The Cayman Islands national U-15 team recently returned from a five-day Celtic FC ID Camp at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where they developed their skills and also used the opportunity “as a stepping stone to the ultimate CONCACAF U-15 Boys Championship in August,” a press release states.

Head coach Bruce Sigsworth noted that the Celtic Football Club ID Camp in Bradenton is hosted at the same location as the August CONCACAF tournament, so this allowed the boys and coaches to familiarize themselves with the facilities.

The trip “was both a challenging and rewarding experience for the boys individually and as a team, learning their strengths and where there is need for improvement,” the coach said in a press release.

The camp, June 8-12, involved expert field sessions, sport psychology sessions and 1-2-1’s with professional coaches.

Luke Byles, 15, said, “We were able to showcase the skills we have developed over the last four years of training together in a new environment and in front of professional coaches.”

Sigsworth noted before the trip how resources such as goalkeeping coaches would be heavily used since “they are a resource hard to find in the Cayman Islands.”

National goalkeeper Theo Ritch-Whiteside said, “Gaining goalkeeping specific training was a new and welcome experience, and allowed me to fully focus and tailor training to my needs, while identifying how I can work with the defensive players and keep a clean sheet in future.”

Team manager Marilyn Conolly noted that in addition to technical skills, the camp contributed to the boys’ social development.

“This experience developed many of the social and mental skills such as leadership, commitment, personal responsibility and discipline needed to succeed in August,” she said. “The boys have been provided with expert knowledge and an environment with which they can develop not only as individuals, but as a team.”

For the next phase of preparation, the team trained in a local camp from June 30-July 3.

In the CONCACAF championship in August, the Cayman team will play in the third division against some of the best young players in fixtures against Aruba, Bonaire and St. Martin, a press release states.

“It is such an important milestone for these talented players, who will hopefully move on to play in the U-17 World Cup Qualifiers and one day be a strong national senior team,” the press release states.

Organizers thanked the Cayman Islands Ministry of Sports and all sponsors for their support.

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