United States-born midfielder Dre Fortune wore a Soca Warriors shirt proudly at age 10 as he cheered on this country’s senior footballers at the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany. He was accompanied by his dad Andre Fortune at T&T’s three matches.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the 16-year-old will be making his debut for this country as they begin their quest for 2013 U-17 World Cup qualification against British Virgin Islands at the Hasely Crawford Stadium from 7pm. Suriname tackles Guyana in the earlier match from 5pm.
Fortune has some experience on his side, having been invited to train with the United States Under 15 squad and was also part of the US U-15 Academy League.
Prior to that at age eleven he spent two weeks at Barcelona’s Academy after being spotted by Steve Archibald from among several thousand youngsters. He was also invited to train at the Manchester City Academy last August during which time he suffered a broken leg.
The talented player has one major focus this week.
“I’m here to do my best and help Trinidad and Tobago get through to the CONCACAF qualifying round for the Under 17 World Cup,” Fortune told TTFF Media.
“It’s been a real pleasure for me to be here with the team. Even from when I was a lot younger, my dad and my family taught me a lot about the Trinidad culture. I grew up on it.
I supported the national team all along and now I’m very proud to be part of the national team. These guys on the team are like a family to me and I think we’re going to work really hard and do well in this tournament,” he added.
Fortune, who has Trinidad and Tobago parentage, received his T&T passport in 2007 and is eager to wear the red, white and black strip.
“This is my dream and I think I speak for all my teammates – to be able to wear the national uniform and play for Trinidad and Tobago’s national football team. We want to represent well and we want to be winners,” he said.
Head coach Shawn Cooper will have a final session at 7am at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday. Team manager Christopher Gouveia explained the reason for the early morning session being the unavailability of the ground due to another event at the venue later in the day.
“We’ll train early in the morning and then the boys will have the rest of the day to rest the legs and focus on the opening game. It’s the first international match for a lot of the players so it’s a crucial time for them. They’ve worked really hard waiting on this day,” Gouveia said.