Academy SC gets experience in friendlies against Mo Bay

Academy SC U17 (blue) vs Montego Bay United FC.

With little opportunities for quality matches for its youth footballers, Academy Sports Club hosted Jamaican club, Montego Bay United FC’s Under 17 team, last weekend for a pair of friendlies.

Up first was an exhibition featuring Academy’s Under-15 side against the visitors. Montego Bay won 4-0 but Academy coach Paul Byles said it was an impressive showing by the younger side against one of the top clubs in a higher age group in Jamaica.

Then the Under-17 squads met at Academy’s Outpost Street camp on the National Heroes Day holiday. Although the final scoreline read 5-1 in favour of Montego Bay, it was a much closer encounter than the score reflected.

“I believe that they would compare closely with us. We’re quicker than them, we’re a bit stronger than them but technically they are up there with us,” said Montego Bay’s coach, Dwayne Humphrey.

He said the visit to Grand Cayman was a fantastic learning experience. “We were looking for how well the team would coordinate as a unit, how well we could actually move the ball around and getting the ball from one end of the field to another and execute in terms of finishing. I think we got that done today and we accomplished most of the things we came here to do,” he said in an interview with at the end of the trip.

Meantime, Byles said: “It was good to see how our Under-17s played. Unfortunately, we don’t get to play matches like that and if we got to play more matches like that during the year, I think we would see improvement from the boys. It’s a good test and good to see where they’re at.”

It’s a challenging time for youth football in Cayman. The CIFA Under 15 Boys’ League featured only three clubs: Academy, Cayman Athletic and Sunset FC. The Under-17 Boys’ League also had only three teams but this was only possible because Academy was granted a second side made up mainly of their top Under-15 players moving up an age division to get more matches.

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