Stern John, the former Trinidad and Tobago prolific goalscorer and current Senior Men’s Team Assistant Coach has been named as the head coach of this country’s Under 17 Men’s Team.
John’s appointment was approved by the Board of the TTFA on Monday and his assignment begins immediately as he moves in to prepare the Trinidad and Tobago team for the CONCACAF Under 17 Men’s Championship in May which also serves as the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in Peru. T&T faces Bermuda in its opening game on May 1st at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida to be followed by clashes with Jamaica (May 3rd) and Mexico on May 5th.
In a reaction to his first national team head coach appointment, the former Birmingham City forward said he eagerly awaiting the commencement of his duties as he seeks to lead T&T into the knockout phase and subsequently Peru 2019.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m excited for the challenge. It’s not an easy challenge but I’m excited and I’m relishing the opportunity to work with the youngsters,” John told TTFA Media on Tuesday.
Leading the national team for the first time is an honour for the ex-Sunderland and Southampton marksman who has also led Central FC as head coach in the T&T Pro League and Concacaf competitions.
“I’ve been working with the Trinidad and Tobago Senior Men’s team for a couple years and also with Central FC so I have a little experience under my belt. Hopefully I can continue with my experience and bring something to the youth team. It’s definitely an exciting period to be serving as head coach of a national team for my country. I’ve played at every level and now getting a chance to lead from the front and to work with upcoming players is a big deal for me. I’d like to thank the heads at the TTFA for giving me this opportunity to make another contribution.
“I think we are going to have to look at players and definitely hit the ground running . I’m ready to start working and Ive already contacted some staff members who I want on my staff. I’m looking at some young players at home and abroad so hopefully we can start soon because we don’t have a lot of time so hopefully we can get a team going to prepare for the tournament,” John continued.
The ex-Columbus Crew player says he has already assesses the group opponents that T&T will face in May.
“I think from watching the teams we will play against I think we have a great opportunity. Three teams will come out of the group and the main thing in these competitions is to try and win your first game. It’s not going to be an easy challenge but I think we have the quality in the players in Trinidad and Tobago. We have a good bunch of young players who played under Russell (Latapy) before and I think I just have to continue on what he’s done before and keep building and working with the team,” John said.