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Central F.C. have made another addition to their squad in preparation for the forthcoming Pro League season, with the arrival of T&T national goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams.

Williams, who spent several years with W Connection before joining St Ann’s Rangers, is returning to play his football in his home town of Couva. The 28 year old shot stopper, who has played 51 times for Trinidad & Tobago, has just returned from representing his country at the Gold Cup where he became the first T&T goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in the Gold Cup competition. 

“Jan is a great acquisition for the club” said Technical Manager, Adrian Romain. “Marvin Phillip gave us very good service last season between the sticks and he’ll be missed around the club. But having a Couva boy like Jan is another step towards showing our commitment to the Central community.”

Technical Director and Head Coach, Terry Fenwick said that he only has one final piece of his jigsaw to complete. “I think we have signed all of the players that we targeted and who are available, but we are still looking for a left back” said Fenwick“

We started with the concept of keeping the squad young and as local as possible to encourage our community to get behind the lads.” Fenwick said that although there are many exciting young players, there is still a sprinkling of experience in the squad.

“Marvin Oliver and Carey Harris were our two most consistent players last year, so it shows that age is just a number! Bringing in Jan-Michael gives us a great role model for our young keeper, Jevon Sample. And players like Jason Marcano and Hector Sam have a wealth of experience to share.”

Central F.C. Managing Director, Brent Sancho said “It’s great to have a local boy like Jan-Michael at the club. Although we want to create a squad with a core of Central players, it will take time. In fact, we’re more representative of Tobago than Central at the moment! But with players like Jan-Michael and Nicholas Dillon representing their home town, it’s a good start. We’ve been searching for a quality left back or a left sided central defender and it looks now like we will have to go outside to find one.”

Sancho said that while it is important to Central F.C. to field local players, quality foreign imports add some spice to domestic football.

“We had Antiguan international Peter Byers at the club last season and he did a good job for us. However, we need to keep a careful eye on the number of foreign players entering our league. It’s the same argument I’ve been reading about in the press concerning foreign coaches.

We should make sure that we consider our local players first and then bring in one or two quality players to complement the squad. The questions we need to ask are: can they bring something different to our football? and can we find someone of equal ability here at home?” 

Williams, who states his favourite teams to watch as Juventus and Italy, and had spells in Europe at Belgian club, White Star Woluwe and Hungarian outfit, Ferencvaros, may also bring an added quality to the Sharks. “I once scored for W Connection against United Petrotrin in the Pro League and I’m always looking to double my total!”

The 28 year old said that his mother, Ann-Marie Williams had always been the biggest influence on his career and he respected goalkeepers like T&T world cup goalkeeper, Shaka Hislop and Italian Gigi Buffon. “Watching Shaka playing in England for clubs like Newcastle and West Ham really inspired me to work on my game. I really want to play in England, but the work permit situation is making it difficult.” 

Williams had trials with UK clubs such as Glasgow Rangers, Charlton Athletic, Derby County and Sheffield United, but in each case, work permit issues prevented him from obtaining a contract.

 “Therefore, I have a personal reason to do my best every time I pull on the T&T jersey. The higher we climb in the rankings, the more chance I’ll have of playing in Europe’s top leagues.”

Williams said that he’s pleased to be back representing a local club. “Obviously, I spent a few happy years at W Connection. But I feel that joining Central will raise my profile more in the region as they do so much work in the community. Of course, football is all about winning matches, but I really want to become a role model to young kids in the area and I feel Central will help me achieve this.”