GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands – During a press conference held Thursday at the CI Government Administration Building in Grand Cayman, the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 Championship was saluted as a sensation by CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb and government officials.
Webb, along with the head coaches of the semifinalists – Andrew Bascome (Bermuda), Victor Manuel Pacheco (El Salvador), Carlos Tabora (Honduras) and Juan Manuel Funes (Guatemala) -- spoke of the competition’s role in supporting and developing youth footballers.
“The tournament for us is vital for development, this new CONCACAF, having the belief that to spur growth, to inspire new generations, we must give them opportunities,” said Webb. “And we believe we have given the kids the opportunity by starting to prepare them well.
“Not only are we preparing the kids on the field but this morning we launched our coaching D license course. We have 40 coaches here from around the region, US, Canada and so forth, who are participating in the coaching qualification D license. “Everything we do is geared on us improving and evolving and geared ultimately to better football on the field and ultimately winning the world championship.”
Friday’s semifinal doubleheader kicks-off with Bermuda facing Guatemala, followed by an encounter between Honduras and El Salvador. Both games will be played at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, starting at 6:00 p.m. local time.
Cayman Islands Honorable Premier Alden McLaughlin also said the tournament has netted the country a boost economically in what is normally a slow period in its tourism season.
“All indications are that this tournament has been extraordinarily well organized and all those visiting for the purpose of watching the games think Cayman is a wonderful place,” expressed McLaughlin. “So far it has been a wonderfully successful event and I want to thank Jeff for all the efforts he has made to make sure this has happened.
“I believe all the money and investments we have made in the facilities over the last few years are now paying huge dividends and I’ve had discussions with Mr. Webb and some members of his team and whatever improvements are necessary to ensure we are able to host more CONCACAF or other football tournaments will be made. I believe that sports tourism is a very viable prospect for Cayman.”
Estimates leading up to the tournament had Cayman’s local economy getting a boost of millions from the projected 3,000 total visitors.
“The inaugural 2013 U15 Boys CONCACAF Tournament in the Cayman Island has been a success,” accentuated Webb. “Cayman has done a tremendous job as hosts of this event. There have been so many elements to make this successful. Only two matches have been tied, almost 25,000 people in attendance.
“It’s been a tremendous success story from a CONCACAF standpoint and a Cayman one. I congratulate all the 22 participating teams and especially the semifinalists and good luck to them to reach the final and winning the first ever Under-15 championship.”