September 17, 2021

Cayman Islands youth teams gain valuable experience in Las Vegas Tournament

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kfosterFrom CIYFP

The Under 16 team from the Cayman Islands Youth Football Programme and the Alliance FC Under 17 girls’ team returned to Grand Cayman on Wednesday, February 17 after competing in the 2016 Mayor’s Cup International Showcase in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Under 16 boys’ team, playing under the name Cayman Select, returned with a record of one win, one draw and two losses, finishing in second place in Bracket 7 in the Under 16 Generation Adidas group. This was the fourth year in a row that the team competed in the popular youth football tournament in Nevada and the first year in the Under 16 division.

The Under 17 girls’ team also played under the name Cayman Select. The young ladies lost their three group stage games in Bracket 7 in the Under 17 Chapman Auto group and their consolation game. This was the first trip to the tournament by a girls’ team from the Cayman Islands.

The Under 16 boys’ travelling squad consisted of 22 players, six staff members – including three coaches, a manager and physiotherapist – along with a number of parents. The boys were under the tutelage of Head Coach Ernie “Gillie’ Seymour, Assistant Coach Ken Downey and Assistant Coach and Manager Antwan Seymour.

The Mayor’s Cup International Showcase is one of two annual football (soccer) tournaments co-hosted by the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club and the City of Las Vegas, the other being the International Tournament, which is played in May. Each year, the tournament welcomes amateur and professional clubs from around the world and this year, the Under 16 division comprised teams from the United States, Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Germany.

This Under 16 team from the Cayman Islands Youth Football Programme has been together since March

2011, training once per week and playing in as many friendly games and competitions with local and foreign teams in preparation for tournaments such as the Mayor’s Cup. A majority of the boys who travelled to Las Vegas also competed in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under 15 Boys’ Championships that was held in Sint Maarten in August 2015.

At the tournament, the Caymanian youngsters defeated LA United FA Pre-Academy 2-1 in the group stage drew 1-1 with Farmington SA Elite 99 from Connecticut, lost to eventual group winners and quarter finalists Sparta United Premier JK 0-1 and Folsom SC Fusion from Canada 1-2 in the consolation game.

Once again, our young men and young women were true ambassadors for the Cayman Islands as they represented their country superbly on and off the field in Las Vegas. Tournaments such as the Mayor’s Cup serve as valuable tools in the development of the players as they encounter various teams from around North America and Europe who play with different styles and employ different tactics.

Although a little disappointed with the boys’ results, Head Coach Ernie “Gillie” Seymour was positive when speaking about the experience by saying, “Much like last year, the games we lost were very evenly contested and if we had cut down on mistakes and finished our chances, we could have won those game and the game we drew and advanced to the quarter finals. The boys need to understand the importance of preparation and playing consistently when involved in tournaments such as this. Special thanks to the coaches who continue to work tirelessly in preparing this team for not only this tournament but for what’s ahead. Many of these players will be representing their country in this summer’s CFU Under 17 World Cup Playoffs so we know that this experience will be beneficial in their individual preparations.”

The trip to Las Vegas was financed through Government and corporate sponsorship and fundraising efforts by the Programme’s players, parents and coaches.

Cayman Islands Youth Football Programme (CIYFP) PO Box 30920, Grand Cayman KY1-1204, Cayman Islands 345.925.8793

Caption: Kareem Foster (in red) scored two of the teams four goals in the 2016 Mayor’s Cup International Showcase.

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