The Cayman Airways Youth Invitational Under-14 Cup tournament kicked off at the TE McField Annex on Tuesday evening, but the Cayman Select B team had an unhappy start against a professional academy from England.
The Cayman Airways Youth Invitational Cup is being contested by Charlton Athletic (UK), Real Espana (Honduras), Harbour View (Jamaica), IMG Academy (United States) and Cayman Islands A and B teams.
Trinidad and Tobago were scheduled to play but could not make the trip so a Cayman B squad was belatedly put together.
Charlton beat Cayman B 4-1 but considering the south London side has been playing together for years at a much higher level and the local team’s players were thrown together mainly came from Bodden Town and also Future, Elite and Cayman Athletic, it was no disgrace.
Cayman were a goal down at half time and equalized through Ackeem Hydes in the 49th minute. But Charlton poured on the pressure and a hat-trick by striker Kareem Isiaka (4th, 59th, 68th mins) and another from Luke Carey (65th min) sealed the victory.
Gonzalo McLaughlin is the Cayman B head coach. “We should have stepped up the tempo and been a bit more composed towards the end,” he said. “But when we equalized we dropped our level of play and lost concentration.”
McLaughlin felt that Cayman B lost their structure a little late in the game as well, with individuals trying to impress rather than contribute to team success.
Nevertheless, he felt it was a good learning experience for the youngsters.
Virgil Seymour was the assistant coach. He is also head coach of the Cayman A team. “Getting a win was not as important as learning from the experience,” Seymour said. “This tournament is all about development. From this game, we can see that we are not far off their level.”
In the earlier game, Isaac Rodriquez (61st min) gave Deportivo Real Espana a win in the opening match. Rodriquez tucked away a chance for a 1-0 victory over Harbour View.
Matches resume at the same venue on Thursday. IMG play Cayman B at 6 p.m. and Cayman A play Harbour View in the 7.30 p.m. kick off.