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2013-10-17T12:07:00 Updated 2015-02-18T23:44:58

U16s secure Florida trophy

West Ham United U16s gave a glimpse of their potential by winning the four-team GIS Cup tournament in Florida.

Trevor Bumstead's side travelled to the city of Palm Coast for the competition, which saw them face three American sides. The Hammers youngsters rose to the occasion under warm and sunny skies, defeating PDA Florida 4-0, Premier UK Soccer 6-1 and Darlington School Soccer Academy 4-0 to lift the trophy.

The goals were shared around, with Jahmal Hector-Ingram bagging four in total and a hat-trick against Darlington, while Oscar Borg, Matthew Carter, Marcus Browne, Joe Linley, Eric Duah, Ben Sheaf and Reece Oxford were also on target.

Bumstead said the squad had shown maturity on and off the pitch to get the job done.

"It went very well on what was the first trip abroad for some of the players," he confirmed. "The boys did very well out there, winning all three games and playing some really good football at the same time.

"It's all about the whole experience rather than just the football experience they get from these trips - just going away and how they deal with their down time and how they react against foreign opposition in different conditions.

"We played three games and won the first one 4-0. It took us a bit of time to break PDA Florida down but once we did we scored three very good goals. In the second game, the opposition put lots of players behind the ball and it was a similar story, and we ran out 6-1 winners. In the third and final game, we were again comfortable winners and scored our goals early this time."

Bumstead said his players had had to work hard to break their opponents down in all three matches.

"Although the final scorelines were quite emphatic, it took us quite a while to get our first goal in the first two matches. The American players are very athletic and the standard of play is getting better over there and it was a good test for our boys."

The U16s manager said it was also vital that West Ham kept an eye out for promising American youngsters, with the prospect of signing them up in the future.

"We have two players in our system with American backgrounds in Sebastian Lletget and Djair Parfitt-Williams, so it proves that our links with the USA are working and we're starting to see some of the boys filter through, hopefully into the first team.

"It's massively important to scout all over the world, because if you are only looking within three or four miles of the training ground you're not always going to find professional footballers there year on year. So, we've got to look farther and wider and [Academy head of recruitment] Dave Hunt is doing a great job in terms of bringing international players to the Club.

"What is important is that the international players are better than what we've got here and that's what we're always mindful of."

While the Hammers are casting the net far and wide in the search for new talent, three home-grown stars have already had their abilities recognised by England at U16 level.

Ben Sheaf and Reece Oxford played in the 1-0 Victory Shield win over Wales earlier this month and the pair have been joined in the squad by Jahmal Hector-Ingram for the second fixture in the home nations tournament against Northern Ireland. The game will be played in Bournemouth on Friday 8 November.

"Ben and Reece played against Wales and we've just had Jahmal called-up for the Northern Ireland game, so that's three lads in the England U16 squad. We're hoping they go on to achieve bigger and better things."

While they do not play in a league structure, West Ham's U16 fixtures echo those played by the U18s. This season, Bumstead said the schoolboys have been playing some fine football.

"Performances have generally been very good. We have been changing our team around depending on what the older age-groups take from us, but it's been great for some of the younger schoolboys to have the opportunity to play up at an older age-group.

"That is the way we see it - all about development rather than results - and the performances have been very good, in general."

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