Latinos FC ready for top-flight action

Ever since they played their last match of the 2015-16 Foster’s Food Fair First Division season, the players of Latinos FC knew they had their work cut out for them and have been preparing steadfastly for the club’s return to the Cayman Premier League. Now that the season is about to kick off, their message to other side is “look out, we’re ready”. stopped by the team’s training session at the Annex Tuesday night, five days before their first match in the top flight since the 2008-09 season.

The team now has the services of Head Coach Oscar Hernandez.

The team now has the services of Head Coach Oscar Hernandez.

“It’s a really exciting time to know we’re back…It’s been a rough time for Latinos but we can’t forget all the hard work we went through but we’re here now. We’re looking forward to the start of the season. We’ve really prepared and it’s not going to be easy to beat Latinos,” said team manager Saulo Castro.

He said for the past two and a half months, the team has been training hard under new head coach, Oscar Hernandez.

“We’re really excited to put Latinos back where it belongs,” the manager said. “It’s new to us, being away from [the] Premier [League] for so long. So, we’re trying to keep Latinos in the Premier League. That’s the main thing.”

Defender Bob Connor said the players have put high expectations on their own backs back but are confident they can deliver. “We’re feeling good. We have good players and we’re hoping to have a good season,” he said.

Latinos FC will rely on its top scorer last season, Nahun Rodriguez, who will need to show similar form against the top clubs. Jarol Smith and Zeicko Herrera will also be called to lead the way. The club hopes new additions will work out in the form of brothers – Cesar Dixon and Darvin Dixon, who played for Scholars International and Roma United last season. Also coming in are newcomers Clarence Johnson and Emmanuel Valenciano.

Players participate in training drills at the Annex.

Players participate in training drills at the Annex.

“We’re trying to win a cup, two cups, and we’re going to see if we can compete against the best,” Conner said of their ambitions.

Herrera was a bit more straightforward about their expectations. “When we come out, we a come out fu buss lace. We a come out fu get de job done. We a come out fu win every game, we come to play like it’s a final. All of the seven teams, look out, Latinos is back,” the attacking midfielder said, noting his confidence comes after assessing his side’s performance against others in pre-season friendlies.

That straight up attitude is part of what has made Latinos FC one of the biggest draws in Cayman Football, consistently drawing among the largest crowds. Elite SC coach Gregory Ebanks cited that as a positive and told that their presence should make things exciting this season.

“It means a lot for us,” Castro said of the endorsement from a rival club. “I know this is what people expect from Latinos and we also expect the Spanish community to come back to the field. It’s really exciting. We’re looking forward to starting the season.”

The squad is certainly talking the talk but will they be able to walk the walk? Their first test is against Cayman Athletic on Sunday night at the Annex. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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