Young footballers gain UK experience

| 29/11/2017
CNS Local Life

Darius Rezaei (left) and Immanuel Duran with a Tottenham Academy coach

(CNS Local Life): A group of young footballers from Cayman recently spent five days in London playing matches and getting trained at several UK clubs. During the fall mid-term break, the 10 players, aged 9 to 14, soaked up experience with Premier League clubs Tottenham Hotspur FC and West Ham United FC, Championship League club Ipswich Town and non-league Basingstoke Town FC.

Excel Sports Management (ESM) coordinated the London tour for the young athletes. Virgil Seymour, ESM director, said the purpose of the trip was to give the young players a fun football experience over their school break, while gaining international experience designed to challenge their football skills and social development on and off the field.

“The trip was a great success, the boys had fun, learned a lot about themselves and football and had some amazing opportunities to train at world-class facilities with world-class coaches,” Seymour said.

Jack Kirkconnell, Corey Smith, Josh Small, Cameron Smith, Gilbert Rodrigues, Darius Rezaei, Immanuel Duran, Jaydon Whittaker, Kyan Okoli and Kaydin Ebanks not only developed their football skills but also their personal skills off the pitch.

“Although the boys were each at different levels of football experience and skills, they were all challenged in unique ways,” Seymour said. “The exposure to all levels of English football, both professional and non-league, provided some much-needed perspective for our players.”

ESM coach, Adam Clark, added: “It was pleasing to see how all players adapted quickly to the environment in England. Despite being out of their comfort zone for large parts of the trip, they did not look out of place, which is definitely a credit to how well they are maturing as footballers.”

This was the second trip ESM has arranged in recent months. Over the summer, four players – Justin Byles, Kirkconnell, Smith and Duran, took part in a UK trip to train for two weeks with Ipswich Town.

Kirkconnell, 14, said the biggest challenges they faced were the cold weather and pace of play but these helped everyone on the trip to become better players. “In Cayman we always know what to expect because we play the same players from primary school league, so this opportunity challenged my ability to assess a game and quickly adjust my play in order to be effective,” he said. “I also learned that no matter how much natural talent you have, hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work.”

Outside of training and matches, the players had the chance to watch the Tottenham vs West Ham match at Wembley Stadium and met several professional players, including Harry Winks, Scott Parker and Reiss Nelson.



Category: Football, Sports, Youth

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