A Young Caymanian’s Football Odyssey
Above: Sebastian Martinez
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Cayman native Sebastian Martinez, all of 13 years old, has signed an 18-month contract with the Swindon Town Football Club in England.
Martinez is currently playing for the club’s U13 development team, where he has already scored his first goal for the club in a game against Bournesmouth.
“Sebastian is living his dream,” said his father, Barry Martinez. “It is an opportunity of a lifetime and I think it is brilliant that he has the chance to do this.”
Martinez has high-level support, including from Carl Brown, the technical director for Cayman’s Ministry of Sports and Football, who introduced him to former Swindon player and talent scout Fitzroy Simspon, who visited the Cayman Islands earlier this year.
Martinez’ contract actually began as a two-week trial, and turned into six weeks of football and the ultimate offer of an 18-month trial.
“I hope this opens doors for the many other talented players we have in the Cayman Islands,” Martinez said. “We seriously need to pay attention to developing our young athletes. The fact that Sebastian is playing for a major club overseas shows others what is possible.”
Sports Minister Mark Scotland said he would continue to work with the country’s football association to make these kinds of opportunities possible.
“Sports development is high on our agenda,” he said. “Not only does this give talented youngsters opportunities to broaden their horizons, but it also gives our young people positive ideals to aspire to.”
Scotland said the ministry and the Cayman Islands Football Association were looking forward to a “long-standing” relationship with Swindon.