GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Fresh from hosting the top women’s under-20 national teams in CONCACAF, the Cayman Islands is preparing for another international competition with the first-ever C3 Cayman International Youth Football Tournament.
Youth teams from English League One’s Swindon Town FC and Major League Soccer (MLS) side Houston Dynamo will travel to the Caribbean for a three-team tournament that includes the Cayman Islands Select Under-15 squad.
The action kicks off on February 18 with an encounter between Swindon and Cayman Select at the T.E. McField Sports Complex (also known as The Annex) in George Town, where all the matches will be played.
“The games will be a fantastic challenge for us and a good challenge physically and tactically for the players and the staff,” said Swindon Town Academy manager Jeremy Newton, whose team arrives on Sunday. “We have brought some under-14s and it will be interesting to see how they cope along with the current under-15s.”
James Clarkson, technical director of the Houston Dynamo Academy, echoed Newton’s thoughts on the trip.
“The games are an excellent opportunity to test our players against international competition,” he told CONCACAF.com. “The chance to travel and play games will have a major impact on the player’s development on and off the field.”
Both clubs have already established relationships with the Cayman Islands Football Association.
Three Caymanian teenagers – Sebastian Martinez, Nathan Borde and Kray Foster -- are currently members of the Swindon Town Youth Academy, while two youth teams from local club Sunset FC travelled to Houston and competed against the Dynamo Academy.
“I always use the opportunity to scout players,” noted Newton. “I was fortunate to be invited to the CONCACAF U15s which gave me insight of the players and looking at systems the teams play, along with other players in the tournament.”
Newton is referring to the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 Championship, which was also hosted by Cayman in August 2013 and was contested by 22 teams from throughout the Confederation.
“Part of the purpose of the trip is to identify some potential players that we can invite to Houston for training opportunities with us,” Clarkson commented. “We also want to build a strong relationship with the island, as we feel it is going to be outstanding in helping with best practices, coaching education and player development.”
The visiting teams’ technical staffs will conduct free training camps for local players and coaches.
C3 Cayman International Youth Football Tournament
Match Schedule (all times local)
Tuesday - February 18, 2014
Swindon Town v Cayman Select, 7:00 p.m.
Thursday - February 20, 2014
Swindon Town v Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday - February 22, 2014
Cayman Select v Houston Dynamo, 7:00 p.m.