Fitness kicked in the PSV way

When a youth coach from one of
Europe’s top clubs arrives for a week to conduct a camp in Cayman, there is no
shortage of takers, that’s for sure.

So throughout the second week of
August around 100 aspiring footballers aged 18 and under seized the opportunity
to get tips from Dutch master coach Roy Wilhelm, the legendary trainer of
future stars for Holland’s PSV Eindhoven.

Wilhelm and his cadre of coaches,
all youngsters themselves who took the chance to make the trip to the Truman
Sports Centre, imparted on Cayman’s kids some tips to help them emulate some of
the brilliant Holland players we recently saw reach the World Cup final in
South Africa. Holland’s flair and artistry was apparent throughout the
tournament – but lacking in the final when they lost 1-0 to Spain – proving
that skill and technique will generally overcome the huff and puff tactics of
teams like England who rely more on brute strength and power than finesse.

Wilhelm, 58, was here for his first
camp last year. He travels the world when time allows to pass on his wisdom.
Besides English, he speaks Dutch, of course, German, French and Hebrew because
his mother is Jewish. He said: “I really enjoyed it again this time round. Not
only numbers wise but quality wise. I was surprised to see so much talent here,
even with the very young kids and hopefully these sessions will continue to
make them better. I was quoted in your last article saying that Cayman needs
some mean players, well I saw two! Sometimes you need players like that to get
the team going.”

Jasmine Ebanks, 15, plays in goal
for Women United Under-17 and thought the sessions were incredibly helpful. “I
really enjoyed it all,” she said. “They were excellent. I learned tricks and
more stuff generally. I got to see people from the other side of the world and
met more new people at this camp than others I’ve attended in Cayman.

Ebanks has taken over the keeper’s
role from Emily Kelly who at 16 is now too old to play for the dominant Women
United’s youth team. “We have always been on top and guess we will stay there,”
Ebanks insisted.

Arvid Harris, 18, is one of Bodden
Town’s best players. The attacking midfielder thought the $150 for the week’s
sessions with Wilhelm was excellent value. “From this camp I learned more about
fitness and how to dribble the ball better, use more techniques and moves. I
really got a lot out of this. We did the Dutch way. They do more of ball work.
That’s how they increase their fitness, with the ball. Down here we just do
running so this is another way of getting fit.”

The young and inexperienced Bodden
Town side did well in the Premier League and lost in the Digicel Cup final to
George Town in their first season since promotion. Harris wants to make it as a
pro and this camp, he feels, definitely helped his fitness. “I’m hoping to get
a college scholarship in the US to boost my career and also tryouts in England
or America.

“At Bodden Town we always train
hard. We’ve already started in preparation for the new season. I think we’ll do
good. We came second last season and I think we’ll do well again because we’re
one year older and more experienced.”

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