In preparation for the upcoming CONCACAF Under-15 Championships in August, the Cayman Islands Under-15 national football team will play two exhibition games next month.
Cayman will face their counterparts from Club Deportivo Victoria (CD Victoria) from La Ceiba, Honduras on Saturday, 6 July, at 7pm and Sunday, 7 July, at 6pm at the T.E. McField Annex in George Town.
As is the norm with clubs from Central America, CD Victoria is steeped in tradition. Often overshadowed by city rivals CD Vida, CD Victoria celebrates 78 years of existence this year.
Cayman technical director Arden “Cheeky” Rivers and his coaching staff – comprising Dion Brandon, Michael Johnson, Vincent Mitchell and Alexis Reve – have been putting the local boys through tough training recently.
Now able to train three times a week, a set pattern of play and intensity has begun to take shape in preparation for the tournament that runs from 15 to 25 August. Fifteen other teams will compete.
Rivers and his staff have carefully gathered this squad following several scouting exercises during the recently completed Cayman Islands Football Association U-15 League.
The squad includes players from many of the islands’ clubs, including Cayman Athletic, Academy, Bodden Town, Future, Sunset and Scholars International.
Rivers said: “The coaching staff and players are really looking forward to CD Victoria’s visit.
“Following the visit of CD Vida’s U-17 team in 2012, we experienced first-hand how Honduran youth teams play.
“Their speed, physicality and skill will present a few challenges for our local boys, but with these and other practice games, we are not focusing on final scores but more on how our boys perform.
“Experience is something you cannot teach on the practice field and these games will tell us how far we have come and what we need to focus on leading up to the tournament. We encourage the Cayman community to come out and support our youngsters.”
CIFA’s first vice president Bruce Blake said: “The U-15 national programme is the first phase of the re-branding of our national youth football programmes.
“We congratulate the staff and players for their commitment and professionalism in recent weeks.
“We encourage the public to stop by the training sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at the Annex beginning at 4pm to observe our youngsters in action and familiarise themselves with the players.
“CIFA encourages potential corporate sponsors of this programme to get on board.”