A whole raft of new coaches and referees attended a graduation ceremony at the Cayman Islands Football Association headquarters in Prospect to receive their certificates from Jeffrey Webb, the president of the organisation.
That was last Wednesday. Many of the newly qualified officials are still playing themselves and some are as young as 16, like Elite defender Jermaine Wilson.
Webb congratulated all the recipients and also praised Lenny Hew and Winston Chung-Fah who helped developed football when they arrived here from Jamaica many years ago and are still involved at all levels today. Carl Brown, national technical director, also attended and praised all the graduates.
Other Premier League players who got their certificates included Garth Anderson, Dwayne ‘Gaza’ Wright, Leighton ‘Rumpy’ Elliott, Chris Douglas, Arvid Harris, Syd Parsons Wesley Robinson and Oneil Taylor. Women who graduated included Zoeneif Walker, Chelsea Brown and Shanice Monteith. Even Nikolai ‘Bruiser’ Hill got his coaching badge which goes to show that it is not that difficult!
Children as young as four will be able to learn football in a structured environment by the qualified coaches thanks to the initiative by CIFA. The officials attended a course at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex as part of the new ‘Footprints’ programme. It is part of the FIFA Grassroots Development coaching programme.
It was conducted by Footprints coordinator and CIFA youth development officer Marcos Tinoco, Carl Brown and national women’s coach Thiago Cunha. The Footprints initiative targets the 4-12 year old age group.
The worldwide Grassroots scheme encourages as many youngsters as possible to get actively involved in the game so that basic skills and knowledge can be learned at the earliest possible age.
So competitive is professional football today that even infants need to get into a programme to have a realistic chance of becoming pros at the top level.