Bodden Town are football kings again

2016-17 Cayman Premier League Champions - Bodden Town FC

Bodden Town Football Club held off a strong challenge from Latinos FC to win 4-2 and clinch the 2016-17 Cayman Premier League title on Sunday, 2 April.

With Latinos keeper Derek Rivers on the pitch at Ed Bush Sports Complex seconds before kickoff, the league leaders looked to press their attack and test him early. But it was Latinos who got the first chance and made the most of it in the 6th minute.

After an attacker was taken down just outside the 18-yard box, a free kick was awarded. Ziecko Herrera launched a dart towards goal that Bodden Town captain Ramon Sealy between the pipes couldn’t stop from getting to the back of the net.

Latinos played with a pep in their step and continued to create chances. At that stage, it did seem that any hopes of wrapping up the title might have been put on hold for another week because while Bodden Town has been dominant all season long, Latinos have made them work very hard in both league and cup play.

Sealy later revealed what he said to keep his teammates focused. “I just told them to relax. There was still a lot of time in the game and we have the quality to beat them. So, we just needed to stay calm and execute the game plan,” he told

There was a brief moment Latinos thought they might have had a two-goal lead over the league leaders but a 34th minute opportunity came to naught despite Sealy being caught off his line.

Karl Solomon (left) celebrates his 1st goal with Theron Wood.

Never a side to give up while down, Bodden Town found an equalizer on the verge of halftime, when Karl Solomon pounced on a chance in front of goal to ensure the guys in purple would not trail at the interval.

Whatever coach Elbert McLean told his side in the changing room had them revving their engines to go and it would only take four minutes before another goal. The score epitomized the teamwork that Bodden Town has displayed all season. Theron Wood crossed into the box to connect with Ricoh Brown, who then found Solomon at the far post, who knocked it home.

It was time to cue the celebrations, as Coach Elbert’s squad were pretty much certain glory was theirs. The jubilant celebration might have stoked a fire under the Latinos players, who upped the tempo but had to a half-hour with one player short after Clarence Johnson picked up his second booking.

As the clock ticked on, Bodden Town appeared to let their guard down and their opponents seized the opportunity. With 21 minutes to go, Latinos sense of urgency paid dividends. Herrera fed the ball to Cesar Dixon. A cross into the box eventually found Darvin Dixon, who one-timed it with his left foot to the near post. The score was level at two goals apiece.

Bodden Town came to West Bay with one objective – to take three points and stake their claim as champions. So, any thoughts of a comeback by Latinos were quickly put to bed when Wood scored in the 82nd and Kyle Leon followed up in the 85th.

Mission accomplished: Bodden Town moved to 44 points, 16 ahead of Elite SC, who lost on Sunday. Even if Bodden Town loses their next three games and Elite won their remaining four, that would not be enough to change the equation.

“It’s a good feeling. I’m glad that we can finally say that we are champions again,” said Sealy. “The last two years were not the best for us, so this makes it feel even much better.”

This was Bodden Town’s third title and first since winning the league back-to-back in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

Coach Elbert praised his players. “I’m very proud. It shows that all the hard work we put in over the years has paid off.”

It’s been a bittersweet season for Bodden Town. Michael Gourzong, who played with the club for more than a decade and came up through the youth ranks, drowned last year. During the club’s first home game in January, a minute’s silence was held in his honour and also for another beloved player, Jerome ‘Bird’ Graham, who died after collapsing during a 2012 practice session.

“Right now, my heart is full. It’s a very sweet victory. I can’t find the words,” McLean said as he teared up.

With the league title intact, Bodden Town FC now turns its attention to the FA Cup, which begins this weekend.

Meantime, at the Annex, Elite continued its recent slump and lost 2-1 to bottom-of-the-table Sunset FC thanks to an added time goal from Thomas Chipchase. Raheem Robinson had equalized for Elite in the 81st after falling behind in the 6th minute due to a Casey Berlin goal. Chipchase’s late goal denied Elite the comeback.

Roma United celebrates a superb goal by Dexter Monroe (centre).

In the late game at the Annex, Roma United separated themselves from the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Cayman Athletic thanks to quality finishes from Dexter Monroe in the 66th and Demar Jones three minutes into added time.

The late game at Ed Bush saw the league’s leading goal scorer, Jonah Ebanks, put the ball in the back of the net for the 14th time this season, which was good enough for a 1-0 win over 2015-16 champions Scholars International.


Unofficial Cayman Premier League standings through 18 of 21 weeks

Bodden Town FC 18 14 2 2 29 15 14 44
Elite SC 17 8 5 4 31 20 11 28
Academy SC 18 8 7 3 25 25 0 27
Scholars Int’l 16 6 5 5 20 12 8 23
Latinos FC 17 5 7 5 25 25 0 20
Roma United 17 6 9 2 24 26 -2 20
Cayaman Athletic 18 4 10 4 19 32 -13 16
Sunset FC 17 5 11 1 19 37 -18 16



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