Caymanian youngster Kray Foster is the newest member of Swindon Town Football Club’s esteemed Centre of Excellence after penning a one-year rolling development contract in September with the English Division 1 outfit.
Foster, 12, is the second youngster and the youngest local player to benefit from the relationship established between the Swindon Town Centre of Excellence, the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture, the Cayman Islands Football Association and the West Bay Sports Foundation.
He joins four fellow Caymanians at professional football academies in the United Kingdom – Sebastian Martinez, who has been with Swindon’s Centre of Excellence since October 2011, Cameron Gray, who signed with Premier League club Reading’s Youth Academy four months ago and Nathan Borde, who signed a one-year rolling development contract with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday last month.
Swindon Town Under-13 team toured Grand Cayman in February. The tour was organised by the Ministry and the West Bay Sports Foundation in collaboration with a number of sponsors from the private sector.
One of the major reasons for bringing over Swindon Town and establishing this relationship was to gain opportunities such as this for Cayman’s youngsters to experience training with a professional academy.
It was during a training session with the Swindon Town U-13 coaching staff and players from the Primary Football League Youth Programme in February that Foster’s talents were noticed by one of the visiting coaches.
Foster and his family were approached by Fitzroy Simpson, Technical Director of GOALD Football Management, on behalf of Swindon Town’s Centre of Excellence. An agent by profession and former 1998 World Cup player with Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, Simpson, who travelled from England and has visited the Island a number of times, was instrumental in getting Martinez signed with the Division 1 outfit’s Youth Academy and with Cameron Gray’s trial with Chelsea’s Youth Academy and eventual signing with Reading’s Youth Academy.
Foster first went to England in April and trained with Swindon Town for two weeks. He was invited back in August which led to signing with the club. Since September, Foster has played against top academies from around the UK including Liverpool, Reading and Bristol City.
Founder of the West Bay Sports Foundation Ardin Rivers said: “We are immensely proud of Kray and what he has achieved. These types of opportunities for our youngsters are what we envisioned when we first began discussions with Swindon Town’s Centre of Excellence and their trip to the Cayman Islands.
“Never before have we had four players under the age of 14 playing in professional youth academies abroad. We wish Kray all the best at Swindon Town and look forward to continuing our relationship with the club.”
Minister for Sports Mark Scotland said: “The Ministry is extremely pleased for Kray. He has been a special player over the past four or five years and has worked extremely hard for this opportunity.
“Sebastian, Cameron, Nathan and Kray are true ambassadors for youth football in the Cayman Islands and we wish them all the best academically and athletically. The Ministry compliments the members of the West Bay Sports Foundation for their support of and commitment to Cayman’s youth over the years.”