TRINIDAD and Tobago youth team footballer Jabari Mitchell is setting his sights on earning a contract in Europe, in the near future.
Mitchell, who will turn 18 on May 1, made this disclosure during a recent interview, where he also spoke about his stints at both the national Under-17 and Under-20 teams.
Asked about his immediate and/or future goals, the soft-spoken Mitchell noted, “I’m looking to play in Europe one day, with a ‘big’ team.”
But firstly, the attacking midfielder will now be focusing on making the TT Under-23 team, under the guidance of veteran coach Zoran Vranes, for the 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers, which are expected to kick off in June.
Mitchell was instrumental in helping Naparima College win the inaugural 2014 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division crown, and he was rewarded with the season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.
However, he was unable to accept the award at the prize-giving ceremony in January — at the Digicel IMAX Theatre in Woodbrook, since he was representing the national Under-20 team at the Concacf Championships in Jamaica. His father Sheldon took the trophy on his behalf.
Mitchell stated, “it was a good feeling, accomplishing that for the first time and making the All Star team for the first time, that felt good and it (boosted) my confidence.”
Despite missing the first couple of weeks in the Schools League in September due to his involvement in the TT Under-20 team’s victorious CFU campaign, he fitted right into the scheme of things at the Naparima team, coached by Angus Eve.
“I came back with a mission to help the team to accomplish just what we did, (to) win as much games as possible and we did that,” he said.
The resident of Gonzales Village, Guapo, Point Fortin said, “I started off at the Civic Centre Youth Academy in Point Fortin.
I started off as a striker, but after I joined W Connection and as the years (went) by, I changed into an attacking midfielder.” He was part of the national Under-17 team, under the guidance of Sean Cooper, in 2013 who missed out on qualification in Panama for a place at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
“It was good,” was how he described the experience. “We were one game away from the World Cup and (we) lost. That was disappointing, but (the experience) was good.”
Ironically, he had similar experiences this year as the Derek King — coached team failed in their bid to make the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Mitchell pointed out, “I thought we could have matched with every team. We tried, we played hard, but unfortunately something wasn’t right and we didn’t (succeed).
“But it was a good experience. I know next time I’ll have a little more knowledge.”
He is currently pursuing business at Lower Six, Naparima College, but, as far as his life outside of football is concerned, “I like to laugh and make jokes, interact with friends and family.”