Name: Cyd Gray.
Club: San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad).
Previous Clubs: Tobago United (Tobago, on loan), Joe Public (Trinidad), Roxborough Lakers (Tobago), Pune FC (India, loan from Jan-08 to Jun-08).
School: Roxborough Composite (Tobago).
NOTE: Hardworking Tobago-born defender. Use his speed very well on the flanks. Made his international World Cup debut vs Costa Rica in March of 2001. During a Digicel Cup cup match, Gray scored his first senior team goal for T&T in a 2-0 win over Grenada on the 26th of November 2004, five days after his 31st birthday. Gray took over from his country-man Dwight Yorke when he captained the T&T team made up of mostly "newcomers" in a friendly match against Japan, August 9th 2006. From the 2006 FIFA World Cup both Cyd Gray and Dwight Yorke happened to be the only two Tobago-born players on the official T&T Roster.
In August 2006- English Premiership club Middlesborough was also keen on signing Gray after a successful trial with them, however terms could not be agreed upon between the player's agents and, the club. Gray will now head to Millwall and Yeovil Town among other English clubs for further trial spells.
|20-Feb-2008||Cyd Gray out for 3 months with shin injury.|
|03-Jan-2008||Cyd Gray heading India.|
|02-Jan-2007||Gray vows to keep playing but blocked from Digicel Cup.|
|25-Aug-2006||Glovers let Cyd Gray go.|
|12-Jul-2006||Foreign clubs eye local duo.|
|04-Jul-2006||Stadium to be named after Cyd Gray.|
The Gray Warrior.
By: Ian Prescott (Express).
12-Jan-2006 - Cyd Gray made a bold statement on the eve of Trinidad and Tobago's World Cup play-off series with Bahrain.
"It's our time," he declared with no hesitation in his voice. "We going to the World Cup this time."
Gray's words turned out to be almost prophetic as history will now show that T&T beat Bahrain 2-1 on aggregate to book their first World Cup Finals place at the 11th attempt since 1966.
On November 16, 2005, the day when Dennis Lawrence's second half header gave T&T a 1-0 win in Bahrain, Gray occupied the right full-back position and was instrumental in keeping the home team out in the final crucial moments. Until then, Gray had mostly been on the fringe of the national team.
Like many in Trinidad and Tobago, Cyd Gray remembers the painful feelings felt after T&T lost 1-0 to the United States 16 years ago. As a Tobago schoolboy, he also remembers following the exploits of Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, who are both now veterans with the current Soca Warriors. Gray admits being emptied by the crushing loss. But, by the time, T&T reached Bahrain during the most recent qualifiers, Gray felt assured that he would be among those playing on the big stage in Germany in 2006.
Like many in the "Strike Squad", Gray has suffered his personal disappointments from World Cup qualifiers. But his story is one of persistence paying off in the long run. Some still cannot forgo the image of Costa Rica's Herman Medford ghosting through the Trinidad and Tobago left flank during a one-sided World Cup qualifier in San Jose four years ago. Playing his first World Cup qualifier for Trinidad and Tobago, Gray, the right-back, was singled out for special attention.
At age 24, he had made an encouraging national debut a few weeks earlier in an international warm-up which Trinidad and Tobago easily beat Guatemala by a 3-1 margin. But, when thrown in at the deep end against Costa Rica, the Tobago defender struggled to swim. Some, in Trinidad and Tobago, almost drowned him in criticism. But, to be fair, everyone played bad that day. Gray still remembers that nightmarish day.
"I get a lot of pound, but I just take it in stride. I was very disappointed about the whole game, but at the same time I didn't think I played that badly. The whole team played bad," he says.
Admittedly, Cyd Gray has done some stupid things on the football field. He can be awe-inspiring by his raw aggression and tireless work-rate and just as frustrating through his moments of rashness and perceived lack of concentration.
Keyeno Thomas, his fellow defender at CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, felt that frustration a few months ago during the local professional season when a rash tackle on Andre Toussaint saw Gray being sent off during a crucial match late in the season. All season long, they had been chasing eventual champions W. Connection and needed to win. Thomas said nothing as his team-mate walked off the field, but his piercing glare and repeatedly shaking of the head spoke their own words. That is the enigma that Gray presents to the public-hardworking with a never-say-die attitude, but capable of the odd moments of rashness.
Who can forget the costly mistake at the CONCACAF Gold Cup which cost Trinidad and Tobago a goal against Panama.
Obviously Gray clearly registers the incident when he unwisely stooped to head away a low pass out the T&T defence, when it would have been much easier to kick it away. He ended up passing the ball to a Panamanian striker Luis Tejada who scored.
Like his more famous Tobagonian team-mate Dwight Yorke, Cyd Gray has learnt to sport a toothy grin in the face of adversity and to get on with things. Not that he overlooks his mistakes, but instead learns from them.
"I got a lot of stick for that (Panama)," he admits. "But you know, people make mistakes. Everyone does it. I just have to learn from it."
One agrees with the things he does on the field or not, no one questions what national coach Leo Beenhakker, the former Real Madrid coach, sees in him. Beenhakker raised a few eyebrows when giving Gray a starting position against Mexico towards the end of the CONCACAF World cup qualifying campaign.
The game was perhaps Trinidad and Tobago's toughest of the qualifying campaign, one which the Soca Warriors needed to win. Often isolated against the speedy Guillermo Franco on the flank, Gray foiled every attempt by the Mexicans to free the attacker. Stopper Marvin Andrews was not always covering as well as he should, and had Gray missed just one tackle, the Mexican would have been in. But, the 29-year-old Tobagonian stood solid as a rock. Gray confessed that he was motivated for the match.
"I learnt a lot from my first experience in a World Cup qualifier (Costa Rica)," he said. Now, I am a lot older...wiser. Against Mexico I was really motivated. First, it was a game we had to win and I also wanted to go out there and show people that I should be in the team."
Cyd Gray first came to prominence as a schoolboy when Roxborough Composite made a rare trip to Trinidad as schoolboy football champions of the sister isle. It was one of the few years in which Signal Hill, the school which produced Dwight Yorke, had not won the Tobago League. Backed by goals from Cyd Gray, Roxborough caused the upset that year. Yes, Gray was a striker back then, putting in goals that led to consecutive Tobago league titles for Roxborough.
Following his schooldays, Gray lined up with Tobago's Roxborough Lakers, before moving to Trinidad in 1997 to join Joe Public. It was while at Joe Public that former national coach Muhammad Isa wanted a right back and Gray was converted to fit the position. He admits that now he is comfortable at the back of the field and cannot see himself reverting to his former role. After five seasons with the Eastern Lions, Gray moved to his current club CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh. His time there has largely been fruitful except for last season when he struggled to get into the team under then English coach Stephen Rutter. He credits the return of another Englishman Terry Fenwick for restarting his club career and the coming of Dutchman Beenhakker for a second chance at an international one.
Beenhakker spotted Gray during a Cup final in which he had a particularly good game. Gray feels that Beenhakker must have recognised the same quality, which Fenwick sees in him.
"I think it was my aggression and work rate which the coach (Beenhakker) saw. Also the pressure I put on the attacker and my pace in the game," he said.
Gray thinks Beenhakker brought a better sense of purpose to the Soca Warriors and that has helped with the cohesion within the team. Still, Gray recognises the role of former coach Bertille St Clair, whom he feels did a reasonably good job as national coach. He thinks St Clair should be recalled as a national youth coach.
Wherever you see him now, Gray spontaneously spouts his traditional big grin. The Soca Warriors are in the World Cup Finals. Gray has also established himself in the squad and there is also news of an upcoming trial in England as well. It seems that it is not just the Soca Warriors' time, but Cyd Gray's as well.
Hero's welcome for Cyd Gray.
02-Dec-2005 - Cyd Gray, one of the two Tobago players who wee members of the Soca Warriors in their history-making victory against Bahrain to qualify for the 2006 World Cup received a hero's welcome on his return home, earlier in the week.
The other Tobago player was none other than this country's and region's most celebrated and renowned footballer who is the captain of the Soca Warriors, Dwight Yorke. However, because of his professional commitment, he was unable to return home to be celebrated for his role in their success.
Gray who was accompanied by another Soca Warrior in Denzil Theobald was greeted by a band of jubilant supporters on his arrival at Crown Point International airport and paraded from Crown Point to Delaford and back to his primary school alma mater, Roxborough Anglican.
During the journey he made various stops and signed autographs for school children and others who had lined the streets for his welcome home party.
At his alma mater, he enjoyed an entertaining cultural programme with some of the items being performed by school children. There were also addresses by Representative for the Area, Assemblyman and Secretary for Agriculture Hilton Sandy, Assistant Secretary for Sports Tracy Davidson, School Principal Ken Webster who was one of his former teachers, Roxborough Composite School Principal James Jack and one of his former classmates Ancil Toppin.
Gray gave a passionate response when he spoke, indicating that playing in the World Cup was his life's long dream and said that he hopes to secure a foreign contract after the World Cup. He then spent time with the youngsters offering them words of advice and signing autographs.
The celebrations were organised by his former football club, Roxborough Lakers and his alma mater Roxborough Anglican School.
Gray will also be celebrated by Roxborough Composite School today (Friday), his other alma mater and will be an honoured guest of the Tobago House of Assembly for their 25th anniversary celebrations.
He and Yorke will receive the Chief Secretary's Award which is the highest award that will be awarded at the THA's Awards function at Mason Hall Government High School on Saturday.
Gillingham looks at Cyd Gray.
By: Shaun Fuentes.
01-Dec-2005 - Tobago-born defender Cyd Gray has made a name for himself in recent times with some polished performances against Mexico and Bahrain. And now the former Joe Public and current CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh man has attracted the interest of English League One side Gillingham FC among other overseas clubs.
Gray is being honoured by the Tobago House of Assembly this week for his exploits with the “Soca Warriors” and has come in form high praise from former England international Terry Fenwick who signed him from Joe Pubic.
“This guy has been excellent especially when you look back at the story leading up to his last couple performances,” Fenwick said.
“I took him from Joe Public just after the game which T&T lost to Costa Rica 3-0 in 2001 when two of the goals came from his side and he came in for harsh criticism. Everyone was giving him the stick at that time. But I saw other things and we realised he was a solid defender and competitor.
His distribution wasn’t good and even though he had great pace, he could end up hot headed at times. We put one or two things into his game and we worked on it and this has been the rewards. He’s wants to win things every time he steps on the field. He’s not just done good things for Jabloteh or for the country but he’s done good for Cyd Gray.
He’s now in a position to move on to better things with the country getting massive exposure world-wide in the six months leading up to the World Cup.”
Gray couldn’t have felt better. “Right now it’s just an unbelievable feeling. Coming from Tobago and seeing what Dwight has been able to achieve, as a player you always try to imagine and dream about certain things.
Here it is I have just played for a team that has made it to the World Cup and there is nothing that can make you feel better,” Gray added following the 1-0 win over Bahrain.
Q&A with Cyd Gray.
By Shaun Fuentes
16-Oct-2005 - 1. What’s your most memorable moment or match, whether for country or Club?
That was against Guatemala in the Hasely Crawford Stadium just before we played Costa Rica in 2001 because it was my first international game and we won 3-1 and then this last win over Mexico.
2. Name two persons, whether relative or not who have been an inspiration to you.
My mother Moude and now my son, 1 year-old Jardel.
3. Any favourite player or team?
Cafu is my favourite player and I back Chelsea.
4. What would be your preferred other profession?
Cricketer. I’m a good all-rounder.
5. What do you hope to accomplish either in next 5 years or end of playing career?
Go to a World Cup is what I really want to achieve.
6. Who’s been among your most admired coaches and why?
Terry Fenwick because he has taught me a lot in playing, both attacking and defensive wise.
7. What do you think of T&T’s chances of making it to the 2006 World Cup?
I think the chances are very much good at the moment. We are one step away.
8. Any instances or plays that you always reflect on?
Basically I just think about the game. I like to win so my emotions tend to take over when game time comes up. I moved to Trinidad at age 19 to join Joe Public and I’ve adapted that style ever since.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Work hard and always try to hard to be consistent. I think I still need to work more on being consistent.
10. What do you do to relax away from the game?
Just be home relaxing.
11. What’s your favorite dish?
12. Favourite drink?
13. Favorite time of year?
14. Most comfortable football boot?
15.What was the high point for you this season as well as the low point?
The only high point this season has been winning the League Cup with Jabloteh. Not starting well in the season with Jabloteh this season because of a knee injury.
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