Cayman Islands FA : “Under 20s to participate in CONCACAF Championships”
The Cayman Islands Under 20 Men’s National Football Team travelled to Sunrise, Florida on Friday, October 26th for a four-day training camp in preparation for the 2018 CONCACAF Under 20 Men’s Championships scheduled for November 1st to 10th at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
At the CONCACAF Championships, the Cayman Islands will compete in Group F and face El Salvador on Sunday, November 4th; Guyana on Tuesday, November 6th; Guatemala on Thursday, November 8th and Curacao on Saturday, November 10th. The group winner will advance to the quarter finals and then the semi finals and the chance to represent CONCACAF at the 2019 FIFA Under 20 Men’s World Cup Finals to be played in Poland.
After landing in Florida, the 18-player squad was joined by eight overseas-based players who currently ply their trade at colleges and clubs in the United States and the United Kingdom. The 26- player squad will be put through their paces during the training camp and will play two practice games before a final squad of 22 players will travel to the CONCACAF Championships in Bradenton.
The squad is under the tutelage of a very experienced coaching team, which includes Ernie “Gillie” Seymour (head coach), Lee Ramoon (assistant coach), Collin Rowe (assistant coach), Ken Downey (assistant coach), Antwan Seymour (team manager) and Andrew Holness (equipment manager).
President of the Cayman Islands Football association (CIFA) Alfredo Whittaker said, “We are very excited about this group’s participation in the Under 20 Championships.
Over the years, we have seen this group develop into one of the better young male teams the Cayman Islands has produced. With CONCACAF now hosting only one qualifying tournament in each age-group, it gives us the opportunity to play traditionally strong footballing countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala as well as established Caribbean countries like Guyana and Curacao.”
This will be the third major Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF tournament this particular group of players have participated in over the past seven years. The group was formed directly from the CUC Primary Football League (PFL) in 2011 and have participated in the CFU Under 15 Boys’ Championships in 2015 where they finished third, and the CFU Under 17 Boys’ World Cup Playoffs in 2017, where they finished runners-up in their group to two-time Caribbean Under 17 champions Haiti.
Cayman Islands Football Association
In recent years, CIFA has made it a point to increase participation in national team tournaments, especially in the youth age-groups. Because of this, a number of youth national programmes have been formed years in advance of scheduled tournaments so players get the chance to learn, develop and play together at the national level in preparation for these major regional tournaments.
Currently, CIFA now boasts national teams in the Under 15 age group (boys and girls), Under 17 (boys and girls) and Under 20 (men’s and women’s) as well as a senior men’s team. Plans are in place to put together a men’s and women’s Under 23 programme for Olympic qualifiers, which begin in 2019, as well as a senior women’s team.
Under 20 National Team player D’Andre Rowe (red) will lead his player in the CONCACAF Under 20 Men’s Championships in November.