Roma must tackle Athletic’s youthful speed and finesse

The Premier League season sees its first clash of unbeaten teams, Roma United against Cayman Athletic.

The match at the TE McField Annex kicks off at 7 p.m. and a sizeable crowd is expected as both teams are always well supported.

Roma manager George Thomas is confident that his side’s vast experience will overcome Ernie “Gillie” Seymour’s youngsters.

“It will be very hard fought because both sides have won their two games,” Thomas said. “Athletic have a lot of speed and width from their young players but we can deal with their style.”

Thomas is impressed with Athletic’s youngsters, particularly Matthew Suberan, David Connolly, Joshua Frederick and goalkeeper Shakur Welcome.

Seymour said that his kids will have to adapt to Roma’s physical style and Thomas countered by saying that Roma will play with more finesse.

“Whatever it takes to win, we will find it,” Thomas said.

His knowledge of the game was increased after attending a CONCACAF four-day D License coaching course in the Cayman Islands last week.

The grassroots development course combined intensive classroom education sessions with practical work on the field, focusing on coaching techniques for anyone instructing children aged 6-12.

It was centered on encouraging greater participation in the game, while introducing fundamental technical skills. The course was attended by 29 coaches, who are already involved at local club level and was conducted by CONCACAF instructors Lenny Lake from St Kitts & Nevis and Neil Ellis from the United States.

“The instructors made us see football in a whole new light,” said Thomas. “The information enhanced our ability to teach our players and develop the right skills from a younger age.”

“Anyone aspiring to become a coach should take at least one course,” said Gisela Gamba, player-coach with Sunset Football Club and assistant national women’s coach. “Every day I see people volunteering as coaches. They have the best intentions, but they don’t have the basic understanding on how to coach young kids, or how to play football.”

That is a shortcoming which the Cayman Islands Football Association says it is keen to fix, through coaches’ certification.

“CIFA is committed to developing and certifying all coaches,” said first vice-president Bruce Blake. “From volunteer to professional, every coach in the Cayman Islands who is interacting with the youth should know how to teach the game correctly. This can only be achieved through proper training, certification, and assessment of our coaches.”

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