U-17 boys national team training for World Cup playoffs

| 18/04/2016
CNS Local Life

Members of Cayman’s U-17 national football team prior to competing in the Mayor’s Cup International Showcase in Las Vegas in February

(CNS): Following on from their historic third-place finish at the 2015 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Under-15 Boys’ Championships in Sint Maarten last August, the boys national football team, having moved up an age group, are preparing for the first round of the CFU Under-17 World Cup Playoffs, set for 20-24 July 2016 at a venue still to be determined.

Winners from the first round groups of qualifiers will advance to the finals of the CFU Under-17 World Cup Playoffs scheduled for 18-25 September, with a chance to compete in the CONCACAF Under-17 World Cup Qualifiers in February 2017. Four countries from CONCACAF will qualify for the 17th edition of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Finals to be played in India in September and October 2017.

This current group of players have been training together since March 2011, steadily preparing for occasions such as the Under-15 Boys’ Championships last year and now the opportunity to represent their nation at the global FIFA-sanctioned event this July.

Led by an experienced staff – head coach Ernie “Gillie” Seymour, assistant coach Ken Downey, assistant coach and manager Antwan Seymour, goalkeeper coach Luis Morejon, and equipment manager Andrew Holness – the squad have been regularly participating in numerous local and overseas club and international tournaments during the last five years.

Along with participating in the CFU Under-15 Boys’ Championships in August 2015, the boys have played in the 2015 Cayman International Youth Football Tournament; and the 2015 Cayman Airways, and the Mayor’s Cup International Showcase in Las Vegas, Nevada Invitational Youth Cup earlier this year.

To begin their preparations in 2016, the squad participated in the Las Vegas event in February, and were involved in a local training camp over Easter at the Annex Field.

Plans are underway to attend a three-day training camp in Cayman Brac in June and a seven-day training camp in Florida prior to the first round of playoffs in July.

The current squad consists of 33 players from a number of local clubs including three players who currently attend school in the US and the UK – Corey Mellaneo, Kameron Mendez and Ricardo Damasso. The three overseas-based players are scheduled to join the squad at the training camp in Florida at which the squad will be reduced to a final travelling team of 22 players, as required by the CFU, and depart for the playoffs on July 19.

The squad comprises Albertini Holness, Jayden Downey, Jose La Rosa-Ebanks, D’Andre Rowe, Rohelio Wright, Francisco Murillo, Cody Ebanks, Rico Bodden Jr., Gonzalo McLaughlin Jr., Louis Gordon, Jalen Walters, Alexander Clark-Ramirez, Jamaar Frederick, Jabari Campbell, Devonte Morejon, Kailan Miller, Justyn Powell, Kareem Foster, Kion Parchmont, Oladapo Bailey, Nicholas Chung, Trey Ebanks, Daniel Manderson, Jiffon Robinson, Javier Ardila, Jondane Dawkins, Alfredo Whittaker Jr., Dominic Owens, Jahrion Bodden, Jamal Bodden, Mellaneo, Damasso and Mendez.

Commenting on the preparations and what this group of boys hope to achieve, acting president of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA), Bruce Blake said, “The core of this team has been training for a number of years and, based on their performance in Sint Maarten at the Under 15 Boys’ Championships last August, we expect that the team will advance to the next stage of the qualifiers.”

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Category: Football, Sports, Youth

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