Some of the world’s most talented teenage footballers will be competing in a youth tournament in Grand Cayman next month.
Five regional and international clubs are set to play in the inaugural Cayman Airways Invitational Youth Cup which kicks off on May 6.
Teams from Charlton Athletic (England), IMG Academy (United States), Real Club Deportivo España (Honduras), Harbour View (Jamaica) and St Clair’s Coaching School (Trinidad and Tobago) will be in Grand Cayman for the five-day tournament that includes the Cayman Islands national Under-14 squad.
“Attracting high level competition to Cayman is a pillar of the Football Association’s plan to build our next generation of national players,” said CONCACAF and Cayman Islands Football Association President Jeffrey Webb.
“Kudos to the organizers, West Bay Sports Foundation and Academy Sports Club along with the sponsors for their commitment to youth development. CIFA supports this and any initiative that will assist with the development of Cayman’s young players.”
“The lineup of teams is an impressive one and will pose a challenge for the national U-14 youth team, but with local support, I know our boys will give their best,” said the director of the National Youth program, Ardin “Cheeky” Rivers.
Academy Sports Club, a regular competitor in overseas tournaments, initiated the contacts with the regional and international clubs and have worked with the West Bay Sports Foundation to produce the tournament, with a scope never seen locally before.
Virgil Seymour, Academy Sports Club technical director, said, “We are excited for our local players that they have this opportunity to play in a tournament of this level.”
Many Academy youngsters have had tryouts with top clubs in Europe in recent years and it seems only a matter of time before they start signing as pros.
”This will be a great experience, not only for the players but also for the local community to have this exposure,” Seymour said. “We encourage everyone to come out to support the Cayman U-14 team. We have to also thank our generous sponsors for making this event possible.”
Fabian Whorms, chief executive officer of Cayman Airways said, ““We are honoured to be the title sponsor for this tournament and understand the importance of supporting youth sports programmes in the Cayman Islands.”