They share a language, a heritage and a burning desire to beat Scholars International.
Latinos Football Club has been preparing for the new Cayman Islands Football Association Premier League season by toiling under the dim stadium lights at the CIFA Field of Excellence. The team will be playing under Eduardo Gamez, a former player at Deportivo Vida in Honduras, and they have a mix of old and young players.
“Everybody knows about Latinos,” said team president Saulo Castro, a former player for the club.
“We have some new players, Jamaicans and Caymanians, that have joined the club this season. We’re just glad to be here. We play exciting games and we try to bring fans back to the field.”
Latinos, which finished seventh in the Premier League last season, has an average player age in the 30s, said Castro. They have won the league title once in the last 20 years and Castro said that Latinos is fixated on remaining around the top of the standings and challenging the league’s best teams.
“This season, we’re going to defend. But we’ll get forward and we’ll attack too,” he said.
“We have to try to be in the top six so we can go straight to the Premier League next year. It’s going to be pretty exciting. There’s more competition. All the games are really important to win.”
Castro pointed out newcomer Reynaldo Bodden as one of the team’s best young players.
Gamez, a native of Honduras, spent the summer months running the team through conditioning drills in preparation of the new season. Gamez likes the skill level that he’s seen from his players, and he knows that they’ll need to be both fit and coordinated in order to perform at their highest levels.
“Everybody has stopped for a couple months, so they need a lot of exercise,” he said. “The [season] is only four or five months, and then they stop for six or seven months or something like that. That’s why we start with plenty of exercise. One day is exercise, and another day for football.”
Left wing Brian Scott, who formerly played with Elite Sports Club, said that Latinos wants to play a 3-5-2 formation and they want to spread the field with attacking players down both flanks. Scott said that Scholars, which has won four of the last five titles, is the team most clubs are striving to beat.
“Scholars is the team to really look out for,” he said. “There’s basically a big rivalry for everything no matter who you play. But the biggest ones right now would be Elite and Bodden Town or Elite and Scholars. Or us against Bodden Town. Those are the biggest rivalries and the biggest matches.”
Scott said he expects big things from Latinos, and he said that if the club is going to remain competitive all season, it will need to have all of its players available from the start until the finish.
“This season, we have a more committed team,” he said. “Normally, every season, the team does really good until January. After January, we have players going away and that breaks down morale. They go away for vacation or they have family abroad. This season, everybody seems more concentrated.”
Castro acknowledged the same phenomenon that Scott mentioned, but he sees it as an opportunity to get more players contributing. Latinos has a mix of both old and young players, and Castro knows that it will be a challenging season and that he’ll have need for everybody to play a role.
“Most of them work construction,” he said of his players. “It’s kind of tough. But I guess when you love the sport, you come here and relax yourself. You get your mind away from work.”
- Founded: 1982
- District: George Town
- Coach: Eduardo Gamez
- 2018/19 Highlights: 7th in CIFA Premier League