Keepers can put their faith in the hands of vet Irwin

The West Bay Sports Foundation, in collaboration with the Academy Sports Club, will be hosting Bill Irwin, Director of Soccer from the University of Portland next week.

Coach Irwin is in his tenth year as the Director of Soccer at the university. Irwin, a certified ‘A’ licenced coach, was promoted to his current position after serving 16 years as an assistant.

Coach Irwin has a distinguished record as a goalkeeping specialist and has extensive experience with both the US national men’s and women’s programmes, assisting with the Under 20, Under 21, Under 23 and senior women’s teams, and the Under 16, Under 17, Under 18, Under 20 and senior men’s teams.

He trained the US goalkeepers in the 1998 World Cup in France, the 2000 Olympic team in Australia and the youth teams in various World Youth Championships.

His football background includes 17 years in goal in the pro ranks in England in the 1970s and in the United States in the North American Soccer League and the Major Indoor Soccer League in the 1980s.

The University of Portland is a NCAA Division 1 institution in Oregon with 3,900 students and 320 faculty members.

The West Bay Sports Foundation has arranged a number of events with coach Irwin including training sessions with the Primary Football League Youth Programme at 5pm at the TE McField Annex Field in George Town and with the women’s teams at 7pm at the Ed Bush Field in West Bay on Thursday 17 January, an Under-18 game between a George Town select team versus a West Bay Select team at 5.30pm at the Ed Bush on Friday 18 January and two goalkeeper’s clinics on Saturday 19 January.

The keepers’ clinic will be hosted by the Academy Sports Club at the Academy Field in Outpost Road on Saturday week. Coach Irwin will lead keepers through a two-hour session aimed at strengthening skills, increasing game awareness and building confidence.

A clinic for keepers aged 10-16 is from 1-3pm followed by a clinic for keepers aged 17-23 from 4-6pm. The two clinics are sponsored by Zolfo Cooper.

Academy Sports Club director of football Virgil Seymour said: “The Academy Sports Club has always placed a heavy emphasis on the link between football and academics so we are very pleased to support the West Bay Sports Foundation in this venture for our local football community.

“There is a serious lack of proper goalkeeper coaching in the Cayman Islands so I encourage keepers of all ages, boys and girls, to take advantage of this excellent opportunity. Special thanks to Zolfo Cooper for sponsoring the clinics.”

Co-founder of the West Bay Sports Foundation Arden Rivers said: “The foundation is very excited to be welcoming coach Irwin to Grand Cayman.

“His involvement in football over the years has been extensive and his expertise in coaching and directing the coaching in men’s and women’s football will be extremely beneficial for our youngsters. 
“We hope to establish a long and meaningful relationship with him as we strive to create academic and athletic opportunities for those players interested in continuing their education at the college level in the United States.”

Since its inception in 2009, the West Bay Sports Foundation has created opportunities for the Island’s young athletes to excel academically and athletically locally and overseas.

The foundation has also hosted various youth football tournaments and events involving local and overseas teams including the visit of Swindon Town Football Club’s U-13 team from the English professional team’s Youth Academy and CD Vida’s Under 15 team from Honduras.

The foundation’s annual West Bay Community Cup Youth Football Tournament has become a well-supported event showcasing the best young talent in the Under 11, 14 and 17 age groups.

For further information on coach Irwin’s visit and schedule of events, contact Arden Rivers at 927-7011 or Neil Murray at 925-8793. To sign-up for the goalkeeper’s clinics, or e-mail [email protected]