The Cayman Islands senior women’s national football team is kicking off a friendly tournament in Turks and Caicos Islands today, Thursday, 29 July, with a match against the Bahamas at the TCIFA National Academy.

This marks the first time in almost two years that the Cayman Islands Football Association has sent a women’s team to compete internationally since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The 21-player squad will be participating in a friendly FIFA competition against the US Virgin Islands, Bahamas and home team TCI.

“It’s exciting for us,” team captain Shanice Monteith told the Cayman Compass. “I think we are all ready to go and do our best and just have a good time.”

Monteith, a veteran in Cayman’s national football, said her previous encounters with those three overseas squads leads her to believe that her team will be on the right side of the results.

“Based on the past games that I’ve played against these teams, I feel like we have a good chance of winning the games,” she said. “We just need to have confidence in our teammates and just go out there and play to the best of our ability.”

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The TCI Ministry of Health have established COVID protocols, with closing the games to the public, maintaining social distancing, and wearing masks all mandated for the matches. Cayman will kick off the tournament against the Bahamas on Thursday afternoon, 29 July, at the national football academy.

“We had a very nice and competitive women’s league this year; for a long time, we didn’t have five teams playing, and these players are very committed,” CIFA general secretary Marcos Tinoco told the Compass. “So, CIFA accepted this invitation to play this tournament…to award them for the great season that they had. This is also a part of our developmental strategy to grow more players.”

South Georgia State College sophomore Amanda Frederick, who has been playing national football with Cayman since age 12, said she is pleased with how the women’s programme has improved.

“Personally, I haven’t been away with the team for a long time due to being away for school, but I think for the first time in a long time having this opportunity is great because the ladies and myself have been training for so long,” Frederick told the Compass. “I would say that CIFA has been tremendous to the players in comparison to how it used to be before.”

The team arrived in the TCI on Wednesday, 28 July. The finals of the tournament will be held on 2 Aug.

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