Cayman’s Under-15 girl footballers are in serious preparation for the inaugural CONCACAF tournament in their age group that is being held here next month.
They have been training at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex for the tournament, which runs from Aug. 6-13.
Matches will be played there as well as the TE McField Annex, Ed Bush stadium and the recently upgraded Cayman Brac Play Field.
Cayman are in Group A with Curacao, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. Group B has 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.
Canada-based Ruben Flores is Cayman’s head coach. He said the girls will begin training twice daily from next week when the squad of 33 is whittled down to the final 18.
“It’s a big, very talented group and I’m really excited to have them because I believe it is a great group for the near future,” he said adding that some girls are as young as 11 which means they will be eligible to play at U-15 level for the next few years.
Flores lives just outside Toronto where his main job is technical director for the World Soccer Club, overseeing 4,500 kids.
Cayman’s assistant coach of this squad is Walter Hernandez. “The girls are coming on well, we’ve got a good group going on,” he said. “I think they will do great. I’ve been looking at the other rankings of the other teams we’re facing and I think we have a strong set of players in comparison.”
Bruce Blake is the Cayman Islands Football Association first vice-president. He said, “This is a development team and we expect the girls to compete at a high level in the tournament.
“We have realized that we have to give the players at the earliest age possible exposure to this kind of level of competition so that wen they graduate to U-17 and _U-20 level they will be more competitive against teams throughout the Caribbean and CONCACAF region.”