Around 160 players and 200 spectators participated in Academy Sports Club’s first Corporate Cup seven-a-side tournament held last week at the Academy field on Outpost Road.
There were 16 teams in the tournament organised to raise money to support Academy’s five youth teams to compete at the Disney Cup in Orlando in July.
The event was organised by Academy Under-13 coach Paul Byles, who led a committee of board members and coaches.
“Based on the feedback we received, the event was a huge success and the players enjoyed the day which was one of our objectives,” Byles said.
He added that the intention was to have a well-organised event where teams had all the support they needed and could just focus on play and rest in between their games.
The tournament was organised in four groups and essentially followed a world cup pool format, but with group winners going straight to the semifinals.
The games were played in eight minute halves and the agenda was jam packed and exciting but tightly managed.
CML Claymores, Digicel, Butterfield Dragons and Ritz-Carlton Lions won their respective groups.
Burger King, BDO Boys, Caledonian and Caribbean Impact were the group runners up.
In the semifinals, Butterfield beat Digicel in a hard fought match which went to extra time and then penalties.
In the other semifinal, Ritz-Carlton Lions, who won every game in their group matches, continued their winning streak during the tournament by beating CML Claymores to get to the finals.
The final, which was refereed by youth ref Thompson Hew, was a tight match with the winning goal coming from the Ritz-Carlton Lions seconds from the end.
One of the achievements of the day, according to Byles, was the role played by the youth referees who were Ryan Burke, Hew, Sean Whewell and Adbul Patterson.
“Our Under-17 coach Glen Whewell arranged for qualified youth referees, three of whom are Academy players, to officiate all the matches,” Byles said.
“For me it was an extraordinary performance from these teenagers. They kept the games on schedule and handled 27 matches in four and a half hours very effectively. We are all very proud of them.”
Academy head coach Virgil Seymour said: “We are very grateful to the business community for participating in the event and based on feedback received we will definitely be having another event before the year is out.
“Giving our players aged from 8 to 17 years old the international experience playing abroad is very important for their football development and this type of support makes that a reality.”
Butterfield Dragons player Dwight Moxam said: “Not only is this for a great cause, it’s been a long time that I have participated in a tournament where it ran like clockwork. It was a wonderful day and always great when it’s to support the kids”.
Other participating teams were Affordable Insurance, Island Builders, Solomon Harris, Deloitte, Security Centre, Maples Fiduciary, Crighton Properties and a team from the C4C.
Academy Sports Club is one of Cayman’s leading youth focused football clubs. The club’s U-14 team recently performed well against visiting English professional club Swindon Town in a match at the Annex, which ended in a 2-2 draw.