The final four teams in the CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship joined Cayman’s own team in tournament celebrations at a reception at Pedro St. James Castle on Saturday night on the eve of the competition’s final.
Teams from Canada, Honduras, Trinidad and Haiti represented the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’s four finalists, with the final match between Haiti and Canada hosted on Sunday night.
In the semifinals, Canada beat Trinidad 1-0, and Haiti defeated Honduras 2-0.
Cayman was eliminated in the quarterfinals after Honduras defeated the girls 3-2 on Wednesday on home ground at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex with a 1,500-strong crowd.
The reception was attended by CONCACAF coaches and delegates, FIFA representatives, Minister of Sports Osbourne Bodden and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, and was entertained by the Cayman Steel Band.
Cayman coach Ruben Flores said he was extremely happy with the efforts and development of the girls.
“I said from the beginning they were going to do well, and I think most of what we saw on the field just shows how well we could do if we were prepared. We had little time,” Flores said.
“I am so proud, I am so happy. I feel very fortunate that I coached this group. It’s a new genre and I think this will change the face of football.”
CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, who was presented with awards from the deputy premier, said the foundation had been built on transparency, solidarity and trust.
“The tournament is a brainchild for us to continue to develop,” Webb said. “For us to achieve, it must not be about achieving for today, but achieving for successive planning, year after year.
“The Cayman team has won the hearts and the imaginations of this country,” he said.
Minister Bodden said Cayman has a strong future in football after government spent $1.5 million revamping West Bay’s Ed Bush Sports Centre to host last week’s tournament.
Costs included a 5,884-square-foot building that features private changing rooms that hold 20-person teams, a medical suite, an anti-doping control room, a referee dressing room, VIP reception area, secretariat suite and media/press conference room. He also commented on the promising future of Cayman football.
“We are really starting from scratch with it now. We’ve played football in this country for a long time, but we played for the love of it,” Mr. Bodden said.
“What we are doing, we have a ways to go.”
He said the future vision of football would include more infrastructure and developments in coaching.
“The way these young ladies handle themselves on and off the field is amazing,” Mr. Bodden said.
“Honduras, we’ll get you another time.”