Sat, Apr


Former Trinidad international Marlon Rojas has been appointed as the new coach of Premier Division team Somerset Eagles.

The 31-year-old succeeds Kenny Thompson who last month quit the White Hill Field club to become the Director of Football at First Division BAA Wanderers.

Rojas' task in hand has not been made any easier by the loss of key players Keishen Bean (North Village), Antwan Russell (PHC), Aquino Grant (PHC) and Danvers Seymour (Somerset Trojans) who all left the club in the wake of Thompson's departure.

But club president Marc Bean, a Government Senator, believes the tough tackling midfielder is the right man to steady the ship and maintain Eagles' top-flight status this season.

"Obviously Kenny (Thompson) did a great job for us but I expect Marlon to walk in his own shoes and stamp his own mark on the team," said Bean.

"I'm sure the players will be receptive to his ideas and methods and I expect him to build on what has already been developed.

"Marlon is highly regarded by everyone at the club not only as a player but also as a gentleman. He has the respect of both the players and the community and is still one of the top players on the Island.

"Knowing Marlon, though, his main focus will be on coaching the team and getting them playing some attractive and effective football."

A former Major League Soccer (MLS) professional at Real Salt Lake, Rojas cut his coaching teeth with the Eagles under-18 team who he led to the division title two years ago.

And with the nucleus of that side now forming the backbone of the Eagles senior team, Rojas was deemed the obvious in-house candidate to replace the popular Thompson.

"Although we have lost some good players the core of our team remains the same," Bean said. "We still have our homegrown players who are also the core of the current Bermuda Hogges team.

"Marlon already has a connection to those players having coached them two years ago at the under-18 level when they pretty much won everything."

Despite recently announcing he would step down as the Eagles president to focus on other interests, Bean said yesterday he would remain in his position while the club stabilised itself following a turbulent pre-season.

"Although I'd like to find time for other interests I would never neglect my community as I've invested too much blood, sweat and tears (into the club)," he said.

"Right now the club is not in a position for me to step down because I'm the current incumbent and we're still going through a transitional period. I still desire to step down but I can't say when that will be."

Rojas, whose football résumé also includes stints at Trinidad powerhouse Joe Public F.C and the Hogges, was an integral part of the Eagles team which gained promotion from the second tier two years ago.

He had been a regular starter for Trinidad during their 2006 World Cup qualifying journey but lost his contract at Real Salt Lake due to the number of matches he was missing while on international duty.

It robbed him of a place in the Soca Warriors' World Cup party which included his close friend Carlos Edwards, of Ipswich Town, ex-Manchester United ace Dwight Yorke and former Premier League striker Stern John.