After nearly two years of planning, the Dart Under-13 Boys and U-14 Girls High School football leagues kick off this week with girls’ games on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and boys’ games on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The leagues have been designed to assist with the development of youth football in Grand Cayman, a press release states. Games will be played during the week immediately after school and will continue until Wednesday, Nov. 22, and Thursday, Nov. 23.

High schools participating in the leagues include Clifton Hunter, John Gray, St. Ignatius Catholic School, Triple C, Cayman Prep and High School, Cayman International School and Cayman Academy.

Venues include fields at Clifton Hunter, St. Ignatius, Cayman International School (Dart Field), Cayman Prep High School, the Annex field and CIFA Centre of Excellence.

Organizers hope to emulate the various schoolboy leagues that are played in many of the Caribbean Islands, particularly the Manning and DaCosta Cups in Jamaica and the Secondary School Football League in Trinidad and Tobago. The local schools will be competing for the Dart Cup.

The blueprint for the local high school football leagues includes eventually establishing three age groups for the boys (U-13, U-15 and U-18) and a minimum of two leagues for the girls.

One significant improvement for high school football in the Cayman Islands that is not widely seen in other Caribbean islands is the addition of leagues for girls, the press release states. This will aid in the increase in the number of girls participating in the local club leagues overseen by the Cayman Islands Football Association.

CIFA’s full support of the Dart U-13 and U-14 leagues is evident by the fact that the CIFA U-11 and U-13 girls and boys youth leagues will not begin until mid-January, thus focusing full attention on primary and high school football between September and December, the press release states.

Games scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the Dart U-14 girls league are: John Gray High School vs. Cayman International School Blue at the Annex field; Clifton Hunter High School vs. CIS White at CHHS; Triple C vs. St. Ignatius at the CIFA Centre of Excellence; and Cayman Prep United vs. Cayman Prep City at Cayman Prep High School.

Games to be played on Thursday, Oct. 5. in the Dart U-13 boys league are: JGHS Sevens vs. Cayman Prep at the Annex field; JGHS Eights vs. Triple C at the CIFA Centre of Excellence; CHHS vs. Cayman Academy at CHHS; and CIS vs. St. Ignatius at St. Ignatius.

Organizers encourage local club youth coaches to attend the games for recruitment purposes to view players eligible to play in the CIFA youth leagues, and students from all the participating schools are urged to cheer on their respective schools.

Dart’s Vice President of Community Development Chris Duggan said, “We are committed to youth development in the Cayman Islands and are delighted to be able to support this new football league enabling high school students to continue to benefit from a structured and well-run school football program. We commend the organizers for arranging this new league, and we look forward to our continued participation in the growth and development of youth football in our community.”

The league organizers also thanked several other companies and individuals who have contributed to helping this effort.

For more information, contact Neil Murray at [email protected] or 925-0926.

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