Cayman’s best Under-15 footballers were busy last week playing in Las Vegas and against visiting international opposition here. But the side that went to Nevada did not do as well as they hoped.
They came fourth in the 2015 Mayor’s Cup International Showcase in Vegas having won two, drawn one and lost twice.
This was the third successive year that the team competed in the popular youth football tournament that attracts teams from all over the world and their first time in the U-15 division.
The 25 boys and coaches Ernie “Gillie” Seymour, Antwan “Chico” Seymour and Ken Downey and team manager Norman Joseph, plus a number of parents, were brimming with pride and high hopes a week earlier.
The Mayor’s Cup International Showcase is one of two annual football tournaments co-hosted by the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club and the City of Las Vegas, the other being the International Tournament, played in October.
Each year, the tournament welcomes amateur and professional clubs from Brazil, Canada, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Poland, France, Australia, Dominican Republic, Denmark and Africa.
The U-15s from the Cayman Islands youth football program have been together for four years, training once a week and playing in as many friendly games and competitions with local and foreign teams as possible, in preparation for tournaments such as the Mayor’s Cup.
The Caymanian youngsters defeated Eastside Memorial from Canada 4-0 in a friendly game and Maryland United Red 3-1 in the consolation game, drew 3-3 with the California Rush Miglietti from California, and lost to America Colorado Inter from Colorado 2-1 and eventual group winners and semifinalists NSYSL Cordica 00 from Nevada 1-0.
At least the youngsters were true ambassadors for the Cayman Islands as they represented their country superbly on and off the field in Vegas.
Tournaments such as the Mayor’s Cup serve as valuable experience for the players against different styles and strategies.
Although disappointed with the results, head coach Gillie said, “The games we lost were very evenly contested and if we had cut down on mistakes we could have won both games and advanced. But that’s how cruel football can be.
“We played some good football at times and I was very pleased with a majority of our players.”
Seymour added that many of these players will be representing Cayman in this summer’s CONCACAF U-15 tournament and he hopes that this experience will benefit their preparations.
The trip to Las Vegas was financed through corporate sponsorship and fundraising efforts by the program’s players, parents and coaches.