CONCACAF girls get their chance

The inaugural Girls Under-15 Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football tournament will be staged in a couple of months and there was an unveiling of the competition’s logo at the Marriott Hotel on Monday night.  

Matches will be played from Aug. 6-13 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, TE McField Annex, Ed Bush stadium and the recently upgraded Cayman Brac Play Field.  

Cayman Islands are in Group A with Curacao, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. Group B consists of Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Bermuda. Group C comprises of Jamaica, Costa Rica, Anguilla and Belize and Group D includes Canada, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

The whole Cayman squad attended the launch and were given an encouraging speech by Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden who was accompanied on the top table with the Chairwoman of the Local Organizing Committee, Sharon Roulstone.  

Bodden said he is looking forward to this tournament and can scarcely believe that it is almost a year since the inaugural Boys U-15 CONCACAF tournament was held here so successfully.  

He said that his ministry is excited about a summer of football, starting with the World Cup in Brazil next week, then local summer camps and finally the CONCACAF tournament.  

The tournament will be another boost to Cayman’s ever growing reputation as an excellent destination for sports tourism Bodden said.  

Honduras captured the CONCACAF Boys Under-15 Championship. That tournament and the girls’ version are key elements of CONCACAF’s commitment to development through competition for players aged 13-15. 

“I think January was our crowning moment with the Women’s U-20 CONCACAF tournament,” Bodden said. “We had international TV coverage (ESPN) and showed just what the Cayman Islands could do. I know that a lot of people thought that we couldn’t pull some of these things off. And we thought so too!” 

He added, “With a lot of resources, government support and CONCACAF support and all the people that took part to make it happen, it was a tremendous success.”  

Bodden said he is pleased with the amount of high level football in Cayman recently, including last month’s Digicel Kickstart program involving Chelsea’s youth coaches. 

He added that these types of tournaments are great opportunities for Cayman children, regardless of the income bracket of their families or their gender.  

The fact that the Group D matches will be held in Cayman Brac is a plus too, Bodden said, and testament to all the hard work Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell has done to get the playing field up to international standards.  

Bodden said that it was an honor and privilege to be hosting this tournament and thanked CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, a Caymanian businessman, for giving Cayman another revenue booster and raising its profile again.  

“We are thrilled to be back in the Cayman Islands for what is sure to be another successful youth event,” said Webb. “What really stands out about this tournament is the quantity of teams, the number of players who will be exposed to international competition and the development that stands to take place as a result.” 

He signed off by encouraging the girls to take advantage of this experience to cement friendships and possibly work towards gaining football scholarships to U.S. colleges in the future.  

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Osbourne Bodden, left, and Sharon Roulstone, right, were at the logo launch with Cayman’s Under-15 girls. – PHOTO: RON SHILLINGFORD
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