Sebastian Martinez signs pro deal with Portuguese club

Sebastian Martinez (centre) with Leixões SC Club President Paolo Lopo (left) and Sebastian’s representative Fitzroy Simpson.

Caymanian Sebastian Martinez has had a life-long dream realised as he signs a two-year professional contract to play football for Leixões Sports Club (SC) of Portugal.

The contract was signed Monday, 7 August, after a three-week trial period with the club that plays in LigaPro, the second-highest division of the Portuguese football league system after the Primeira Liga. Leixões SC has very close relationship with two of Portugal’s top clubs – SL Benfica and SC Braga.

Martinez makes the switch from English League 2 club Swindon Town Football Club, where he signed a development contract as a trainee with the prestigious Swindon Town Youth Academy in 2011 at the age of 13. Most recently, in 2015, after making his mark in the youth ranks, Sebastian signed a two-year apprenticeship contract with the English club.

“I am very excited and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead as I embark on the next leg of my journey in Portugal,” the young footballer said after signing his new deal. The 2017/2018 Portuguese regular season is already underway and Martinez will be looking to impress his new employers.

His dream of playing professional football has become a reality thanks to the continuing efforts of Fitzroy Simpson, former player with Swindon Town, Manchester City and Portsmouth and former Reggae Boy who starred for Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup.

With Simpson’s guidance and through his tireless efforts, Martinez blossomed at Swindon Town’s Youth Academy, the youth teams and the senior reserve team.

Simpson and his business partner Ceasar Boaventura of GIC International Sports Company, who played a key role in brokering the agreement with the Portuguese outfit, said they will ensure the young Caymanian continues to work hard and develop at his new club.

“I want to thank all those that have supported me on my journey over the past six years particularly Swindon Town Football Club, Jeremy Newton, Alan McLoughlin and Fitzroy Simpson for the magnificent opportunities and rigorous preparations; my parents and sisters for their support and unwavering belief in me; the rest of my family and friends; and the Government of the Cayman Islands who have supported me since 2011,” Martinez said.

Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) President Lee Ramoon described the signing as great news.

“Sebastian’s name will be forever enshrined in Cayman’s football history books. It proves that if our youngsters stick to the task at hand, remain committed and work hard, then success can be attained. Members of CIFA’s Executive Committee congratulate Sebastian on his achievement and wish him every success in Portugal,” Ramoon said.

Acting Youth and Sports Minister Barbara Connolly also reacted to the news. She said it was not surprising to hear about Martinez earning a professional contract.

“It was a dream of his years ago under the tutelage of Coach Winston Chung. Unlike most with similar dreams however, Sebastian demonstrated a disciplined approach to his future and continued to achieve excellent grades in school while he steadily developed his football skills. The Government is pleased to have been able to play a role in his development and we congratulate Sebastian on this achievement,” Connolly said.

 

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