EXCLUSIVE: Ipswich Town scouting in Cayman Island for new players
Ipswich Town are spreading their net as far as the Cayman Islands in their quest to unearth the latest footballing gem.
Blues’ head of recruitment Steve McGavin (pictured) and youth development coach, Steve Foley, are heading out to the Caribbean later this month to spend a week at the Grand Cayman Football Academy.
Two under-14 players from the British territory impressed the Town coaching staff in training sessions at Playford Road, during the recent Easter holidays, and McGavin and Foley will run the rule over the best young talent, with the latter also delivering some coaching sessions.
The trip is being funded by the Caribbean club and could lead to a long-term partnership between the two parties with the Grand Cayman Academy keen on securing overseas scholarships for their best young players.
“Seven boys came over to Ipswich at Easter, two of whom impressed, and the relationship has really developed from there,” said McGavin of the partnership that was created as a result of a contact on the Island.
“We are going out there to assess the whole academy set-up and the main area to look at will be boys aged 13, 14 and 15.”
The national team is currently ranked 196 in the world. Its best run of form came in 1995 when the side reached the semi-finals of the Caribbean Cup.
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“The Grand Cayman Academy wanted to create a partnership with a club in the UK which has a pathway for boys with the right quality,” said the former Colchester United forward.
“Hopefully in the future we can send coaches out there and with Ipswich going for Category One academy status it is something we will have to look at in terms of recruitment.
“It doesn’t matter where the best players come from. They can be from – Ipswich, Australia, Japan, New Zealand – just ask Tommy Smith.
“But the only way the partnership is going to be credible is if we can produce players from it.”
Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon have already tapped into the Island, which boasts a population of less than 55,000, for academy players.
Meanwhile, Town have confirmed that Arran Lee-Barrett, Andy Drury and Lee Martin have been released, while striker Michael Chopra and winger Jay Emmanuel-Thomas have been told they can find new clubs by Mick McCarthy.