Cayman’s youth football players impressed at the Disney Cup.
More than 70 up-and-coming Cayman Islands stars left their hearts on the field, participating in the famed Disney Cup international youth soccer tournament in Orlando, Florida last month. This long-standing tournament attracts youth teams from more than 20 countries internationally, including Canada, the United States, Venezuela, Brazil and Costa Rica.
Growing into one of the largest tournaments of its kind, Under-9 through Under-19 youth teams play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, located in central Florida.
Offering youngsters a unique opportunity to play on professional fields and make it to the “big screen”, Cayman’s Academy Sports Club travelled to the prestigious event to represent the territory in a five-day tournament.
With five boys teams participating from Cayman in the U10, U12, U13, U15 and U16 categories, the territory fielded one of the largest contingents at the tournament. Head coach Virgil Seymour said he was pleased with the results from his players, saying, “it is with great pride that I congratulate all our players on their success at the Disney Cup. In only our second year participating, the talent and dedication from the players was very impressive.”
The U10 team achieved the highest tournament ranking of their Cayman teammates, losing only in the gold medal match to a team from Venezuela. All Academy Sports Club teams played in the premier division, the highest level of the tournament, which is indicative of past performance.
Paul Byles served as the U10 coach and said, “I am so pleased with the passion on the field displayed by the U10 players. Their attitude both on and off the pitch was a true reflection of their Caymanian roots and I am looking forward to working again with this great group of kids.
“The U12 team played very well in a large and tough group. The club is also very proud of their performance, they performed well in their group and we are looking forward to the next tournament.”
The U13s were runners-up in the silver finals, the U15s were runners-up in silver finals and the U16s were gold semifinalists. Aside from Byles and Seymour, other Academy coaches included Ken Downey (U13) and Glen Whewell (U16).
News of Academy’s success comes as Cayman football braces for its biggest youth competition of the year. The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Under-15 tournament features 24 teams competing in Grand Cayman between 13 and 25 August.
Cayman is in Group A against Aruba, Bahamas, Bermuda, St. Marteen and the US Virgin Islands. Cayman’s first game is on Tuesday, 13 August, at 7.30pm against St. Marteen at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.