential and we want to do what’s best for him so we decided to send him to
Vasco da Gama and get his standard up, instead of just waiting around.”