Mixed results for Cayman at CONCACAF U20 Championships

Cayman Islands defender Eric Wilson battles Guyana's Kelsey Benjamin. (Photo: CONCACAF)

Members of the Cayman Islands national U20 men’s football team returned home on Sunday, 11 November, taking with them the experience they gained at the CONCACAF U20 Championships in Florida. Cayman ended their campaign with a solitary win, a draw, and a pair of losses to be eliminated in the group stages.

“I feel like it was a good learning experience but at the same time I feel slightly disappointed with some of the results,” said Eric Wilson, one of the team captains at the tournament.

Cayman opened with a 3-1 loss against eventual group winners El Salvador on 4 November but rebounded to beat Guyana 3-2 two days later. Next up was an impressive 2-2 draw against Guatemala, ranked 8th in CONCACAF, before losing their last game against Curacao 4-2 on 10 November.

Cayman Islands players as they prepare to leave Florida.

“I felt during the games that we could have had a better outcome,” Wilson said. “Sometimes we gave up silly plays that led to goals and it allowed us to get a result that didn’t reflect the work we put in.”

Head Coach Ernie ‘Gillie’ Seymour said overall, the players showed good character playing in a tough group.

“Unfortunately, in the last game we gave up some goals in a game that we should have one but overall it was a good result compared to some of the other teams who have higher rankings and lost by wider margins. I think we did good to get a draw against Guatemala, which was excellent,” Seymour told CaymanSportsBuzz.com upon the team’s arrival at Owen Roberts International Airport.

Seymour and assistant coaches Lee Ramoon and Collin ‘Dougie’ Rowe were tasked with blending a squad of locally based talent with others playing at colleges and leagues overseas. Coach Gillie said with having the core of the squad intact for several years, reintegrating the overseas-based players was not too tough a challenge. “It wasn’t too difficult because a lot of the guys were used to each other from playing together over the years,” he said.

Midfielder Jabari Campbell, who scored one of the candidates for goal of the tournament against Guyana, was upbeat about their performance. “I think it was a good experience. I think we did very well considering the teams we went against.”

He also spoke about the goal that saw him take a daring chance from a difficult angle on the left wing to leave the Guyanese keeper helpless as the ball made its way into the back of the net. “From the angle I shot it from, it didn’t look like it went in…I wanted D’Andre [Rowe] to chip the ball to me and once he did that, I thought about having a shot.”

Defender Rohelio Wright described the draw against Guatemala as the highlight of the tournament. “It was a good experience. We played against teams that play at a higher level. I think we learned a lot from the trip,” he said. “I think we did really good considering the teams that we played against.”

The Cayman Islands Under 20 Men’s National Team line-up that faced El Salvador. (Standing, from left)
Kameron Mendez, Kion Parchmont, Albertini Holness, Ackeem Hyde and Eric Wilson. (Kneeling, from left) Alex
Clarke-Ramirez, Kareem Foster, Leighton Thomas, Mason Duval, D’Andre Rowe and Kailan Miller.

Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) President Alfredo Whittaker was on hand to welcome the team home. “They did well. I have mixed emotions because there were some games that we performed well and others that we should have done better. It is good to see that a Cayman team went up there and represent us well,” Whittaker said.

He added: “Now we have to sit down and do an overall evaluation to see what went well, what went wrong and how we fix and build on those and move forward for 2019.”

Wilson said the players were looking forward to joining their respective clubs “and using the experience that we gained to help improve our football and make contributions to the local leagues.”

Cayman’s goal scorers at the tournament were:

Vs El Salvador: Kareem Foster

Vs Guyana: Kareem Foster, Jabari Campbell, Albertini Holness (PK)

Vs Guatemala: Kion Parchmont, Mason Duval

Vs Curacao: Alexander Clarke-Ramirez, Kareem Foster

Video Highlights – click on the game to see video highlights

Cayman vs. El Salvador

Cayman vs Guyana

Cayman vs Guatemala

Cayman vs Curacao


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