Cayman football is getting a boost from a star on the US Olympic team.
Carli Lloyd will be in the Cayman Islands next week for the Arie Smith Football Camp, organised by the Dream Out Loud Foundation. As foundation and camp representative Kimberly Stewart states, Lloyd can be a good role model for local players.
“Carli Lloyd is the engine of the US women’s national team,” Stewart said. “She controls the middle and is a very popular player. She’s extremely talented, mentally understands the game and she is a great role model for the youth, both on and off the field, especially young girls who are passionate about football.”
Lloyd, 30, is a midfielder and two-time Olympic gold medallist. The New Jersey native scored the gold medal-winning goals in the finals of both the 2008 and the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Lloyd, who starred at Rutgers University, also played for various clubs in the Women’s Professional Soccer League, with her last squad being the Atlanta Beat in 2010.
The Arie Smith camp takes place at the Ed Bush stadium in West Bay next Monday and Tuesday, 17-18 December, from 4pm to 8pm each evening. It is free for boys and girls aged 7-18. Food and a camp shirt will be provided.
The event gets its name from foundation founder Ariella ‘Arie’ Smith, 22, a West Bayer who is the daughter of Antonio and Glennis Smith. The forward/centre midfielder played for the Scholars International women’s team and now competes in Atlanta, Georgia for her Kennesaw State University Owls.
Arie is a senior pursing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Her Owls play in the Atlantic Sun Conference in Division One of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Arie, whose father founded Scholars in 1978, states her parents are her inspiration.
“They are the reason I play football and take my education seriously,” Arie said.
Arie started her foundation to promote football for young women in Cayman. Stewart states the foundation’s ability to bring down Lloyd came about through Arie’s school.
“Carli played for the Beat, who used the same stadium as Arie’s university, so Carli and her team would practice after them. She would be leaving the locker room when Arie was coming in so they would always see each other and Arie would go to watch the professional games.
“Arie contacted Carli’s operations manager and told her the intentions she had. Carli then contacted Arie personally and they were able to quickly finalise a date that both of their schedules permitted.
“Arie began playing football from a very young age with Scholars, of which she remains a member and still plays on the team whenever she comes home to Cayman during her breaks from university.”
Lloyd’s trip to Cayman comes after the US wrapped up a slate of 10 exhibition games, dubbed the ‘Fan Tribute Tour.’ Alongside fellow stars Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, Lloyd figures to play more international friendlies in the coming months, with the ultimate goal being the 2015 women’s World Cup.
Lloyd states she is focused on maintaining her current level of performance.
“I feel like I’m playing really smart soccer out there, just kind of being the engine,” Lloyd said. “That’s the most important thing that I need to do to help my team-mates. There’s going to be a little bit of a lull next year and the year after that.
“We’ve just got to continue the wave and the momentum of just keeping this game popular and out on top.”
For more information on the camp, call 925-3103 or 916-3977