DIRECTV North East Stars C.E.O. Brent Sancho today introduced the clubs new Head Coach, Rod Underwood. Underwoods' career to date has been both pioneering and successful.
He became the first African American to play soccer at Furman University and was a prolific goalscorer with teams such as Albuquerque Geckos, New Mexico Chiles and New Orleans Gamblers.
Underwood's coaching career began as player-coach at The Chiles and then The Geckos, before being appointed head Coach at South Carolina Shamrocks.
Rod also coached at Georgia State University and Portland Timbers before taking up the position of Head Coach at Cleveland City Stars for the 2009 season.
Underwood said "I am pleased and excited to take up the position of Head Coach of DIRECTV North East Stars. This is an immense challenge because my appointment has occured so close to the beginning of the
"Underwood continued" I spent some time getting to know the staff and players before I committed myself to the club. One of the main reasons I accepted the offer from the club was because The Stars are clearly ambitious, both on and off the field. I was particularly impressed with their plans for community interaction and a youth academy.
Development of young local talent is a real passion of mine" When asked how the team is shaping up for the season ahead, Coach Underwood commented " We're looking good to go. We still have some areas that we'd like to strengthen, but I have been delighted by the positive attitude of the players and coaching staff.
I've pushed them really hard to ensure that we are ready to compete in the ProLeague. My only concern is the overall conditions of the playing surfaces due to the recent lack of rain. Its easy for players to pick up injuries on these surfaces, but its the same for all teams, so we will have to manage through this period."
Sancho said " We have probably taken a little too much time in selecting our Head Coach, but we wanted to ensure that we made the right choice. I knew Rod from my days playing in the U.S.A. and he has an excellent reputation. The players will find him to be tough, but fair, and will benefit from his coaching abilities."
Director of Football, Kevin Jeffery said " The whole coaching staff have been working hard to ensure Coach Underwood had a solid group of players to enable him to make his final selections. It was great to discover that our footballing philosophies are very similar, and this allowed The Coach to "hit the ground running" and fine tune our training and tactics to suit his requirements."
Underwood and Jeffery also confirmed 3 new signings. The Stars are welcoming back two of their former players, 1999 Caribbean player of the year, Arnold Dwarika and Glenton Wolfe, who have nearly 80 international caps between them.
Alongside the two T&T favourites is Jamaican Kimarley McDonald. The 25 year old defender has spent his career to date in his homeland, but is excited about playing in a new league.
Twenty-eight (28) year old defender, Wolfe, is returning to his home team, having been born in Manzilla, while Dwarika needs no introduction to T&T football fans. The 37 year old midfielder brings a wealth of experience gained as far afield as China, Scotland and The Lebanon.
"Although we have some very talented youngsters, we firmly believe that these three signings will provide additional experience to the squad" commented Underwood.
The new signings will be on show at the Ojoe Rd Recreational ground in Sandre Grande on Sunday, where the local community are invited to meet the DIRECTV North East Stars staff and players for this season. There will be 3 youth team matches, as well as The Stars playing an exibition match.
Events Director, Jason Julien said " Its free entry, so we want the whole community to come along and meet the players. Our main partner, DIRECTV will be on hand with their promotional van and give aways, and we will also have freebies from our other partners to distribute" Youth matches begin at 10 am and the senior team will be at the ground from 4pm.