Private schools all pitch in

News of the upcoming private school football tournament is welcome for Cayman sports. At the same time it sheds light on an organisation that hopes to make an impact on the sports scene in the future.

The Private Schools Association of the Cayman Islands is putting on a seven-a-side football tournament. Hosted at the Cayman International School field, the event takes place Thursday 3 February 10am-7pm. Eight schools are taking part in the competition in Cayman Academy, Cayman International, Cayman Prep, Grace Christian Academy, Hope Academy, St. Ignatius, Triple C and Wesleyan Academy.

Jeremy Moore is the Principal of Cayman International’s secondary school and serves as the main organiser and founder of the event. Moore, 35, hails from Orlando, Florida and has been in Cayman a few months.

He states the association is not new and the tournament is about building its profile, that of the various private schools and growing participation in healthy activities such as football.

“The association has convened for over 25 years in Grand Cayman,” Moore said. “This organisation was developed as a forum for private schools to share ideas and issues in the field of education and to promote positive relationships and collaboration among all private schools on the island. The association meets monthly, is attended by directors and principals from private schools and is currently chaired by Samantha Tibbetts.

“Thursday’s event is important for private schools because it gives kids an opportunity to compete against their peers and allows them to meet and interact with students that they might not otherwise come in contact with.

“It’s important for kids to branch out beyond the walls of the school they attend and have friendly competition and socialization with others. I’m not yet fully connected with the local football scene, but my hope is that this tournament will be a positive contribution to local football.

“It has been discussed that coaches may select “all-star” players from each team in this tournament and have this team of all-stars compete against a public school team(s) that may be interested in a full field game.

“I truly believe that team sports provide a valuable learning opportunity for students and makes them more well-rounded and balanced individuals. In addition, research studies indicate positive effects of participation in high school sports on academic achievement.”

The eight teams, who are expected to field players taking part in local youth football leagues, will compete for a number of awards. A large trophy cup with multiple engraved plates is the grand prize while plaques are given to each of the top three teams. All participants will receive a medal and T-shirt compliments of sponsors Burger King, Osetra Bay, Mourant Ozannes and Popeyes.

Interestingly the Cayman Islands Football Association is behind the tournament. In addition to providing a guest speaker, the association will also make certified referees available for the matches.

All of the games will be played under seven-a-side FIFA rules with no offside penalty in place. Matches are split up into two 12-minute halves with squads having up to 10 players (with team members being 18 years-old and under).

Moore is quick to say that the plan going forward is to have events across various sports for private school students put on by the association in the future.

“While I can’t speak on behalf of the entire association, I am working to build more formalized interscholastic sports leagues, competitions and tournaments for private schools. I can envision private schools participating in interscholastic leagues with a different sport (e.g. basketball or volleyball) played each term. The relatively small size of private secondary schools poses a challenge but this tournament is one example that interscholastic competition can definitely succeed.

“These leagues and tournaments can promote school spirit and increase the excitement and energy on school campuses across the island. Sports can help kids feel connected to their schools and when kids have a sense of ownership and connectedness, they achieve at higher levels and have a positive school experience.”

For more information contact Jeremy Moore on 945-4664 or e-mail [email protected]