Preparation for the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships to take place in the cities of San Pedro Sula and the capital Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 18 to July 3, has gone into overdrive.
Coach Angus Eve has engaged 38 players following an extensive search in North America, Europe and other parts of the globe, inclusive of Rushon Sandy (Patuxent Football Athletics- USA), Jahiem Wickham (Toronto FC), Diego Nanton (International Centre for European Football - France), Noah Roka (FC Stadieu- Austria), Andrew De Gannes (Atlanta FC), Dantaye Gilbert (FC Malaga City- Spain), Isaiah Thompson (Unattached- UK), Tarik Trotman (Hartford Community College-USA), Xavier O’Neil (Real Oviedo- Spain), Curtis De Leon (University of Alabama Birmingham- USA), Josiah Edwards (Adovarense- Portugal), Jeremy Lashley (FC Edmonton- Canada), Jason Christian-Gajadhar (Vaughn Soccer Club- Canada), Cassidy Davidson (IFAPT- Portugal), Caled Borneo (Columbus Crew- USA), Micah Cain (TSV Meerbusch- Holland), Josiah Wilson (Cercle Brugge KSV- Belgium) and Zyon Makoul (IAFPT- Portugal) into a training camp.
Before a friendly match against Defence Force at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Monday, Eve revealed that only Tino Quamina —who was expected to arrive from English Premiership team Arsenal —picked up an injury and could not make it to the camp.
Otherwise, the major boost to his team’s preparation was expected to culminate with several international friendly matches starting on May 26 with a clash with the Guyana senior men’s team.
In addition to that match Eve and his staff have also lined up two other international friendlies when the team arrives at a foreign live-in camp, and another game against a team of repute. However, he said, he will only reveal details of the teams and where his team will be staying when everything has been finalised.
The T&T team has been drawn in Group F of the championships, alongside Mexico, Haiti and Suriname. The top three teams will progress out of the round.
Eve, who hosted the media on Monday said: “Most of the players came in from abroad and the other half of the players are from the screening that we’ve done in Trinidad and Tobago. We’ve done extensive training in North America and all over. We recruited guys who have different backgrounds in Europe. We’ve been training once a day because of the humidity. It’s been going really well, the guys have been working very hard and it’s been very competitive.”
He added, “Also we were able to secure some friendly matches for the team. We have Guyana, some of the teams that are playing in the Ascension (top teams), we have had games with them and now we’re having a game on the 26th of May against the Guyana senior men’s team to give the team a really good run-out before we leave to go on the foreign camp.”
The players have also been jelling nicely since they started arriving on May 19. Eve quizzed on what he wants to achieve during the local camp said: “ I want to play the way we normally play in Trinidad and Tobago, I want to express that, allow the kids to express themselves in the final third, really put the skills and talent that they have, I am not putting any restrictions on that.
But obviously, in our half, we want to be resolute, be very solid defensively so we could build a platform for these players to go forward and express themselves.”
From the 38, the squad is expected to be trimmed to 24 for the live camp ahead of the tournament.
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