Aspiring Cayman footballer Brandyn Murray had the unique opportunity to train with professional and semi-professional teams in Germany and England recently.
Murray’s preparations included early morning training sessions at the TE McField Annex and beach sessions with former Cayman internationals Lee Ramoon and Colin “Dougie” Rowe.
In June, Brandyn spent a week with FC Augsburg’s Under-23 team in Augsburg, Germany and four days with SV Pullach in Munich.
Augsburg are a Bundesliga 1 side and their U-23 team play in the German fourth division. SV Pullach play in the Bayern League South, Circle Class (equivalent to Division 5).
At Augsburg, guided by U-23 head coach Dieter Märkle and assistant coach Oliver Beer, Murray underwent five days of high-intensity training at the FC Augsburg Youth Facility.
As the squad was already in their second week of pre-season training, the sessions were extremely technical and physically demanding and Murray, 20, took a few days to adapt to the speed of German football.
By the second day, he had adjusted his game and adapted quite comfortably in meshing with the squad.
He learned a number of technical drills involving quick passing, ball control, positional play, possession and movements without the ball, mixed in with weight training, calisthenics and yoga.
At SV Pullach, under head trainer Frank Schmöller, Murray trained for four days with the semi-pro outfit before heading over to England on July 3.
The trip was made possible with the financial support from Grasspiece Promotions and some local companies and individuals.
The training in Germany was arranged through Joseph Albersinger, a former resident of the Cayman Islands, who returned there 12 years ago to complete his UEFA coaching licences.
In England, Murray was based in Swindon in the south and traveled to Macclesfield Town in the north-west, just south of Manchester. Macclesfield Town play in the Conference Premier, the English league’s fifth tier and they are managed by John Askey.
Murray spent two weeks with the Silkmen along with several other hopefuls and quickly learned that at this level, unlike Germany, it is very physical.
The training experience in England was arranged through Fitzroy Simpson, who is responsible for the placement of the three Caymanian youngsters at Swindon Town’s Youth Academy and one Caymanian youngster at Reading’s Youth Academy.
Simpson has developed the relationship between Swindon Town Youth Academy and the football fraternity in the Cayman Islands through Grasspiece Promotions.
These trips were the second time this year that Murray has got this type of professional experience.
In March, he was invited to a two-day try-out with the Orlando City Soccer U-23 team in Sanford, Florida. Orlando City was recently awarded the next Major League Soccer expansion franchise and will join the American professional league next year.
Murray said, “It was an awesome experience, especially in Germany where I felt more comfortable with the style of football FC Augsburg and SV Pullach play. I am small in stature and prefer the technical aspect of football where I can use my passing and speed rather than my physical attributes.
“The reviews and comments I received from the coaches in Germany were positive so I hope to return to Germany next summer to secure a few try-outs. We’ll see what happens.”
Murray is planning to return to Germany next summer for try-outs when he completes his sophomore year at college.