ACADEMY Manager Jeremy Newton files his latest tour diary entry from the Cayman Islands
Thursday saw everyone preparing for the final game against Houston Dynamo. While the players were allowed some free time in the morning, I had a radio interview about the Academy at Swindon Town and how the tour is going. After the interview, it was back to the hotel to change for a meeting with Jeff Webb, The President of CONCACAF and the Vice President of FIFA. I know Mr Webb personally and was invited by him to attend the CONCACAF Under-15s tournament in August of last year.
The temperature was in the high 80s for the 7pm kick-off with Houston Dynamo. The game started well, with Swindon controlling possession and using the ball well. We could have taken the lead when Sam Fletcher's header hit the cross bar. We were awarded a penalty when Sam Beaumont was tripped inside the box but Jack Stanley's spot-kick was saved brilliantly. Swindon eventually took the lead when Sam Fletcher's reverse 'Cruyff turn' saw Scott Twine smash the ball into the top of the net.
The lads started the second half brightly although Houston scored, taking goalkeeper Connor Johns by surprise with a long-range effort. We then made some changes, with Jack Stanley coming off and be replaced by Harry Hillerby. Ryan Penney, Jordan Simpson, Nathan Borde, and Jabari Hylton also came on.
We were awarded our second penalty when Jordan Morris was tripped. Tyreke Johnson scored his second goal of the tour but was booked for taking his shirt off. Tommy Ouldridge also took his shirt off, for some unknown reason, but seemed to be overwhelmed with excitement!
Dynamo then equalised again when we failed to clear the ball and were punished. Tyreke Johnson then tried to score with a run that took him past four defenders before he put the ball over the bar. He then tried a bicycle kick that crashed against the crossbar but it wasn't to be for Swindon and the game finished 2-2.
This was our final game of the tour so, depending on the result of the Houston Dynamo game against the Cayman national side on Saturday, we will have to see where we end up.
The team left today and will have a day in Miami before flying overnight and returning tomorrow. I'm staying in the Grand Cayman for a further two days because I have meetings with Bruce Blake, the President of CIFA, along with Jeff Webb and then with the Minister of Sport to work on continuing relations with Swindon Town.
I would like to thank all the staff and the players for their continued hard work and commitment to the Academy. It's been a very quick turnaround for the players and they have adapted very well. We took two Under-14s this year so hopefully they will take lots of positives from the tour, along with all the other players.
It's back to normal for all the players and staff next week when they will all report in on Monday night for training and return to Academy life again.
Swindon Town: Connor John, Jack Stanley, Ryan wood, Sam Fletcher, Jordan Morris, mason Hathaway, Jake Evans, Scott twine, Tyreke Johnson, Sam Beaumont, Tommy Ouldridge
Subs: Jordan Simpson, Sebastian Martinez, Ryan Penney, Harry Hillerby, Jabari Hylton, Nathan Borde