Cayman’s U15 girls set for CONCACAF Championships

By Neil Murray, Chairman of CIFA Youth Committee

With a renewed focus on developing and improving our youth national football programs, the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) will be sending the Cayman Islands Girls’ Under 15 National Football Team to compete in the 2018 CONCACAF Girls’ Under 15 Championships scheduled for August 6 to August 13 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The Cayman Islands will be participating in Group E in Division 2 and will play the Bahamas on Monday, August 6, Guyana on Tuesday, August 7, and St. Lucia on Thursday, August 9. The young ladies will have the opportunity to advance to the Division 2 semi-finals on Friday, August 10 and the final on Sunday, August 12, if they top their group. Finishing second, third or fourth in the group will guarantee at least a consolation game.

The Girls’ Under 15 National Team has been together and in training since October 2017 under the tutelage of Head Coach, Alexander Gonzales, and Assistant Coach, Shakeina Bush.

With approximately 30 girls in the current Under 15 squad, the team of 18 players have been selected by the coaching staff based on the satisfaction of a number of expectations and selection criteria.

The 18-strong team are as follows: Hannah Scott, Alexia Bromfield, Shuwayne Fyne, Artemis Deslandes-Hydes, Molly Kehoe, Kasey Golding, Lilly Powery, Kayla Bradley, Riley Doyle, Shayana Windsor, Katriona Williams, Ethana Villalobos, Kalie Ebanks, Satiah Miller, Kiara Lemay, Nassaria Whittaker, Chloe Bentick-Lalli and Raeanne Ebanks-Hydes.

After the tournament, the 30 players will immediately begin training for the FIFA Girls’ Under 17 World Cup qualifiers, which will commence in 2019.

Commenting on preparations, Assistant Coach, Shakeina Bush, who also serves as Chairperson of CIFA’s Women’s Committee, said, “The young ladies have been training hard and have proven that they have the commitment, dedication and correct attitude required to be called national athletes. They have been preparing for this tournament for the past 10 months and are looking forward to competing. Under Head Coach, Alexander Gonzales, they have been developing their technical and tactical understanding of how we want them to play as a national team.”

Miss Bush continued by saying, “I am excited to see how the young ladies will do in this tournament and look forward to the future development of these athletes as well as those players who will return to training when we return from this tournament.”

CIFA President, Alfredo Whittaker, stated “This is the first of several national teams that will be competing this year in international tournaments. In addition to our Under 15 Girls, we also have our Men’s National Team preparing to compete in the CONCACAF Nations League in August and our Men’s Under 20 National Team preparing to compete in the FIFA Under 20 World Cup qualifying in November.”

“One of my main initiatives is to ensure that all of our national teams, both male and female, are training and competing on a regular basis. With the assistance of funding from FIFA and CONCACAF, we are able to achieve this objective.”

With a large contingent of parents, family and friends planning to accompany the team to Florida, the Cayman Islands will be very well-represented.

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