Vegas trip raises career hopes

Some of Cayman’s best young footballers are priming themselves for the internationally renowned Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup next month and hope to make a lasting impression on the scouts who always attend hoping to spot emerging talent.

It is an extremely competitive tournament, heavily scouted, giving a chance for the youngsters to maximise their football talents to gain college and university scholarships to further their education – an alluring prospect for ambitious kids. It runs from 15-18 February.

This is the fourth time Cayman players are competing the tournament. They were in the 2009 AC Milan Continental Cup in Cleveland, Ohio with an Under-19 team and the 2011 and 2012 Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Showcase, also with an U-19 team. Numerous players have received scholarship offers from various colleges and universities from those trips.

Each player’s estimated expenses are around $1,200 inclusive of airfare, accommodations, transportation, uniforms and meals. Included in the organising are Owen Dinnall, the treasurer, Neil Murray, the Primary Football League co-ordinator and coach Antwan ‘Chico’ Seymour.

The U-14 team in particular is a unique group as Neil Murray and a few other local coaches identified a gap in football and saw if fit to start a programme.

The programme identified outstanding players from all primary schools and invited them to become a part of select training group. They currently have over 35 boys aged between 10-13 in the programme.

They are exceptionally talented and look destined to go far both locally and overseas.

The Primary Football League Youth Programme team photo from the game with Harbour View FCs U-14 team two months ago will supply most of the players for this trip.

This trip is just a part of the reward for their hard work and dedication. They have given up Saturday mornings even during summer vacation in addition to Friday evenings for over 12 months.

The best of the group have been selected for this tournament. What is great about this programme, is that the coaches are not just interested in improving their football skills but also ensure that the youngsters achieve good grades.

For those who are weak in their academics, they have made arrangements for them to get tutoring. Their attitude on and off the field is also of upmost importance.

They are being developed in a holistic manner.

Bobeth O’Garro said: “As a parent of two children in the programme, I am very impressed with the efforts of the coaches to develop future members of the Cayman Islands senior men’s national football team. “This programme is helping to rebuild football in Cayman all without the assistance of our national body, the Cayman Islands Football Association.”

The group is still in need of companies and organisations financially supporting them by either sponsoring a player for the full cost, or by giving smaller donations which are also greatly appreciated.

“We look forward to the public’s support.