National U20 footballer on try-out with US club

Ackeem Hyde (centre) with CIFA president Alfredo Whittaker and WBSF co-founder Arden Rivers.

Ackeem Hyde, a member of the Cayman Islands national U20 men’s training squad, has secured a try-out with San Antonio FC, which plays in the United Soccer League (USL), the second highest level in the United States.

Hyde left over the weekend for the two-week stint arranged through a partnership between the club and West Bay Sports Foundation (WBSF).

Co-founder of WBSF, Arden Rivers, told that the relationship started with San Antonio FC sending a team to participate in the Cayman Islands U15 Youth Cup earlier this year.

“This is part of the relationship where we want to have players and coaches visit their academy and senior teams,” Rivers said. “We were given the opportunity that they would host one or two players in 2018. West Bay Sports Foundation had a commitment to identifying these players. We thought Ackeem Hyde possessed the qualities that would be a good fit for San Antonio.”

He said the central defender displayed good technical ability and tactical awareness on the pitch, which matched with his attitude and discipline made him the right choice.

Hyde, a 2018 CIFA President’s Cup winner with Future Sports Club, was delighted to have been given the opportunity to train with the club that plays in the USL Western Conference. “I am very happy. I have trained and dedicated myself to football for a long while and I now believe I am able to hold my own on another level,” he said.

“My aim is to improve individually and to prove to myself that I am ready to move up and perform at this level.”

Although he has only been in with the Texas-based club for a few days, Hyde told on 1 October 2018 that he can see the difference, especially when it comes to the speed at which the game is played compared to in the local leagues in the Cayman Islands.

He said he is giving his all to try to get a spot on the San Antonio FC roster but that whether he is successful in that bid or not, he will return home a better player. “I think this experience will help me to perform at a higher level for the National U20 team to help us reach our goals by going as far as we can and make Cayman proud,” he said.

Hyde is expected to feature for the Cayman Islands at the CONCACAF U20 Championships in Florida next month. The team has been grouped with El Salvador, Guatemala, Curacao, and Guyana.

Meantime, Rivers said Cayman can expect to see other benefits of West Bay Sports Foundation’s partnership with San Antonio FC. He said the club will host a pair of camps next year for young players, one in Grand Cayman and the other in Cayman Brac.

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