FC International camp still going strong

It’s a familiar sight each summer – youngsters running around freely and gleefully while playing and learning more about the sport they love. For the 22nd year in a row, FC International has been hosting its summer camp at The Annex.

FC Intl camp 2Around 60 youngsters of varying skill levels have been turning out all week for the camp that’s free of charge to participate.

“We think it is very important. Most camps, you have to pay but we do ours totally free with the help of sponsorship from individuals, businesses, government and anyone else that’s willing to give,” said FC International President Kennedy Ebanks.

“When we were in the competition, we used to run the camps. Now that we’re out of the league, we continue to run camps because most summer camps are expensive but we’ve decided to keep it free with the help of sponsorship.”

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaks with a young footballer.

Premier Alden McLaughlin speaks with a young footballer.

Among those who’s been a consistent supporter is Premier Alden McLaughlin, who stopped by for a brief chat with the campers on Wednesday, 17 August.

“I think the importance of these camps is not the football skills that they teach, which is important too, but the personal development, the discipline, teamwork and cooperation, and those things that are imparted as a result of the exercises they go through, all of which help contribute to making a better person of the young people who are here at these camps,” Mr McLaughlin told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

This year, as in years past, government has given what’s being described as a “substantial” grant to help fund the camp. Figures were not divulged.

“I really got to know how much he puts into this camp when I was Minister of Sports. I’ve always supported it even when I was in opposition and not in government, I would always make a personal contribution,” Mr McLaughlin said.

CIFA President Lee Ramoon speaks to the boys and girls.

CIFA President Lee Ramoon speaks to the boys and girls.

Bodden Town FC’s technical director, Elbert McLean, is the longtime lead coach at the FC International camp. Mr Ebanks said of the sustained partnership: “The relationship we’ve had over the years, we’ve never had any dispute with parents, we never had injuries, so if something is working, why should we change it?”

Several guests were also on hand to offer sporting, educational and lifestyle advice to the campers.

Lee Ramoon, the president of the Cayman Islands Football Association and one of the islands’ greatest footballers, was among those speaking to the youngsters. He told them of his days growing up in George Town and playing near to where they were but without a proper field to play on.

Matthew Dandie showed off his athleticism.

Matthew Dandie showed off his athleticism.

“If you love football, there’s plenty of opportunities from you loving football. Listen to your coaches, listen to your teachers, listen to your parents. All of that is part of football – discipline,” he told the campers.

“Everybody wants to be a professional footballer, but you have to have education as well,” Mr Ramoon said. “You can walk out there on the field and stand on a rock and twist your leg and you career is over but if you have an education, there’s always hope.”

Other speakers included local football icon Renard Moxam; George Roper, the founder of the Save Our Youth Foundation; Wil Pineau, the Chamber of Commerce CEO; and Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis.

FC International will hold another football camp in North Side from 22-26 August from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

FC International President Kennedy Ebanks (4th from left) with volunteers and guests.

FC International President Kennedy Ebanks (4th from left) with volunteers and guests.

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