Academy Sports Club is introducing children as young as 4 years old to structured football to give them a better chance of excelling in the sport as they get older.
Organizers say this will help fill a void that has always been a problem in the Cayman Islands. While other countries have already thoroughly instilled in their juniors the fundamentals at an extremely young age, Cayman youngsters who had not done the same are always playing catch up, the club’s director of football, Virgil Seymour, reasons.
“Academy believes our country’s youth football development ideas have to focus on more frequency of games for our young players if they are going to stand any chance of being competitive with other countries both in the region and further afield,” Mr. Seymour said.
Academy is expanding its already highly successful junior programs to the extent that virtually every child with an interest in football can now slot into one of the club’s numerous initiatives.
The CUC Primary Football League has just started and caters for 9-11 year olds but there are plenty of younger kids who want to play in structured games, hence, Academy’s two innovative leagues.
The “FUNdamental” program is for players aged 4-5 year olds and focuses on developing basic skills and a love of the game.
The Academy In-House League is for those aged 6-8 looking for an opportunity to play frequent games, improve technique while learning the importance of being on a team.
The programs launched at Academy’s ground on Outpost Road on Saturday, with more than 90 children registered.
There are currently eight teams in the In-House League which can accommodate up to 10 teams. There are still some places left in the In-House League, organizers said.
Academy Sports Club is a non-profit organization lead by a board of directors, which includes Dale Crighton, Dave Scott, Sandra Whittaker, Dean Scott, Richard Hew and Uche Obi and a team of volunteer youth coaches including Virgil Seymour, Paul Byles, Glenn Whewell, Rohan Lewis and Fabian Malcolm.
The leagues are the brainchild of Mr. Seymour, who realized from his own playing days that learning the basics at the earliest opportunity is the key to progressing faster and to a higher level in the sport.
He said, “The idea and partial thought process for the program was discussed over a year ago with the current Director of National Teams Renard Moxam and subsequently the club’s board of directors decided to expand upon it and move the idea into an active project for the club.
“Sponsorship from Circle Square Development Ltd has made this expansion possible.”
Academy has also recently started a girls’ Under-15 team and will be relaunching its Special Needs Football For All program in the coming weeks.
Mr. Seymour’s philosophy of developing juniors has paid off. Several Academy players are currently based in the U.K., including his own 15-year-old old son Elijah, who recently joined North London professional academy Barnet, and Zachary Scott, 16, who joined Chelsea Football Club’s Foundation program last month.
For more information on Academy programs, email: [email protected]