Flow and Man United support young footballers

| 19/01/2018
CNs Local Life

(L-R) D’Andre Rowe (2017 Cay winner) Coach Gillie Seymour (players coach) and Cody Ebanks (2017 Cay winner)

(CNS Local Life): Forty up and coming youth footballers between the ages of 12 and 16 will have their skills put to the test at the 2018 Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience, a points-based competition put together by Flow and Manchester United Football Club and supported by the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). The boys and girls from various schools and clubs on Grand Cayman will vie for the chance to participate in a talent development football camp in Trinidad, and potentially earn a VIP trip that includes touring Old Trafford Stadium in the UK and viewing a Manchester United home game. 

In the end, two players will be chosen from the Cayman Islands and each of the other 14 Flow markets to advance to the final round in Trinidad .

Local coaches will put the kids through their paces on Sunday, 28 January, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in a series of challenges that tests their dribbling and short passing skills. Their performance in a small sided game format will also be assessed.  The programme was specially designed for the Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience by coaches at the Manchester United Soccer School.

“Flow Cayman has always been a strong supporter of youth and sports development in the community, and we will continue to solidify our commitment in these two areas. The Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience is a reflection of the company’s dedication to helping young people excel in athletics, and we hope that this experience will be both memorable and informative,” said Danny Tathum, Flow Managing Director. “I am delighted that we were able to bring this event to the island again this year. Manchester United is one of the best football clubs in the world, and the Flow Skills experience will give these young players an idea of the physical and mental agility that is required to play at the highest level of the game.”

Last year, Cody Ebanks and D’Andre Rowe, both from Cayman Athletic Sports Club, won the competition and travelled to Trinidad with their coach, Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour, for a gruelling two-day skills session with two coaches from the Manchester United Soccer School (MUSS). Cody said the experience, though tough and exhausting, was a positive and enlightening one. He and D’Andre had to compete against 28 other players from around the Caribbean.

“In Trinidad, I realised that sometimes you think you are putting in a lot of work to become a better player but there are other players out there who are putting in way more work than you are to become the best,” said Ebanks. “I also learned that playing at the Manchester United level means doing everything much faster than usual. It isn’t easy. Being fit is the key.”

One of the many lessons that has stuck with him from the sessions is that of passing the ball right away and then moving immediately after the pass in order to create space for his teammates, a principle that the MUSS coaches kept emphasising over the two days, he said.

Rowe agreed, adding that he learned that you can’t underestimate anyone taking part in the competition, but you also have to focus on your game.

“If you want to play at the Manchester United level, you always have to know what your next move is before receiving the ball and you have to play fast,” he said. “The drills were really technical.  They taught me that I need to start off slow and get into my rhythm before increasing the pace.”

Both players said highlights for them were making new friends and meeting Man United legend Dwight Yorke, which Ebanks describes as a “shocker”.

Coach Gillie Seymour said that while he learned some new information, the Flow Skills experience mostly confirmed that he has been doing a lot of things right, which was encouraging. He too was impressed with how well the 29 boys and one girl got along, knowing that they had just met.

“The way they played on the field, working together, sharing the ball around and having fun looked like they had been playing together for years,” Seymour recalled.  “You could tell how much they loved football. Cody and D’ Andre held their own, and I was happy to see that.”

In preparation for the upcoming Flow Skills competition, Seymour said the footballers should practice lots of juggling and moving the ball faster with close control, while Cody advised that they be as fit as possible for the competition because it won’t be easy.

The Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experience is one of several Manchester United and Flow partnership initiatives. In January 2017, Flow hosted the FA Cup Caribbean Tour which gave football fans up-close and unprecedented access to football’s most coveted trophy. The final leg of that tour culminated in the Cayman Islands, where Manchester United ambassador Dwight Yorke made an appearance.

Flow Skills Ultimate Football Experiences will take place in BVI, Curacao, Montserrat, Trinidad, Jamaica, Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St Vincent, St. Lucia, Turks and Caicos, St Kitts and Dominica.

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Category: Football, Sports

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