Cayman Athletic were one of the most successful youth teams last season and coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour received many accolades in the process.
At the recent Cayman Islands Football Association awards Cayman Athletic took many honours, but Seymour feels he did not get the right one.
He said: “My award was for Coach of the Year in the Under-15 Division but my players and club officials were not too happy about that because we won the U-17 league and FA Cup we were undefeated and scored over 100 goals in the process and in the U-15 Division we just won the league and were runners-up in the FA Cup.
“Whoever did the nominations got this one wrong and if they made their decision based on making everyone happy then they should have given the awards based on who deserved them in the appropriate areas.”
Since Athletic’s inauguration in 2006 they have won numerous titles, both here and abroad. One achievement Gillie is particularly proud of is the runners-up award for the 2012 Disney Wide World of Sports U-18 Trophy Final in which they were defeated by a college team from Peru 2-1 in August.
“That was one of our highlights for the season along with winning the U-17 league and FA Cup undefeated, U-15 league championship undefeated for the past four seasons and U-15 FA Cup runner-up after being champions for the past three seasons.
“We also achieved our objective to remain in the Premier League after being promoted there a season ago and were semi-finalists in the men’s FA Cup for the second season straight after being runners-up last season.
“Our hopes for the 2012-13 season is to improve the performances of our young talented players so that they can inspire to pursue whatever future dreams they have whether it be a sports scholarship, professional contract or just be a good citizen.” He prefers to groom well-rounded, respectful youths rather than unruly, spiteful genius players.
Athletic players who received awards at the CIFA function were a proud reflection of Gillie’s philosophy. They were: Ernie Jacques: MVP for the U-17 FA Cup 2012; Jamaal Seymour (Gillie’s son):top goal scorer in the U-17 league; Joshewa Frederick, top goal scorer and Player of the Year in the U-15 league and D’Andre Rowe, top goal scorer in the U-13 League. Also, Shakur Welcome won the award for Goalkeeper of the Year for both U-15 and U-17 divisions.
Jamaal Seymour has played so well recently that he was selected last week by Dutch coach Roy Wilhelm to go to Holland in March for a two-week tryout with top club Willem ll Tilburg.
Gillie is grateful to all the support Athletic has received. “We would like to say a big thank you to all the people and companies who have sponsored us over the years, especially Julian Wood from Central Cooling Air-Conditioning who have and still sponsors our uniforms for all of our teams and has helped us tremendously in obtaining other sponsors as well and to the Ministry of Sports for the stipend they have been giving us to help with our expenses.
“We want to say thanks to our past presidents and vice presidents, John Henry Ebanks, Irvin Banks, Paulette Conolly-Bailey and Antwan ‘Chico’ Seymour and their families for helping to get us up and going and still continue to support us.”
He also thanked Angelita Seymour, Shari Seymour, Marie Martin, John Nixon, Juliet Suberan, Joy Foster, Karen Diaz, Jenny Seymour, Delphenia Ebanks, Omar Ebanks, Lovetta Frederick, Lovane ‘Pelo’ Joven, Randy Myles, Mr and Mrs Andrew Holiness, Lee Seymour, Donna Smith, Clovis Smith, Lantaya Stephenson, Desiree Ebanks, Noreen Dixon, Patricia Bodden, Christopher Durrant and all the other supporters.
Gillie added: “For our trip to the Disney Wide World of Sports Football Tournament we want to say a special thank you to Mike Adam and Premier McKeeva Bush and their ministries, Karen Diaz, Dart Enterprises, Cayman Airways, Cayman Contractor Store, ECay Online and Shari Seymour. Without their major contribution to the trip it would not have been possible and the boys dedicated the runners-up trophy to them.”
Gillie emphasises to his players that it is the spirit of playing fairly and in a sporting manner that is most important.
He said: “At Cayman Athletic Sports Club we’re not just about winning football games as some people say. Those people stay on the outside and form their opinion of us and according to some of them, all I do is shout and swear at the players and if that’s the case then what an excellent record I have for doing so!
“With all my experience and education and the many hours I’ve spent studying this game that we all love so much I find all the negativity hard to swallow especially from some of my own people who have never even taken the time and sacrificed long hours away from their families and business like I’ve done to coach the kids over the many years, especially the not so fortunate ones who are at risk.
“We are advocates of education and sports being compatible. We even have a scholastic coordinator in the club but we are still short on human resources.
“Maybe some of those critics should come out of their shell and help instead of being negative trying to tear people like myself down who have given so much time to the kids of the Cayman Islands over the many years.
“We encourage the players to study and play and at the same time be a success in both fields. If this was not the case then all of those players who came out of my past programmes and obtain sports scholarships would not be back home here today with their college degrees including my own son Atwan Seymour who is an electrical engineer at CUC.
“We also cover all the other areas of football which is the physical, technical, tactical, psychological and social aspects.
“The players are given weekly lectures on what is a proper diet, exercise and rest. We also have lectures on life skills through football and how it relates. The great Pele called football the beautiful game and said that it is life.
“But regardless of what we do it is still left to the players and what they want. The old adage says: ‘You can take the horse to the water but you can’t make him drink it’.”
Gillie feels justified in trying to explain himself because he feels unnecessarily criticised.
He said: “A referee here made a statement to one of my loyal supporters that all I wanted to do was win everything, so him and some of his colleagues conspired against me to try and stop me from winning everything by making bad calls against my team and I got this information from a good source.
“They even cut the duration of our games because my team was winning by a large margin and we have facts about this too.
“That is not right and it is not good for the game and that is one of the contributing factors why I am banned from the bench today because when the referees threw me off the bench for just asking a simple question and I stood up for my rights they wrote what they wanted in their reports so that they could get rid of me.
“I have proof that I did nothing wrong to be thrown off the bench in the first place. So the Football Association Disciplinary Committee slapped me with a one year ban to keep me away from the children and refused to accept the truth even at the appeal hearing.
“I am still the one coaching those same children because they have no other coach and definitely not one of those members on those two committees and any CIFA member is going to come out and coach them.
“Also, the job I am doing is making CIFA look good because they are the ones who are telling FIFA about these youth programmes they have going on in the Cayman Islands yet we are doing all the work and paying them to play in their leagues. We are even paying the referees and we are amateurs!”