Even the youngest children will be able to get international class coaching soon thanks to the Grassroots development programme championed by the Cayman Islands Football Association.
Jeffrey Webb, president of the region’s governing body, CONCACAF, recently signed a four-year deal with sponsors Maples and Calder worth $100,000 a year to introduce children as young as 4 to the programme.
Webb stands by his decision to invest in the Grassroots programme as opposed to pumping money into the senior programme.
He said: “The future is the youth and if we are going to inject a lot of revenue into development, it must come from the foundation.
“For me, waiting until kids are 8 or 9 years old to play in primary schools is too late. We’ve got to start earlier.”
Former Cayman Islands keeper Tuda Murphy has signed with another pro club in Ireland. Webb is pleased for Murphy, 32, whose career has been hampered by injury.
“Tuda is a very resilient young man and he’s always set his goals and targets very high,” Webb said. “I’m sure that he’s going to be a great player for the club and going to have an outstanding season. I’m very proud of him.”
Webb said he is happy with the progress he is making with CONCACAF after the upheaval of the past couple of years. “We are stabilising the confederation,” he said. “We’ve hired some new staff and shifted our focus on development.
“For us now, it’s about the Gold Cup in July,” Webb added. “Thirteen venues. We’ve had a huge tournament just wrapped up in Costa Rica. I’ve just come from there. All the teams and all the venues are very excited and looking forward to the Gold Cup. That is where a lot of revenue comes from for the confederation.”
Since launching the Centre of Excellence in Prospect in 2009, progress has been slow, but one field has been prepared.
“We want to finish the second phase now and get another field done,” Webb said. “We’ll be working with FIFA and after that is done I think we need to get dormitories built.
“The housing accommodation continues to be the largest cost for associations,” he added. “Airfares and hotels are always the biggest costs. So once we get the dormitories done CIFA will be able to have more finances, which will allow them to put more into the game.”