Cayman’s youth footballers gear up for U-14 tournament

Just a few weeks after an international youth football tournament brought the Manchester City youth team to Cayman, more overseas teams will arrive on island this month to take part in the Cayman Airways Invitational U-14 Youth Cup 2016.

British teams Tottenham Hotspur and Gillingham FC, Cavaliers SC and Harbour View FC from Jamaica, and IFFDC and Rev Soccer from the U.S. will join local players from Academy Sports Club and Sunset FC in the third U-14 international invitational June 20-25.

Paul Byles, Academy Sports Club U-15 coach, said his team is looking forward to pitting its players’ “skills and determination against the experienced and talented international teams playing in this year’s tournament.”

He added, “The opposition gets tougher every year, and once again we can anticipate an exciting and intense five days of competition.”

At the U-15 tournament last month, Academy performed well in its group, which included Club Deportivo from Honduras, MLS youth team Seattle Sounders, and IMG Academy based in Orlando.

Academy drew all of its matches, ending with three points and placing third in its group.

“We are very proud of the team’s performance, said Byles. “Competing in these types of events is all part of their development and every player benefits regardless of the actual result of the match.

“It’s a nice bonus when the results are also impressive when you take into account that we played against professional and semi-professional teams.”

Byles said the players received a lot of support from the local crowd at all the games and this created a great atmosphere for the team.”

He said many on the team who played in U-15 tournament were 14 years old and so will be able to play in this month’s tournament as well. Other younger Academy players will also be playing in the U-14 tournament, giving them an opportunity to gain experience in international competition.

“The average age of our squad will be lower in June because we have added a number of 13 year olds to the team so that they can also benefit from this type of exposure,” Byles said.

“Our participation in the June U-14 tournament is a big part of our summer preparations but it is also a unique opportunity for the players to experience exposure against some of the top international teams such as Tottenham Hotspur from the U.K.,” he added.

He said Academy is ultimately preparing for its annual summer tournament, which this year will be a return to the USA Cup in Blaine, Minnesota.

This year, Academy will be taking four teams to Minnesota, with players ranging in age from 8 to 15.

Last year, Academy won the U-12 Gold Championships at the USA Cup and the year before were U-13 silver champions.

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