The chance of a lifetime will soon be coming for 40 young Caymanian football players.
Flow, the Caribbean cable company, will partner with Manchester United Football Club and the Caribbean Football Union to present the 2018 Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience.
Forty boys and girls from various schools and clubs will compete on Sunday, Jan. 28, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex for a chance to participate in a talent development camp in Trinidad. From there, a few lucky players may also win a VIP trip that includes a tour of Man United’s Old Trafford Stadium in England.
Two players will ultimately be chosen from Cayman and from each of the other 14 Flow markets to advance to the final round of competition in Trinidad.
Local coaches will conduct the local tryout, which will consist of challenges that test the players’ dribbling and short passing skills and also a small-sided game format. The program for the tryout was designed for Flow by coaches at the world renowned Manchester United Soccer School.
Danny Tathum, managing director of Flow, issued an official statement about the tryout.
“Flow Cayman has always been a strong supporter of youth and sports development in the community, and we will continue to solidify our commitment in these two areas. The Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience is a reflection of the Company’s dedication to helping young people excel in athletics, and we hope that this experience will be both memorable and informative,” said Mr. Tathum.
“I am delighted that we were able to bring this event to the island again this year. Manchester United is one of the best football clubs in the world, and the Flow Skills experience will give these young players an idea of the physical and mental agility that is required to play at the highest level of the game.”
Last year’s winners were Cody Ebanks and D’Andre Rowe, both from Cayman Athletic Sports Club. Their skill earned them the opportunity to travel to Trinidad with their coach, Ernie “Gillie” Seymour, for a competitive two-day skills session with two coaches from the Manchester United Soccer School.
Ebanks and Rowe relished the chance to compete against all the other talented youth players from around the Caribbean, and Ebanks said the experience was positive for his football education.
“In Trinidad, I realized that sometimes you think you are putting in a lot of work to become a better player but there are other players out there who are putting in way more work than you are to become the best,” said Ebanks. “I also learned that playing at the Manchester United level means doing everything much faster than usual. It isn’t easy. Being fit is the key.”
Rowe had a similar experience, and said that he learned at the camp that you have to focus on your own skills and you cannot afford to underestimate anybody who lines up against you on the pitch.
“If you want to play at the Manchester United level, you always have to know what your next move is before receiving the ball and you have to play fast,” he said. “The drills were really technical. They taught me that I need to start off slow and get into my rhythm before increasing the pace.”
Both players fondly remembered the opportunity to meet with Trinidad legend and Manchester United player Dwight Yorke. Coach Seymour recalled that most of the players at last year’s tryout camp got along famously, sharing the field and the competition with grace and passion.
“The way they played on the field, working together, sharing the ball around and having fun looked like they had been playing together for years,” Seymour recalled. “You could tell how much they loved football. Cody and D’ Andre held their own, and I was happy to see that.”