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Tue, Sep

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Defence Force Head Coach, Ross Russell, aims high after boasting a trophy per season in the last three seasons since taking charge of the Soldiers in 2009.

Russell, in his debut season, guided the Soldiers to the First Citizens Cup and followed up brilliantly in 2010-2011 winning the Digicel Pro League Championship thanks to a record ten (10) match winning streak taking the first round by storm.

The Soldiers failed to defend its title in 2011-2012 following a late start and basically no preparations because of a four-month State of Emergency issued by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, but ended the season with the Digicel Pro Bowl title after reaching three knockout finals.

Now with a full complement of players including the return of striker Devorn Jorsling and a full pre-season, Head Coach Russell fancies “three or four” titles.

“I’m sending the warning right now,” voiced Russell. “We are not just focusing on the League. We will be focusing on all the (knockout titles) and we are coming to excite the crowds.”

The former Trinidad and Tobago international goalkeeper wants to start with the Digicel Charity Shield on Saturday 8 September against last season’s Digicel Pro League winner, W Connection from 5pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

The Charity Shield brings together the winners of the League and Pro Bowl with the winner having $10,000 donated to a charitable cause of choice, while part proceeds generated from the gate receipts go towards introducing the “Read to Rise” Primary Literacy Program to a school within the club’s community.

Russell told ttproleague.com, “I think W Connection would be [a little more match fit] because they are playing at a very high level right now. When you’re playing in the CONCACAF (Champions’ League) every game is tough. I saw them play two games so I think they would be a handful to deal with.

But because of the preparation we did, we are not really scared of anyone. We just want to go out and play, and enjoy ourselves. So I think our guys are looking forward to that. We are not studying what W (Connection) did for the year; we are studying what we could do for the year.

“We were prepared to play since last week. And the Charity Shield is just a step to the start of the season. It’s always good to start with a Cup so we are fully prepared to go and play. It’s for charity and we are a charity team. So we are going out to be the champions of the Charity Shield,” said Russell.

The 44 year old went on to strengthen certainty by adding, “The team is (getting stronger) every year and we are now progressing back to our championship style.

“We’ve prepared just like we prepared to win the League [in 2010-2011]. The guys are happy, they are excited to play. With Devorn Jorsling and Kevon Carter back fully, we are back to full strength like when we won the League. So I think we are prepared to play from our hearts and excite the League and bring out the crowds.

“So far in the three (seasons) since I took over, we won three trophies. Every year we won a trophy. This year we are trying to win around three or four trophies to show our dominance is back in the League.

“We always tried winning the League or the FA, but this time we have a lot of depth in the team so we can mix and match wherever we want and play guys in the (knockout tournaments) as well as in the League. So we are out to give a lot of trouble to the other clubs.”

The Soldiers are also looking towards the Military Games later this year, which serves as a qualifier to the Military World Cup 2013 in Qatar. But will take the field for its first 2012-2013 Digicel Pro League match on Friday 14 September against St. Ann’s Rangers at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.