GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- One of the most respected teachers of football in the Caribbean – Carl Brown -- is in the Cayman Islands to assess the inaugural CONCACAF Under-15 Championship as part of the Technical Study Group.
Brown, a former Jamaica national team head coach, observed the opening three matches at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town on Tuesday, where despite intermittent heavy rainfall, standards impressed and there was a feast of goals.
Bermuda topped the US Virgin Islands 8-0 in the first game, then Jamaica broke down a resilient Grenada side to win 4-0, before host Cayman Islands showed what months of intense preparation can achieve with a 12-0 victory over St. Maarten.
“Even though Bermuda has a strong football culture, you don’t know how the matches are going to unfold until they are under way,” Brown said. “But once it got going you could see there was definitely a difference between them.”
In the Jamaica-Grenada encounter, Brown made note of the Reggae Boyz’s ability to stay composed against a tenacious Spice Boyz defense.
“Jamaica played well within themselves, although it took a while to settle down against a team I believe ran out of steam,” Brown commented. “Grenada are technically not a bad team either, but I believe a little more experience was with Jamaica.
“One thing I liked about Jamaica was individual effort and flair. Too often these days we tend to be eliminating that from youngsters and it was good to see the young players being allowed to express themselves. That was very encouraging.”
Brown was technical director of Cayman Islands football for four years until 2011 and recalled some of his past players. Sebastian Martinez, who has been with English pro side Swindon Town, received particular praise.
Martinez netted twice against Sint Maarten, but Man of the Match -- Leighton Thomas -- smashed in five goals.
“I was very encouraged by Cayman,” Brown said. “I look at Martinez as the one I’m most impressed with. Cayman’s striker No.11 (Thomas) has tremendous pace. There is a lot of potential out there. Where we go from here with these youngsters is the big question.
“It is going to get tougher for Cayman. I really love what I’ve seen from them tonight.”
Brown added that the establishment of this type of tournament was long overdue and he commended CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb for its creation.
“This can only auger well for the development of football in the region,” Brown expressed. “We see the youngsters out there and how excited they are just to be participating. This is something we have to allow them. There is no substitute for this.
“I’m certain that 10 years from now many here will benefit from participating from tournaments like these.”