Brown gives quality thumbs up


The CONCACAF Under-15 football tournament has been a marvellous showpiece of all that is good in the sport, both on and off the pitch. 

Quality play, good sportsmanship and full houses at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, TE McField Annex and Ed Bush Stadium validates the commitment made by the Cayman Islands government, corporate sponsors and the local football association.  

Many visiting officials are impressed with the facilities, helpfulness of volunteers and officials and how well co-ordinated it all is.  

One official who is not surprised by the smooth running of this gigantic show though is Carl Brown. He was Cayman football’s technical director for four years until the end of 2011 and knows that when Cayman stages any sporting event, standards are high. 

Here with the CONCACAF technical committee’s study group, Brown is now based between Florida and Jamaica. His love for the sport is undiminished at 63 and he still coaches youngsters at Boys Town in Kingston. 

The inaugural CONCACAF U-15 tournament is long overdue in his opinion and is a superb opportunity to develop kids at a crucial age.  

“For quality in this tournament, you have to look at the south American teams,” Brown said. “El Salvador and Honduras are the two most impressive that I’ve seen. Also Martinique are coming into their own. They are the three outstanding teams so far.”  

As for players who have caught his eye, Brown is impressed with Cayman’s Leighton Thomas Jr. and he has always admired Sebastian Martinez, the tricky little winger making great progress at pro club Swindon Town in England.  

Brown also spotted the Bermuda midfielder Ogasi Bascombe as an exceptional talent. “He is always in total command of his team and really looks like the leader.  

“We have seen good individuals from different teams. Some teams seem to have more experience than others and it’s showing up in games.  

“What is interesting is that we are compiling the different age groups. It’s interesting to look at the average age of the teams. The more mature teams are performing better. That is one thing you want when coming to a tournament, players who are having their last chance at playing in a tournament.” 

Brown has a point. The US Virgin Islands are one of the youngest sides here, with some 13 year olds in their squad. Brown feels they will benefit from the exposure though.  

“This sort of exposure, you can’t pay for it anywhere else. You have to get into it and let them experience it. It will be great for their development.” 

Surprisingly, Brown is not impressed with Haiti, even though their passing game and ability to maintain possession was mesmerising at times in defeating Antigua and Barbuda 5-1 at the TE McField Annex on Saturday.  

“I’m a bit disappointed [in] what I’ve gotten from Haiti,” Brown added. “I really expected a lot more from them, particularly this age group.  

“Technically, they’ve always produced some sound players, but we haven’t seen that so far. Maybe it’s because they had just got in and played their first game which they lost to Martinique. Haiti are a team though that, as the tournament goes on, they could get better.” 

The fact that there is little or no dissent at the match officials augurs well, although Brown feels this is standard for this age range.  

“You’ll find at this age group that one of the things they do is respect the referees. I’m certain that the coaches spend a whole lot of time talking about that. Nobody wants to play in a tournament like this with nine against ten on the outfield. That is something that will have been emphasised by the coaches.” 

The fact that the crowds have been extremely supportive of their respective teams helps create a great atmosphere.  

“It is good that the people have turned out to watch it. We’re going to see Hondurans, Jamaicans and Caymanians whenever they play,” said Brown. “The bulk of the inhabitants here are from these countries, so it’s really not surprising that we see big crowds at their games.”  

Many visiting officials are impressed with the facilities, helpfulness of volunteers and officials and how well co-ordinated it all is.  


Carl Brown