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Youth footballers kick off UK training opportunities

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A Cayman Islands quartet of youth footballers recently spent two weeks in the United Kingdom training with Ipswich Town Football Club.

Harrison Hew, Jacobbi Tugman, Immanual Duran and Jack Kirkconnell spent two weeks with the club, a training stint set up through locally based Excel Sports Management.

Ipswich in the past has come to Cayman for a youth tournament and players across several clubs have trained with the club in the past.

Another Caymanian duo of Corey Smith and Darius Rezeai also recently were in the UK training with north London club Barnet FC.

The pair was selected in late 2015 when Barnet coaches held a camp in Cayman.

Smith and Rezeai played matches against the likes of youth teams from Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City.

They were on the 24 August episode of Let’s Talk Sports to talk about the experience.

“It was a great experience,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed it. At first I was a little bit nervous because I’m the new guy. Everyone’s gonna look at me and say, ‘who’s he?’ But it was great. The Barnet facilities were awesome. They have a cafe which is pretty cool and a lot of pitches. And we went to Tottenham also.

“We also went to Leicester and Brighton,” Rezeai added.

ESM coach Jack Brazil also spoke about the benefits of getting local players training opportunities overseas.

“The coaches in England now have experienced that children from Cayman can come across — and footballers from Cayman — can come across and really succeeds as this pair have,” Brazil said. “Hopefully it sets a precedent that in the future if someone from Cayman comes knocking at the door saying, ‘look I’ve got these players’ that we take them more seriously and that leads to more opportunities.”

About the author

Kevin Morales

Kevin Morales

Cayman 27 News Director Kevin Morales is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience. Kevin is a Milwaukee, Wis., native. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2005 from the University of Minnesota. He's a proud father and a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and U of M Golden Gophers.

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