Youthful Academy SC ready for Premier League campaign

There’s been a sense of cautious optimism in the Academy SC men’s team camp as the squad gets set for the upcoming Cayman Premier League season. The team is coming off a third place finish and has a new coach on the touch line, who brings a wealth of knowledge with him.

Jack Brazil is a youth development coach at Excel Sports Management and volunteers his time to coach the Academy SC men’s team. Though only 22, the Brit is highly qualified in the coaching field and holds a UEFA B coaching certification.

“My initial impression of Caymanian football is good,” he said, having been on island for three months.

Brazil is in his first season in charge.

Brazil is in his first season in charge.

“It’s been an interesting eight weeks of pre-season. I feel like we’ve come a long way. Our fitness level has massively improved but one of the main things that we’re learning is a playing style and how we are going to play in the coming season against all the different teams we’ll be encountering,” Brazil said in an interview with

The coach also made this assessment of the squad he’ll be taking into the 2016-17 campaign: “There’s a lot we can develop tactically. I think the actual technical attributes are very impressive. Physically, we definitely need to improve our fitness with regards to repeated sprints and also our strength but technically, I’m really impressed.”

Being fresh to the experience, Brazil admited there’s still a lot for him to do to better understand the players, most of whom are in his age bracket. He doesn’t view that as a negative and believes the need to learn quickly will help the Academy SC squad as the season progresses.

“It means that I have to be a bit closer to the players than a manager probably would want to be but I have to speak very honestly, very frankly with them. I have to get their opinions on different matters. I feel like that’s made us a tight group because they know I’m quite trusting of their opinions and what they believe and they know they are not going to get shot down if they have an opinion to give to me,” he said during a break of a recent training session.

Academy SC is expected to field one of the youngest sides in the premier league, with an average age of its players being under 20 or in ther early 20s.  “For example, our midfield last week, we had a 16 year-old, an 18 year-old and a 19 year-old. So, we have a very, very young squad and that is something that Academy is very proud of and that is something that I’m very proud to be developing,” Brazil said.

Members of the squad put in work under the lights.

Members of the squad put in work under the lights.

The team’s captain, Peter Reijn, was cautiously optimistic about their chances this season when we caught up with him.

“I think you should always have your eyes on the prize but we have to be realistic,” he told “We have a young team. There are other strong teams in the league. If we can keep consistent, score our chances – which we didn’t do last year, don’t concede easily, we can have a chance of again ending in the top three. Being first or second would be a bonus.”

Reijn said giving a better run against Scholars International and Elite SC, the two clubs to finish ahead of Academy SC last season, is among their goals.

Meantime, Brazil just wants to see the best from the squad. “I don’t think, right now, that we can consider ourselves title contenders. However, I feel as though if we put a few wins together and we start strongly, there’s no reason why we can’t be up there at the end of the season,” he said.

The coach added that the most important thing is to perform well, put in good performances and excite people with the way they play.

“If wins come from that, and if a league win comes from that, superb. We have the capabilities here. I have 100 percent belief in all the players that they have the abilities to win a league title. However, it’s a long season. There’s a lot for us to develop, a lot for us to change and a lot for me to learn,” he said.

Academy SC begins its 2016-17 Cayman Premier League quest with a match-up against Sunset FC on Sunday, 2 October with a 4:45 p.m. kickoff against Sunset FC at the Annex.

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