The 2016 Cayman Airways Youth Football Cup kicks off this week and on Monday (9 May) government leaders, coaches and administrators got together to preview the event.
Click here for the full tournament schedule and a rundown of all the participating teams.
Cayman’s Academy SC Select team has been drawn into Group B along with Honduras’ Club Deportivo, Florida’s IMG Academy and MLS franchise Seattle Sounders.
The local squad opens play at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday (11 May) versus Club Deportivo before playing IMG Academy at the same time on Thursday (12 May) and the Sounders at 8 p.m. on 12 May. All of those games take place at Ed Bush Field.
Manchester City is the tournament’s headlining club and during a press conference held 9 May ahead of competition, City’s Under-15 Head Coach John Mullin said they’re always on the lookout for international talent.
“It’s always part of an objective when we come to tournaments,” he said. “Not just to see how good our players are against others but also watching the teams as much as we can because there is a chance as a recruiting tool to scout these players. They tend to be, obviously, the best players from different parts of the world. So, yeah, it’s really important and that’s why we bring some other staff members and get as many eyes as we can on other games that are going on.”
This tournament now is in its third season. Cayman’s sports leaders say it’s a benefit monetarily to be able to host a tournament like this rather than sending Cayman’s youth teams overseas.
“This increase in visitors drives a corresponding increase in the demands for services and will be beneficial to a wide-range of businesses such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and car-hire services,” Tourism Ministry Councilor Joseph Hew said.
“It costs upwards of about $25,000 to send a team of about 16 athletes with a small team of officials overseas for about three or four days,” Sports Ministry Assistant Chief Officer Joel Francis said. “So when the opportunity arose to have such a high level of competition on local soil that the whole community could take part in, the Ministry decided that it would support this tournament.”
Mr. Hew and Mr. Francis did not say how much Government funding is being given for this tournament, saying they would provide that information after the press conference. Follow-up messages the afternoon of 9 May were not answered.
The first match of the tournament is slated for 2 p.m. on Tuesday (10 May) when the Seattle Sounders take on IMG Academy at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.