From the bench to save the day

Trey Ebanks (centre) with Naoki Montoya of Futbolista World and Cayman Sports Buzz Editor Ben Meade.

Players often sit on the substitutes bench questioning their role on the team, wondering if they’re not good enough to contribute. Not so for Trey Ebanks of Academy Sports Club.

A classic example of this was the CIFA Men’s FA Cup first round game against Latinos FC on 8 April. Ebanks watched from the sideline as his team trailed 1-0 in the second half with another first round tournament exit looking imminent.

Coach Jack Brazil looked to his substitutes and called Ebanks’ number. The 16-year-old entered the game eager to show the coach his confidence in him was warranted.

As he made his way onto the pitch, he looked skyward. “I just asked God for three things,” he recalled. “I asked him to help me make a pass to keep possession, to make a pass for an opportunity for one of my teammates to score, or to give me a chance for a goal.”

He moved energetically up and down the left wing, trying to make the perfect pass to his older brother, Jonah, who leads the Cayman Premier League in goals scored this season.

“It was the FA Cup and I was so pumped because it was my debut and when I got subbed on I was encouraging [my teammates] and doing all I can. Then God just gave me my chance and then I took it.”

That chance came in the 85th minute, when in a brilliant display of teamwork, Academy strung together eight passes to get the ball to Ebanks’ boot. He collected it at the top of the box, made room and fired it low and to the right of a diving Derek Rivers in the Latinos goal with the ball ending up in the back of the net. That sparked a team celebration that culminated with Ebanks leaping into Brazil’s arms.

Disaster averted! Academy and Latinos were level with five minutes left on the referee’s stopwatch. However, that would not be enough, at least for the time being, as the regulation ended with the score 1-1.

Two 15-minute extra time periods beckoned with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.

In the 105th minute of action, Ebanks sent the Academy crew into a frenzy when he got the ball just inside the box, danced around a defender and slotted the ball home to give his side a 2-1 lead. The entire team mobbed him as they celebrated the goal in front the bench.

Academy held on to the lead and as the clock ticked to the end of the second extra time period, Ebanks with hands clasped continually looked up and said a word of thanks. “The one thing [God] gave me that I asked for was a goal, and I got two.” Add to that the joy of advancing to the next round and beating Latinos for the first time this season, after losing in league play and in the President’s Cup opener.

Ebanks was a clear choice to be named Cayman Sports Buzz Footballer of the Week presented by Futbolista World. It was also an historic selection, as he joins his older brother as the only siblings to win the award since its inception last year.

He was presented with a certificate, a Futbolista World sports shirt, and a gift certificate to be used toward new gear at Futbolista World. He has also been entered into a draw to win an additional prize from Futbolista World at the end of the season.

Each week, Cayman Sports Buzz will select a player for the Footballer of the Week honour based on their performance in any of the following leagues: Cayman Premier League, CIFA Women’s Premier League, CIFA First Division, CIFA youth leagues and the CUC Primary Football League/Girls Primary Football League.

At the end of the season, Cayman Sports Buzz will be presenting a more substantial award to the Footballer of the Year.

About Artiem Solutions and Cayman Sports Buzz:

Artiem Solutions is a 100% Caymanian-owned boutique communication consultancy firm launched in the first quarter of 2016. In August, the company launched Cayman Sports Buzz, a website dedicated to the exclusive coverage of local sports in the Cayman Islands.


About Futbolista World:

Located on the island of Grand Cayman, Futbolista World ( specializes in selling authentic high quality football merchandise and providing excellent customer service. Our store provides players, coaches and fans with the latest authentic football gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and more. Our aim is to inform and inspire others by promoting our passion for football and offer quality merchandise at affordable prices.


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