Magnificent seven impressed

A group of Caymanian footballers were recently in England having trials at two Championship pro clubs and really impressed.

Jonah Ebanks, Julian Moxam, Zachary Scott, Elijah Seymour, Vincent Lachance and Corey Mellaneo from Academy Sports Club and Leighton Thomas from Future spent two weeks at Watford and Ipswich Town over the Easter school break.

The boys, who are all a part of Excel Sports Management’s elite football development programme, were played in front of professional academy coaches and directors.

Excel Sports Management is a local football development company founded by Academy Sports Club coach Virgil Seymour.

“I want to provide young people with something more than the local clubs can offer,” Seymour says.

“There is no established youth national programme at present and the competition locally is not adequate to develop talented young footballers to the level they need to be.”

ESM provides intense training and development that combines field work, fitness, strength, endurance and sports psychology to prepare locals for trials and transition to English academy football or recruitment to NCAA colleges in the US.

“Our goal is help players reach the highest level they can reach, not everyone is going to end up at the same place, but everyone deserve the opportunity to go as far as they can go” says Seymour.

“The boys did well in England and we are currently negotiating placement opportunities for several of them.

“Overall the experience was a wonderful learning opportunity. All the boys got a taste of professional academy life and are now better prepared if the opportunity comes their way.

“Both Watford and Ipswich Town were impressed with our talent and want to continue to see Cayman players come their way.”

Along with technical, tactical and speed training sessions, the boys participated in daily classroom sessions on topics such as nutrition, communication, and sports psychology.

A comment from Ipswich Town’s Education and Child Welfare office, David Baynes-Robinson reflects ESM’s emphasis not only on football development, but more importantly growing solid citizens for Cayman.

“The behaviour and manners shown by the lads throughout their visit to Ipswich was a credit to themselves, their family, their clubs and indeed the people of the Cayman Islands,” Baynes-Robinson said.

Ipswich Town has expressed interest in a partnership with Academy Sports Club and a contingent from the club will be visiting Cayman later this month to meet with Academy coaches and its board of directors, as well as watch training sessions and friendly matches. ESM is for any football player who wants to develop.

“My heart is with Academy Sports Club and I remain fully involved as Volunteer Youth Director, but ESM allows me to work with elite players from all over the island to develop their talent,” says Seymour.

“ESM would like to thank the many people who supported the boys’ travel expenses, including Island Taste, McAlpine, Cayman Screen Print, Affinity Personnel Services, Crighton Properties, Small’s Construction, Balaclava Jewelry, The Meridian, Lee McLaughlin, Bruce Blake, Lloyd Shaw, Mike & Melissa McWatt, Raymond Whittaker, Maria Swing, Randy Merren and the entire Academy Sports Club family.”

For more information about ESM contact [email protected]

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