After months of hard work, three of the best teenage footballers in Grand Cayman are about to seize a golden opportunity to prove themselves at the highest level in Europe.
They have been invited for trials with the Dutch professional Premier League club Willem ll Tilburg for two weeks next month.
Willem ll is the second-oldest club in the Netherlands and was voted the second-best youth academy there behind the celebrated Ajax Amsterdam system.
Only Ajax Amsterdam have more players in their first team who came out of their own youth programme.
Jamaal Seymour, David Lee and Martin Webb were selected based on their technical and tactical skills by Dutch coach Roy Wilhelm in December.
Seymour and Webb, both 17, head for Holland on 1 March for two-week trials with top clubs through coach Wilhelm, who is based there. Wilhelm is a regular visitor to Grand Cayman and spent the last three months of last year here to help improve local standards mainly through the funding of Academy Sports Club. Academy Sports Club goalkeeper David Lee, 15, goes at the end of March.
If Seymour and Lee impress, they will earn a longer stay, possibly joining Willem 11 Tilburg’s youth academy.
The trip is costing more than $2,000 per player. Jamaal’s dad, coach Ernie “Gillie” Seymour is technical director at Cayman Athletic.
Gillie said: “So far Jamaal’s mother has obtained the $1,200 ticket to travel by taking out a loan. It’s just other miscellaneous money we could use right now, which I’m hoping we’ll get before we leave.
“We have a lot of sponsorship letters out and we’re just hoping for feedback from them.
“I texted the Minister of Sports Mark Scotland and I’m supposed to meet with him to see what he can do to assist the boys going over,” he added. “Martin is a midfielder with Academy and he is playing well and so too is Jamaal, who is a right winger who is good on the left wing too and he is with Cayman Athletic. Both are working on building up their fitness capacity.
“The skills are there but they need some more power and endurance training. Coach Roy impressed on Jamaal the need to use his left foot and he has been working really hard to improve,” he said. “In fact, Jamaal scored a fantastic goal against Academy last week, a full left-footed volley. He took it well and that was the deciding goal.”