Cayman’s best female footballers are honing their fitness and skills for big international matches later this year and they will have the expert guidance of newly appointed part-time coach Eric Dobrzanski to steer them through the games.
They will be playing in the Caribbean Football Union Under-20 Women’s Championships in October
which is the preliminary qualification stage for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Many of the U-20s have graduated from the very successful U-17s who did so well in the World Cup qualifiers not so long ago so international competition will not be too daunting for many of them, especially players like Shanel Gall, Emily Kelly, Alyssa Chin and Briana Hydes, all of whom are on football scholarships in the United States.
Dobrzanki was appointed by football association president Jeffrey Webb recently and he will work in conjunction with Thiago Cunha who heads the women’s programme here.
Coach Eric was here for a couple of days last week to watch a 40-member squad practice and assess what needs to be done when he returns in a few weeks. He said: “I’ve been here twice before, school recruiting for the college I was at, Thomas University. And I stayed in touch with Thiago and about a month ago, met with him and Jeff Webb, who took care of business before we met again and now I’ll be here from mid-July until the 21 August.”
In the meantime the girls will be training with Cunha who doubles up as the fitness coach. When Dobrzanski, 27, returns they will have sessions twice a day for the qualifiers in October and will work on tactics and formations.
“It’s going to be important to get an understanding in July, especially for the younger ones who need to know how things are going to be run and make sure the older ones understand that this is their team and they make it what they want,” Dobrzanski said.
He played his football at St Thomas University in Miami and spent his whole college career there. Then he coached a club in north Florida, Club Soccer and then was the director of coaching at another in Tallahassee.
He became associate head coach at Thomas University in Georgia for four years and he got his present job recently as head coach of the women’s programme at Johnson & Wales University in north Miami.
“I’ve been very fortunate to know the people that I know who have been able to create good opportunities for me and put me in good positions. Obviously, if I hadn’t been here two years ago I wouldn’t have run into Thiago nor Jeff.”