Caribbean test for Under-15s

The Cayman Islands Under-15 national boys football team is competing in the 2015 Caribbean Football Union U-15 Championships in St. Maarten and Anguilla from Saturday. 

With the traditional CONCACAF U-15 Championships postponed this year, the CFU has organized a scaled-down version of the competition with 12 countries participating. 

The countries are divided into three groups. Group 1: Anguilla, Cayman Islands, St. Lucia and the United States Virgin Islands; Group 2: Bonaire, Dominican Republic, Grenada, and St. Kitts and Nevis; and Group 3: Antigua and Barbuda, Curacao, St. Maarten, and St. Vincent and The Grenadines. 

Countries in Group 1 will play their games in Anguilla while Group 2 and Group 3 will be stationed in St. Maarten. Cayman begin the competition against St. Lucia this Saturday at 3 p.m. local time. Then they face the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sunday at 3 p.m. Their final group game will be against hosts Anguilla on Monday at 5 p.m. 

The top two countries from each group will advance to the quarterfinals scheduled for Wednesday of next week with the semifinals on Friday and the championship game on Sunday. The quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game will be played in St. Maarten. 

With only two weeks to prepare the team due to the extremely short notice given by the CFU, the coaching staff of Ernie “Gillie” Seymour (head coach), Antwan “Chico” Seymour (assistant coach and manager) and Bruce Sigsworth (assistant coach), are confident the local boys will be competitive and acquit themselves well. 

The majority of this squad has been training and playing together for four years and have competed in a number of local and overseas tournaments in preparation for occasions such as this. 

Bruce Blake is the Cayman Islands Football Association’s vice president and interim president. He said, “With the postponement of the CONCACAF Boys’ U-15 Championships, we were committed to finding a tournament for our national team to compete in. 

“We are pleased that the CFU stepped in to organise a Caribbean version. I am most grateful to Martin Cooke, Ernie Seymour, Antwan Seymour and Bruce Sigsworth for pulling everything together on such short notice and wish the team all the best.” 

Participating in the Under 15 Championships will be an excellent opportunity for the coaching staff and players to gauge their performance against other Caribbean competition as they prepare for the CFU U-17 World Cup playoffs in a year’s time. 

The squad of 18 players leave for St. Maarten on Thursday. 

Callhan Studenhofft tries to save a shot by Corey Mellaneo in training.
Callhan Studenhofft tries to save a shot by Corey Mellaneo in training.