While the main focus remains on this country's senior footballers and their 2006 World Cup aspirations, local fans can look forward to seeing what the future has to offer as a National Under 15 team is currently in preparation for some international action.
Earlier this year, Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation youth development officer and National Under 20 coach Anton Corneal began scouting young talent throughout T&T and after selecting about 40 youngsters, a group of selected players will now go into a training camp next week under Coach Ken Elie who has been selected to oversee the progress of the youngsters. He is being assisted by former National midfielder Hutson Charles who also recently worked as an assistant with the National Under 17 team. Elie has years of experience including being an assistant during the days of Rene Simoes tenure with the Under 17 team in 2001. Serving as goalkeeper coach is former national Ross Russell whith Christoper Gouveia.
A squad of players commenced training on July 10 after it was learnt that T&T would be anticipating international action at a tournament of which further details will be announced early next week.
The efforts of Corneal and Federation technical director Lincoln Phillips meant that T&T would not be caught off guard by having to come up with a squad of players at late notice.
“The process started earlier this year when Anton did screening sessions which led to a squad of players being recorded and this meant that by the time we knew we had to prepare a squad we were already aware of who the players would be,” Elie told TTFF Media at a training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Friday.
“Currently we have about 38 players in training and I expect to cut it down to about 20 by next week in time for a camp. For all of the boys, it's a first experience training for a national team and getting ready to represent the country. So while it's a touchy situation it's also a great learning experience for them and there are many things we can take out of this” Elie added.
Among the players in the team include St Mary's College's Chad De Freitas, promising goalkeeper Jessie Fullerton, midfielder Sean De Silva and forward Steven Knox. Several of the players are attached to youth teams of local professional clubs and six of them are from CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, vying to make the final cut.
Phillips added that the intention is to groom the current squad for the 2007 Under 17 Championship.
“We didn't have much idea about the matches coming up until recently and fortunately for us we were able to fall back on the players discovered from the sessions carred out by Anton back in April,” Phillips said. “It's one of the first times we have benefitted from such an exercise in terms of preparing a youth team and this should auger well for us. The real intent is getting a squad ready for the Under 17 qualifiers in 2007,” he added.