National Under 15 Head Coach Ken Elie on Sunday finalized an 18-member squad to representing this country at the upcoming inaugural Caribbean Football Union Under 15 Youth Cup which will be staged in this country from August 3-13.
Following a month of preparation after players were initially screened late last year, Elie along with assistant coach Hutson Charles came up with their final bunch which will go into action on August 3 against Netherlands Antilles from 6pm in the second game of a double header on the opening day at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Captaining the squad will be towering goalkeeper Jessie Fullerton of Superstar Rangers with several others players coming out of professional league and Super League youth teams and local secondary Schools including Tobago-born duo Daneil Cyrus and Andell Noray. Five players are attached to CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh, three from National Quarries North East Stars and three from Super League outfit Superstar Rangers. Also in the squad is forward Franz Husbands, son of former national midfielder Gordon Husbands.
Elie explained the preparations leading up to selection, saying a lot of emphasis was placed on getting the players ready to make the transition to international youth football.
“The preparations over the period was also instrumental in getting the players to know each other better. A lot of emphasis was placed on the technical aspect of the game with about ten percent on physical work because most of these players are in under 15 teams so they were relatively fit and 30 percent was focused on tactical and positional play,” Elie told TTFF Media
He added that the current bunch was bigger physically than previous youth team players he had worked with.
“Physically these are some of the biggest guys representing us at this level as about 80 percent of them are 5 foot plus. Technically they seem fairly competent because their club coaches have done some good basic work with them but there is still the need for more training at this level. Their knowledge is average but at this level these are things we can work on,” Elie said.
The former National Under 17 coach added that the players appeared willing to take on the challenge ahead.
“The response to hearing their names being called for a National team was a mixed one. One side says that they not even aware they are going to represent their country along with the expectations and the standards that are there to follow and we are working on this. Even if previous results are not great, Trinidad and Tobago is still a big force in the region and people always look to see what we have to offer. The technical staff has four soldiers, a fire officer and a business man with a couple being national players so this should bring some order and professionalism to the team. We have to set the pace and image. Time management is not something the players are aware of and they aren’t readily image conscious. But all this will come in good time.
“There was also no sign of despair by the guys who didn’t make the cut because they all know they have other things to look forward to aside from this tournament. The doors have only just opened for their careers.”
The team came off a hard-fought 2-1 loss to Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive’s Championship Division team last Thursday at the Ato Boldon Stadium with Sean DeSilva scoring for T&T. On Sunday they turned the result around, getting the better of San Fernando Centre for Excellence’s Under 17 team 2-1 with Daneil Cyrus and Husbands getting the goals at the same venue.
T&T’s fellow Group E teams St Kitts/Nevis and Anguilla will meet in the opening match of the double header. T&T will then face St Kitts on August 5 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and Anguilla two days later at the same venue. Twenty nations including guests Guatemala and Canada will contest the Cup and teams are scheduled to begin arriving in the country from Monday.
T&T Under 15 team:
Jesse Fullerton (QRC, Superstar Rangers), Terrance Ramsaroop (Presentation College, San Fernando, Marabella Family Crisis Centre)
Ryan O’Neil (St Augustine SC, Creek FC), Robert Primus (Malick SC, CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh), Sheldon Bateau (Fatima College, Jabloteh), Brenton Balbosa (North Eastern College, North East Stars), Andell Noray (Scarborough Secondary, 1976 Phoenix FC) Stephan Chang (St Augustine SC, Jabloteh)
Mark Rivers (Marabella SC, Marabella Family Crisis Centre), Leston Paul (NE College, North East Stars),Sean De Silva (St Mary’s College, La Foucade Coaching School), Jean-Luc Rochford (Holy Cross College, 1st FC Santa Rosa) Chad De Freitas (Fatima College, Superstar Rangers)
Brandon Rupert (Belmont Intermediate, Superstar Rangers), Franz Husbands (Queen’s Royal College, Jabloteh), Daneil Cyrus (Goodwood High, Stokelyvale FC), Daniel Joseph (Arima Government Sec, NE Stars), Stephen Knox (Holy Cross College, Jabloteh).
Ken Elie (Head Coach), Hutson Charles (Assistant Coach), Ross Russell (Goalkeeper Coach), Gilbert Bateau (Trainer), Esmond O’Brien (Equipment Manager), Oswald Davis (Assistant Manager), Nicholas Gouveia (Manager)