Football fans are in for a treat at the 2017 Cayman Airways Invitational U15 Youth Football Cup. The event organised by the West Bay Sports Foundation (WBSF) has attracted a dozen teams, including last year’s winner, Manchester City FC, as well as the Cayman Islands National U15 Team.

The tournament will be played at three venues: Truman Bodden Sports Complex, Ed Bush Sports Complex and the Bluff Playing Field in Cayman Brac. It runs 2-7 May, 2017.

“We are very excited that we are able to host this tournament again,” said WBSF co-founder, Arden Rivers. “With the quality of teams that we have been able to attract, we are confident of putting on a show for spectators.”

Other competing teams include: Alchemy DSC (Minnesota), Bahamas National U15 Team, Cavalier Soccer Club (Jamaica), Cuba National U15 Team, DC United (MLS), Harbour View FC (Jamaica), Houston Dynamo Academy (MLS), IMG Academy (Florida), La Ceiba FC (Honduras), and Trinidad and Tobago National U15 Team.

Cayman Airways Limited has generously returned as title sponsor, with major support from the Cayman Islands Government through the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport.

“We are particularly proud to be the first point of Caymankind contact that many visiting teams will have on their journey to the Cayman Islands to compete in this tournament, as they will be flying courtesy of Cayman Airways,” said Cayman Airways Limited president and CEO, Fabian Whorms.

Visiting teams will fly to the Cayman Islands on the national airline, including from some of its international gateway cities like Miami, Tampa, Honduras, Kingston and Havana.

Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden said he is delighted to see the teams take to the pitch in friendly rivalry.

“From its inception, the West Bay Sports Foundation sought to create an event that would attract high calibre football talent to the Cayman Islands. Its objective was to increase opportunities for our youth, and also to champion our aspiration to be a world-class sports tourism destination,” Mr Bodden said.

“Given the high standard of matches needed to develop players and further hone the skills learnt both in training and in games, I am confident that the event will produce some thrilling football,” the Sports Minister added.

Meantime, Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, who is also Minister of District Administration, Tourism and Transport, identified the tournament as an important piece of the Cayman Islands’ sports tourism product.

“Football is a favoured sport and pastime here in Cayman and by sponsoring this event, the Ministry of Tourism is also contributing to the development of sports tourism in our Islands. Hosting high calibre International tourneys here at home helps to strengthen our Islands’ reputation as a sports tourism destination and we thank the West Bay Sports Foundation for bringing this competition to our shores on an annual basis,” Mr Kirkconnell said.

The tournament begins with teams being pooled into three groups of four teams. One group will be based in Cayman Brac, while the other two will play in Grand Cayman. Each group winner plus the best second-placed team will advance to the semi-finals. The championship game will be played at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Sunday, 7 May, 2017.

“As sports fans across the Cayman Islands gather to cheer on their favourite times, especially our very own Cayman Islands National Under-15 team, all of us at Cayman Airways join in wishing them all the best of luck,” said Mr Whorms on behalf of the tournament’s title sponsors.

As published in Cayman Sports Buzz