Women’s football in Cayman has been progressing at a rapid rate in recent seasons and of all the club teams Elite Sports Club have been one of the most consistent.
Bolstered by the addition of many Women United players after the team folded because so many members went off to college, Elite dominated the recently concluded Under-17 league.
Martha Godet wears many hats in local football. She is President of Elite Sports, coach for Elite women’s team (and occasional player), Cayman Islands Football Association Director General of the Women’s National Programmes and Deputy Chairman of the Women’s Committee.
Football is a family passion as all her children – Gabriel, Donovan, Dominic and daughter Neesah – play at a high level and extended family and friends are all immersed in it too.
“It was a very good season for Elite girls, great composure from all players throughout,” Martha said. “Elite won the league championship undefeated, Future were second and Scholars third.”
Godet picks out as the Under-17 league’s most outstanding players Shanelle Frederick, Janel Ebanks (Future), Chelsea Greene (Elite), Amy Mobley (Elite), (Chelsea Greene (Future) and Jetena Bodden (Scholars). In the Elite side, she felt Frederick, Shanice Monteith, Courtisha Ebanks and Brittany Mobley made the biggest contribution.
Striker Frederick is heading off to top women’s pro side FC Indiana this summer to finish her studies and eventually turn into a full-time pro. She will join Shanel Gall who has just signed pro forms with Indiana.
“It’s a great opportunity for Shanelle,” Godet said. “She is an outstanding player and with her potential she can go places. The Elite family is very excited and happy over her achievements. Her team-mates, supporters, coaches and friends are so thrilled for her.
“No doubt Shanelle will excel and the exposure is a tremendous opportunity for her to develop even further. She is only 16 and already she is an awesomely skilful striker.
“Without a doubt, Shanelle is an inspiration to her team-mates and hopefully other players will join her. Chelsea Greene, Courtisha Ebanks and Shanice Monteith are also off this coming summer to attend school through football scholarships.
“In terms of skills, strength and knowledge of the game, I am seeing a huge improvement overall in women’s football, however, there is so much more to do to grow women’s football in Cayman. We’ve got the players, it is just a matter of placing more emphasis in getting the girls out to play.”
In a sense, Elite, like Women United, are victims of their own success. “Having four of my most skilful and stronger players off to school, it will impact on us next season, but this is good for the younger players which gives them an opportunity to pick up where the overseas players left off.
“Recruiting has started, I am focusing on the 13 and under age group, groom them into the U-17s and eventually they will become my future senior women’s team. In order for women’s football to grow we have to start from this age group and keep moving forward, otherwise it will not grow as much as it should.
“We need the clubs and schools to take more interest in growing women’s football in Cayman. There are many talented players in our small country, it is an opportunity for these young ladies to be able to see that they too have skills, they too can be successful with scholarship opportunities.”