Wed, Jun
24 New Articles

Kariym Balthazar at Dowling College

Fresh out of Saint Leo University in the United States, midfielder Kariym Balthazar has joined his hometown club Point Fortin Civic and stepfather Reynold Carrington, who serves as head coach of the season debuting Pro League club.

 Carrington, in his challenge for the 2013/3014 Digicel Pro League title, utilised the mid-season transfer window by slightly renovating his squad.

Twenty-five-year-olds Balthazar and Amare Ettienne were included as fresh blood, while 21-year-old ex-Central FC Tobagonian defender Omarr Charles adds stability at the back, and 32-year-old former T&T youth midfielder Sean Cooper boosts the experience.

Balthazar, who represented the Saints in the last three years after completing studies at Herkimer Community College, also had a brief stint with USL Premier Development League outfit Brooklyn Knights, while Ettienne was promoted from Fortin Civic Centre's Southern Football Association team.

Also during the December/January transfer window, Carrington parted ways with worn-out-veteran defender Lyndon Diaz and winger Keron Neptune, who joined Central FC, while attacker and former youth teammate of Balthazar, Matthew Bartholomew, Vietnam is currently on trial in Vietnam with V-League outfit Hanoi T&T FC.

"In the first instance (our new signings) will give us depth," said Carrington. "We came into the (TT Pro) league without even screening players, so as we went along we knew that we needed to add players to strengthen our squad.

"We have promoted Amare Ettiene, who is the younger brother of our captain Andre Ettiene, from the SFA team. We have brought in Omarr Charles and the experience of Sean Cooper.

"Sean is a player with a lot of experience, and has played in Portugal, Brazil and most recently in Suriname. Coming with that experience says a lot. His personality is also great for the team and his teammates. He is no stranger to the players and community because he has family in Point Fortin as well... and I've known him for around 15 years."

Cooper, who last represented Suriname's Walking Boys Company (WBC) following a two and a half years stint with another Surinamese club, Transvaal, is a former player of Joe Public, North East Stars and the defunct Tobago United. He also had stints in the lower divisions of Portugal and Brazil.

Balthazar meanwhile, although having a much closer relationship with Carrington, as his father figure, isn't banking on generosity from the former Trinidad and Tobago and W Connection standout and captain.

"It was a was a dream for me after hearing Point Fortin Civic were on the verge of entering the Pro League," said Balthazar, who completed his Business Management studies at Saint Leo University last December.

"Back then I told Carrington that I was interested in playing for Civic. He told me to keep working hard on my game and when I'm finished at university I would have the opportunity to train with the team and see where it goes.

"He (Carrington) is basically responsible for me starting football and taking it serious. But I'm not looking for any favours at all. I returned to Trinidad (in early January) and trained with the team and the coaching staff was pleased enough to include me in the team.

"I just want to help the team. I'm a hard worker and I have a good level of professionalism. I want to work hard and when given the opportunity I will grab it with two hands.”

Balthazar, a past pupil of Princess Town Senior Comprehensive and Vessigny Government Secondary, added that hard work was something always preached abroad.

"He is a hard worker," Carrington said proudly. "He is a disciplined player and fights for whatever team he plays for.

"I've known Kariym before he even entered primary school so he is that close to me. And I can tell you, he always had the love for football. Even before the thought of Point Fortin Civic (being a part of the Pro League), and I was still playing at W Connection, he had the desire of playing professionally in Trinidad. But I've always encouraged him to complete his schooling… degree first.

"And now it's a great feeling to see that he still has the passion to accomplish that dream he had."

Carrington and Point Fortin should welcome all the help they can get in chase of the league title and against leaders DIRECTV W Connection in a top of the table clash on Saturday from 3.30 pm at the Mahaica Oval.

"Our players will definitely be up for this challenge," assured Carrington despite conceding two defeats already this season against the “Savonetta Boys”.

"Connection have a vast amount of knowledge and they are a team that plays attractive football while looking for the win.

"But once we mesh them defensively, our chances will pop up and it's for us to capitalise."

Point Fortin are positioned second on the nine-team standings with 17 points, just one point more than half the tally of runaway leaders Connection (32 points), also the former club Balthazar, who served at U-16 level.

Also with 17 points are North East Stars and Police FC. Police will try and slice Connection’s lead on Friday (31 January) when they tackle Central FC from 6 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, followed by an 8 pm clash between San Juan Jabloteh and Caledonia AIA.

"At the beginning I was thinking of a top four finish," explained Carrington, a multiple-time league winner while at Connection.

"But, in no disrespect to the other teams, after the first round I believe we can aim higher.

"I don't think we should just compete for second although Connection are well ahead. I'm looking at the title and even if we finish second, then we qualify for the (Concacaf) Champions League. That will be a dream-start for Point Fortin. But we are also aware that other teams are chasing as well and it's important that we don't give up points.

If Balthazar does get his first appearance on Saturday, and, against the odds, Point Fortin wins, it will indeed be a dream debut for the midfielder in front of home supporters he last represented at U-14 level in the SFA.

But it's an uphill task for Carrington and company and surely, if he summons Balthazar to the pitch, he would need to be much more than a mentoring figure against a team that is undefeated in the league and already boasts three titles—the Digicel Charity Shield, the Toyota Classic and the FA Trophy—under its belt this season.

An estimated 2200 miles away, at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, New York, one of Balthazar’s two siblings fathered by Carrington, 18-year-old Khadeem Carrington is on top of his game—basketball.

Khadeem is Bishop Loughlin’s star basketball player and all-time scoring record holder, a milestone he reached in December. Later this year the shooting guard will join Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

Reynold, also the father of Latifah Carrington, 21, and Reynaldo Carrington, 10, also shared that Kariym—who also likes basketball—has been a big mentor to his son, Khadeem.