Much of the world’s football fraternity watched the recent Women’s World Cup. Among them were two of Cayman’s newest coaches.
Eric Dobrzanski and Lee Blenman were introduced this week as the heads of the newly formed Under-20 women’s football program. Both were in Cayman to catch the final alongside some of the best young ladies in the Cayman Islands Football Association.
The pair, who hail from the US, were rooting for the American girls. The likes of Abby Wambach and Hope Solo saw their World Cup run end in a shoot-out to underdog Japan (who featured top player Homare Sawa). Although disappointed with the defeat, both were quick to say it was a good competition, especially for young women to watch.
“It showed the girls if you can buy into a system you can do big things,” Dobrzanski said. “Women’s football worldwide is really open. I loved it from start to finish. It was fantastic watching the World Cup with the girls here. I’m hoping it motivates them to work this month and the rest of the summer.”
“My wife is American so I was rooting for the US,” Blenman said. “I watched the World Cup final with the U20 girls in Bodden Town. It was good and the girls loved our reactions. I think it’s the best women’s tournament I’ve seen. Teams like France and Japan played great football. Brazil was also excellent thanks to the best player in the world in Marta.
“It showed it’s no longer about one team. I felt the competition opened up for everyone. It shows our girls that we can compete with anyone.”
Head coach Dobrzanski and assistant coach Blenman have much to do with Cayman’s girls this summer. The pair are working with the ladies to gear up for competitions starting in October. The plan is in the next five years to have Cayman qualify for a major international tournament such as the U20 Women’s World Cup.
Dobrzanski, who is from Miami and is fresh off coaching at Johnson and Wales University, is quick to state that many of the pieces needed to make that leap are already in place.
“There is a great group of individual talent here. (Technical director for women’s football) Thiago Cunha gave us good prep work and technical support. The pieces are in place to move forward in a successful way. We’re gearing up for October right now and we want to make progress in four or five years and build on that. At the same time Lee and I would like to grow the U17 programme and see a full array of national teams on the women’s side.
“I know it will be a long-term situation. We don’t want to be just successful in October and the short term. We want the girls to be fit and on top of their preparations. With Lee and Thiago we’re creating the right mix and starting with the right people. With Lee in particular we worked together in the past, I’ve known him many years and he brings the experience of organizing a club from scratch.”