Yes, Yen! Sub propels Future to glory

Future Sports Club's Tevin Yen celebrates his winning goa

Tevin Yen eagerly watched more than an hour of the 2018 CIFA Men’s President’s Cup final from the Future Sports Club substitutes bench with butterflies in his stomach waiting for his chance to help his side overcome league champions Scholars International. When his coach, Roy ‘Huta’ Ebanks, called on him to enter the game, the young forward ensured that faith was not misplaced.

“I know I had the confidence that I had this one chance. We made it to the finals [and] we’ve got to make it count,” Yen told after scoring twice to see Future celebrate an important 2-1 win over Scholars International on 3 June at Ed Bush Sports Complex.

It was scoreless between the West Bay sides when Yen entered the game in the 62nd minute. It would only take three minutes for the switch to pay dividends, as Scholars veteran keeper Jermaine Brown found himself out of position after making an initial stop and Yen was there to put the rebound into the back of the net.

Future celebrate their big win.

Future players and fans went into celebration mode. However, a win over Scholars would not be easy and just as Ebanks found a gem on his bench, so too did Scholars coach Collin ‘Dougie’ Rowe. All season long, he’s called upon Brandon Ebanks to provide a late spark and that’s just what he did.

Ebanks, 11 minutes after replacing Rodrick Pearson up front, put Scholars on the board and levelled the game in the 78th minute.

The intensity built, as the lively crowd continued to spur on players from both sides. When the fourth official signalled there were four minutes of stoppage time being added, there was a sense that there was ample time for a dramatic finish without the need for extra time.

Maikel Ebanks pushes forward for Future.

The moment came two minutes in, when Future were awarded a free kick in front the Scholars’ goal. Yen talked us through what transpired on the pitch: “My first instinct was to follow up on the ball [because] anything could happen and as Courtney Duval kicked the free kick, the keeper spilled it [and] I just followed right up and I had to put it in…I had to seal it.”

With the ball beating Brown, celebrations were the order of the day and 120 seconds later, euphoria broke loose as Future players, coaches and supporters let their emotions take over.

Wiping the tears of joy from his face, Yen said: “I’ve been ready for this. I’ve been having butterflies all weekend. I’ve been playing for future all my life and this is my first final since U13, so for Coach to have that confidence in me, he kept me from the academy straight up to men’s and I know I had the confidence that I had this one chance to make it count.”

Coach Huta was delighted his strategy worked as planned. “I told him that he has the ability to change the nature of the game. He has the pace and the explosiveness. I told him that he was going on fresh and their defenders were tiring, and I felt that he could capitalise on some of the mistakes that their defenders were making because at a crucial stage of the game, I could see that they were getting tired.”

Future coach Roy ‘Huta’ Ebanks sends instructions from the touchline.

After being congratulated by supporters and opponents, Coach Huta shared his joy with “From a coach’s aspect, they could not have done me more proud tonight in terms of their preparation, their commitment and dedication throughout the whole season. We really set this as a goal for this year to try to win a championship and they delivered tonight.”

More than the result on the night, Ebanks reflected on the development path of his young side – most players are younger than 25. “What I’m so proud of is that I hope this is an example for the rest of the clubs in Cayman to start to build from the youth system come up because these kids, I had them for 10 and 15 years.”

The Future coach noted that the accomplishment was akin to the journey of legendary Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson, when he proved the doubters young and took a group of youngsters like Paul Scholes and David Beckham and groomed them into champions.

Future captain Stephen Rivers collects the cup from CIFA President Alfredo Whittaker.

It has been a credible performance across all three competitions for Future’s senior side this season, finishing ninth in the Premier League with some strong results, making it to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and capping it off with Sunday’s President’s Cup win.

“Our ultimate goal now is to win the league so that we can get promoted to go into the Caribbean. I want to match up with the other clubs in the Caribbean and that can be a measure of my pedigree as a local coach in the Cayman Islands,” Ebanks said.

Reflecting on the accomplishment of the night, the veteran coach said: “This is the best because we are doing it against the best club in the Cayman Islands for the past 25 years…and winning it with dedication, commitment and hard work against such an opponent is the crowning of this endeavour that we had this season,” he said before returning to his jubilant players and supporters.


Scholars International: Jermaine Brown (capt/GK), Rolly Bodden, Jordan Ramirez, Ron Douglas, Dwight Dunk, Dwayne Dunk, Jorje Alex Escobar, Hermon Fisher Gardener, Jermaine Haughton, Rodrick Pearson, Oneil Taylor.


Future Sports Club: Stephen Rivers (capt), Cordell Andrade, Alexander Clarke, Ricardo Damaso, Courtney Duval, Maikel Ebanks, Akeem Hydes, Shem Jackson, Tyler Lee, Rolando McLaughlin (GK), Stephen Rivers, Colby Seymour.

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