Tibbetts, 12, invited by Swindon

The first step toward a potential professional career in English football is an exciting development for a Cayman schoolboy.

Barry Dre Tibbetts impressed Swindon Town’s coaches so much when they played in a tournament here last month that he has been invited for a tryout in the summer.

Swindon plays in League One, English football’s third tier.

Tibbetts, 12, will go for a two-week trial in August. He showed his skills as a central midfielder when Swindon held a camp for around 150 hopefuls. Tibbetts plays for Elite Sports Club in West Bay and is coached by his father Barry and by Arden “Cheeky” Rivers in the Under-13 side.

“This is awesome,” coach Tibbetts said. “I’ve never seen a young man at his age so passionate about the game. Dre has blossomed into an exceptional player.”

“Dre is very talented and has good composure, and this is a much better opportunity to excel,” said Elite technical director Greg Ebanks, who feels Tibbetts needs to work on his speed and power to improve.

Sebastian Martinez, Kray Foster and Nathan Borde are all Caymanians doing well at Swindon’s academy, and Ebanks hopes Tibbetts can emulate them.

Elite president Martha Godet said, “The executive members of Elite are proud of Dre on his accomplishment thus far, and we are confident that he will succeed as his passion for the sport is what has made him become a great player today.

“We thank our coaches and parents for their continued contribution and support with Elite youth programs.”

Ebanks said other kids at the camp were closely watched, but there was something special that Dre demonstrated that prompted the invitation to England.

“I applaud Dre and wish him well with this opportunity,” he said. “I am confident that he will do well. He is very composed and has a lot of confidence, good vision and insight.”

Ebanks also appreciates Tibbetts’s determination to win.

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