Youth football is reaching unprecedented levels in the Cayman Islands and a new tournament next month will ensure that standards are raised by the visit of two professional teams.
The 2014 C3 Cayman International Youth football tournament will be held from Feb. 18-22.
Teams participating in this inaugural tournament are the Cayman Islands Select team that performed admirably in the CONCACAF Under-15 Championships in August, the U-15 team from English League 1 outfit Swindon Town that previously toured the Cayman Islands in 2012 and 2013, and the U-15 team from Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo from Houston, Texas. The three teams will compete in a round-robin format.
Swindon Town will arrive on Feb. 16 and Houston Dynamo three days later. The Swindon Town youngsters will play Cayman Select on Feb. 18 and Houston Dynamo on Feb. 20.
The final game will be the Cayman Islands Select versus Houston Dynamo on Feb. 22. All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. at the TE McField Annex Field in George Town and will be preceded by games featuring the best U-14 and U-13 Caymanian players.
Grasspiece Promotions along with major sponsors C3 High Speed Internet, TV and Phone, platinum sponsors Pepsi, Aquafina and the Ministry of Health, Sports, Youth and Culture, in association with the Cayman Islands Football Association, Sunset Football Club, and a number of other corporate sponsors, are presenting the tournament.
C3’s managing director Randy Merren said, “C3 is proud to be the premier sponsors of the 2014 Cayman International Youth Football Tournament, which not only promotes local talent but also gives our players the opportunity to develop their skills against overseas competition.
“We encourage everyone to come out and support the teams. Patrons will be given the opportunity to ‘kick to win’ during half-time of each game and have a chance to take home a flat screen television or tablet to enjoy C3’s digital TV services.
“It takes discipline, perseverance and local support to reach a goal and we think this tournament is a direct representation of the values of this company.”
In addition to the three games, coaches from the visiting teams will be conducting free camps for players and local coaches on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the TE McField Annex Field and Ed Bush Stadium.
“It’s gearing up to be a very exciting and entertaining week for youth football,” said Grasspiece Promotions spokesman Neil Murray. “Thanks to major sponsors C3 and other corporate sponsors, we are able to once again showcase Cayman’s talented youngsters in action against top opposition from the United Kingdom and for the first time, opposition from the United States.”
The Swindon Town team features three prominent Caymanians – Sebastian Martinez, Kray Foster and Nathan Borde.
Unfortunately for Foster, an injury sustained last month will keep him out of action for three months and he will be unable to participate.
Martinez has been with Swindon Town’s Youth Academy since October 2011. His contract was made possible by Swindon Town’s talent scout and former Swindon midfielder and Jamaican international Fitzroy Simpson.
It was Simpson’s recommendation for Martinez to be signed by Swindon Town which was supported by the Cayman Islands government and through a collaborative effort between the Ministries of Youth and Sports, Education and Development, and his parents, his continued education was made possible.
Borde joined Swindon Town’s Youth Academy five months ago after spending time with Sheffield Wednesday’s Youth Academy.
As with Martinez and Foster, Borde’s acceptance at Swindon Town’s Youth Academy was through Simpson’s input.
The tournament will mark the first time that the U-15 team from the Houston Dynamo has played in Cayman.
Three months ago Sunset Football Club traveled to Houston with U-13 and U-15 teams and played practice matches against sides from the Dynamo’s Youth Academy. Sunset will host the visitors from Texas on this trip.
Tickets for the tournament are $25 for the three games or $10 per game and are available at the gate. Children under 13 will be charged $1 at the gate. All proceeds from the event will cover expenses for the visiting teams.
For further information on the tournament and camps, contact 925-3323 or email [email protected]
Teams participating in this inaugural tournament are the Cayman Islands Select team that performed admirably in the CONCACAF Under-15 Championships in August, the U-15 team from English League 1 outfit Swindon Town that previously toured the Cayman Islands in 2012 and 2013 and the U-15 team from Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo from Houston, Texas.