The recent formation of an Under-15 national football programme by the Cayman Islands Football Association is indicative of its commitment to developing the game locally at youth level.
The intention is to keep the youngsters together after the CONCACAF U-15 tournament in Grand Cayman in August, so that they progress smoothly to international level in the U-17s and eventually into the seniors.
Ardin “Cheeky” Rivers is the former senior national team member who is now the technical director for the programme.
Assisting Rivers in preparing the youngsters for the tournament are former national senior players Dion Brandon, Michael Johnson, Vincent Mitchell and former Cuban national team keeper Alexis Reve, who will be the goalkeeper coach.
Other staff include advisers Roy “Huta” Ebanks and Virgil Seymour, team manager Owen Dinnall and equipment manager Avril Meyers.
Rivers and his staff have scouted players from the U-15 leagues and players will be selected from Cayman Athletic, Academy, Bodden Town, Future and Scholars International.
The team will compete in the inaugural CONCACAF U-15 tournament in the Cayman Islands between 11 and 25 August.
CIFA acting general secretary Paul Macey is coordinating the tournament through an organising committee headed by Bruce Black, the first vice president.
Macey said: “This is a huge undertaking by CIFA, but the committee is confident that we will be able to stage a tournament that will reflect well on the Cayman Islands.”
Rivers said: “It’s an exciting period for football here. This squad boasts the islands’ best players at this age group and they are working extremely hard to prove that they deserve a spot on the team.
“We train twice a week and they are working on improving their technique, tactics and positioning as well as their fitness.
“We have a arranged a number of practice games and a possible training camp in the coming weeks.”
As part of their preparations, the U-15 side will play a team from CD Victoria from La Ceiba, Honduras at the end of June.
Fifteen teams are expected to compete here with Cayman.