Youth football in Cayman gets another boost with the visit of one of Swindon Town’s youth teams next week.
For the second year running the West Bay Sports Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports and Culture, the Cayman Islands Football Association, Pepsi, Aquafina and a number of local companies, will again be hosting Swindon Town Football Club’s talented Under-14 squad from the United Kingdom.
The team will visit the Island for five days and play two exhibition games against local select teams comprised of the best U-14 players currently playing in CIFA’s U-13 and U-15 leagues.
The team will arrive this Sunday and will play Academy Sports Club at the TE McField Annex in George Town on Tuesday 12 February and a West Bay/Bodden Town Select at the Ed Bush Field in West Bay on Thursday 14 February. Both games are at 6.30pm and entry cost is $8 per game.
Prior to the featured games there will be a number of U-13, U-11 and U-9 exhibition games beginning at 5.30pm.
This second visit by Swindon Town’s U-14s and its coaching staff is the result of a flourishing relationship formulated between the West Bay Sports Foundation and Swindon Town’s celebrated youth academy.
This time last year the same team visited the Cayman Islands for three exhibition games. Visiting with Swindon Town, was local starlet Sebastian Martinez, who has been with Swindon Town’s Youth Academy since October 2011.
Martinez’s contract was made possible by Swindon’s talent scout and former Swindon Town player and Reggae Boyz midfielder Fitzroy Simpson.
Simpson’s recommendation to get Martinez, now 14, into Swindon was supported by the government and through a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Education and Development and the youngster’s parents, a contract, which includes his continued education, was made possible.
This visit will also feature a second Caymanian teenager, Kray Foster, who joined Swindon Town’s Youth Academy in August 2012 after impressing the coaching staff there and Simpson on their initial visit.
Following successful trials in March 2012 Foster signed a one-year rolling development contract in August.
Minister of Sports Mark Scotland said: “The ministry shares the vision of developing our youth through sports and so we are more than happy to play a significant role in making Swindon Town’s second visit possible.
“I also thank the private sector entities that have assisted thus far in making this trip possible especially the West Bay Sports Foundation.
“We are especially thrilled to welcome back our local boys – Sebastian and Kray – who serve as great ambassadors on the field and in the classroom.”
Arden ‘Cheeky’ Rivers of the sport, said they view Swindon Town’s two visits as very important and positive steps for youth football in the Cayman Islands.
“Swindon’s first visit in February 2012 was very well received by the Cayman public so it was an easy decision for us to bring the team back,” said Rivers. “Through the concerted efforts of several individuals and the favourable responses from our great sponsors, we are very excited in welcoming back Swindon Town’s Youth Academy to our Islands.”
Swindon Town play in England’s League One and are based in Swindon, Wiltshire, about 80 miles west of London.
Technical director of Swindon Town’s Youth Academy Jeremy Newton said: “Swindon Town is extremely excited about returning to the Cayman Islands.
“Last year we were so well received by the Cayman public. Our aim this year is to continue to build working relationships with the local clubs and the government in creating a platform to give the players on the Island an opportunity to play in England and to be part of our club, much like Sebastian, and more recently Kray.
“We say special thanks to the government and all the sponsors for making this trip possible.”
Football fans are encouraged to come out and support the games.