In recent years, the Academy Sports Club men’s team has been on the wrong side of the results when it mattered most. The team, which consists of several national team players, finished fourth in the 2020/21 CIFA men’s league and narrowly missed a chance at claiming the 2020/21 FA Cup championship in the finals against bitter rivals Bodden Town Football Club. The last major success for the Academy men was in 2019, when they won the CIFA President’s Cup. Since then, the team has been the runners-up in multiple tournaments or placed in the top five for the league. While domestically, the team’s seniors have been unable to earn silverware, the team’s youth programme has been successful while producing players like Elijah Seymour, who is currently a pro football player in Romania.
The premier league will welcome back Alliance Sports Club for the 2021/22 season after being promoted from the CIFA First Division. Alliance actually placed second in the standings behind Scholars ISC B team, but that team could not earn a promotion as Scholars already have a squad in the top division. While Alliance enters the league as underdogs, they will be looking to avoid relegation by placing mid-table or better.
Bodden Town FC
Despite the many controversies over the years, Bodden Town FC is widely considered one of the most talented teams in the premier league, boasting many veteran players. However, over the last 10 seasons, the BT men and Scholars International have traded the top two positions, with Bodden Town winning the league four times during that period. While winning the premier league is the priority for most teams during the season, Bodden Town has not shied away from other domestic tournaments, claiming their fifth FA Cup in 2020/21.
East End UFC
East End United Football Club has maintained mid-table status in the Premier League for the past several seasons and that didn’t change in 2020/21, as the squad finished seventh. Their last major win came in 1996 when they claimed the CIFA FA Cup; it was the same year former Brazilian professional footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, opened their training facility, the Donovan Rankine Stadium in East End. On paper, the team seems a long shot to finish at the top of the 2021/22 league, but football fans can attest to the unpredictability of the beautiful game.
The only team besides Bodden Town and Scholars to have won more than one league championships since 2006 is Elite Sports Club. The two-time FA Cup winners, based in West Bay, placed third in the 2019/20 league but dropped to sixth in the 2020/21 league, indicating a decline in their performance. However, Elite’s senior women have been leading by example, winning every trophy CIFA had to offer during the 2020/21 season. The men’s team will be seeking to climb the 2021/22 league table, in hopes of regaining the throne they lost in 2011.
Unable to capture silverware since its inception in 1998, Future Sports Club’s senior men’s team has nonetheless produced national players like Mark Ebanks, who has been a staple among Cayman’s strikers. Future finished third in the 2020/21 Premier League, their best performance ever in the CIFA senior men’s league. No doubt they will try to improve on that finish and perhaps even claim some gold.
George Town SC
While their recent run hasn’t been up to par with their competition, George Town Sports Club is widely considered one of the most accomplished teams in the league. Training out of Cayman’s capital, the historic team has claimed three league titles. George Town’s most successful year came in the 2010/11 season, where they captured the CIFA Charity Shield, the Digicel Cup and the FA Cup. Since then, the team, like many others, has fallen back into the mid-table, finishing eighth in the 2020/21 season.
Undeniably a threat to the reigning league champions, Latinos Football Club won the prestigious President’s Cup during the 2019/20 season, then defended it this past February, defeating Bodden Town 3-0. They pulled out a major win against Scholars during the 2020/21 FA Cup, when they knocked them out of the tournament in the semifinals. They will be shooting for nothing less than capturing the 2021/22 Premier League championship this year.
The most decorated team in the history of Cayman men’s football is none other than Scholars International Sports Club. With 13 league championships and four FA Cups, Scholars is undoubtedly the team to beat heading into every CIFA season, but that has proven to be a challenge for the rest of the league. In fact, in 18 matches during the 2020/21 league, Scholars lost only once to Future in a match that ended 1-0. That said, the team finished the league with the best defence, conceding only seven goals while scoring the most goals at 51. The club will be looking to capture their 14th league title this season.
Narrowly avoiding relegation after finishing ninth ahead of Roma, which has since been demoted to the first division, Sunset Football Club finished the 2020/21 league with 10 points after losing 14 of their 18 matches. While the men performed poorly last season, Sunset has focussed its attention on youth programmes and the women’s squad which has not disappointed to date.