Cayman teen signs up with UK football club

| 07/10/2013

(CIFA): Five months before the first ball was kicked at the inaugural CONCACAF Under 15 Football Championships in the summer, football history in the youth ranks was made yet again in the Cayman Islands when in April 2013, 14-year-old Caymanian Nathan Borde signed a one-year development contract with Swindon Town Football Club’s Youth Academy. Nathan joins fellow Caymanians, Sebastian Martinez and Kray Foster, at Swindon Town’s prestigious Youth Academy following a short spell with Sheffield Wednesday’s Youth Academy. A fourth Caymanian youngster, Cameron Gray, plies his trade at the Youth Academy at Reading FC. All four play for Cayman's under-17 national team.

Young Borde’s journey to Swindon Town FC has been very different from Sebastian’s and Kray’s, and Cameron’s at Reading. The three Youth Academy ‘veterans’ have had the advantage of having an adult support network very close to them on which to rely, whereas Nathan was at a boarding school in Sheffield, a far cry from the warmth of his home, family and friends in Grand Cayman.

This alone is a true testament of young Nathan’s mental strength and desire to achieve his goal of eventually playing at the professional level. Nathan’s only adult support while in Sheffield was that of Fitzroy Simpson, who was nearly four hours away in Swindon (London) and whohas been the pivotal figure in the four youngsters’ enrollment at the respective academies. The Technical Director at Goald Football Management in the United Kingdom, Mr. Simpson is no stranger to the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands having played professionally for Portsmouth FC, Manchester City and Swindon Town FC as well as representing Jamaica at the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.

Although Nathan was doing very well at school, Mr. Simpson, who had assisted with Nathan’s initial enrollment at Sheffield Wednesday’s Youth Academy, had been following the youngster’s football progress and ultimately was not satisfied.

Gaining permission from Nathan’s parents, Nicholas and Josette Borde, Mr. Simpson arranged a three-week trial with Swindon Town FCs Youth Academy for the youngster in March 2013. Pleased with what he saw,

Jeremy Newton, Swindon’s Youth Academy Manager, invited Nathan to tour Holland with Swindon’s Under 13 squad. Following the trial period and the tour of Holland, Nathan returned to school in Sheffield and Sheffield Wednesday’s Youth Academy.

Three weeks later, Mr. Newton offered Nathan a one-year development contract with Swindon Town’s Youth Academy and after gaining acceptance into the school Sebastian Martinez attends and arranging suitable housing arrangements in Swindon, young Mr. Borde became the newest recruit at Swindon Town’s Youth Academy.

Commenting on his son’s achievements, a beaming Nicholas Borde said, “We are obviously very, very proud of Nathan. My wife and I cannot thank Mr. Simpson enough for all he has done for Nathan (and us). To list the many areas of assistance, guidance and general help Fitzroy has offered would be just too long. His achievements, knowledge, experience and reputation in the football industry is well respected at the highest levels and Mr. Simpson has been an inspiration for Nathan. He demands the very best from Nathan and pushes him in every aspect to become a better footballer and a well-rounded, disciplined young man.”

Realising that he has a long way to go and much to learn, Nathan has already settled well at school and at his new club. On Sunday, September 29, he scored a goal and assisted with another as Swindon’s Under 14s defeated rivals Oxford United 3-2.

“Nathan is slight in stature but massive in desire,” added Mr. Simpson. “He is now a part of Swindon Town’s prestigious Youth Academy on merit. I cannot think of another 14-year old who would leave the ‘safety net’ of his family to be alone in a strange country. Nathan’s journey is now real and he fully understands that with the proper work ethic his targets can be achieved, which is the same for all the youngsters at Swindon Town FC.”

Borde added, “We thank the many coaches who have made a positive impact in Nathan’s development including Winston Chung, John Megson (at Sheffield Wednesday), Virgil Seymour, Bruce Sigsworth and Paolo Polloni.”

A new journey has begun for Nathan and one that the Cayman Islands will be following very closely.

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