FOLLOWING an intense quarterfinal round in the Next Level Consulting Limited Under-19 Community Cup, the competition pauses to host the highly anticipated All-Star Game at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima, on February 12.
Contested between the best players from North/East/Tobago and South/Central, the fixture has been a staple of the tournament since its inception in 2019. Now in its third edition, players and fans alike are looking forward to a match that awards bragging rights and the opportunity for players to be observed by international scouts.
In the 2022 All-Star Game, the St Benedict’s College duo of Derrell Garcia and Nicholas Bobcombe scored to lead the South/Central All-Stars to a 3-1 victory. Both players went on to excel in the 2022 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premiership and Garcia is now a part of the National Men’s Under-17 team – which is a testament to the match’s significance.
Tournament chairman Brian Jordan spoke with Newsday about the upcoming ‘Clasico’ and emphasised the importance of the fixture. “The NLCL U19 Community Cup seeks to recognise the top performers from each team during the season”, he said. “Beyond recognition, we also seek to showcase them to local and international audiences in the annual All Star game. Flow Sports will be our international broadcast partner for the game.”
Like the last tournament, the match will be held in mid-tournament rather than at the end of the season. Jordan also explained why this decision was made: “Starting last season, our marketing consultant advised that we shift from following the season to and of season to take advantage of match fitness and to ensure games were played at a higher level with smaller risk of injuries, as a result.”
“Keeping in mind that the gap following the completion of the group stages to the Championship game is almost a month, and the All Star game is now being held in the height of tournament fan interest and before the Champions are crowned.”
This year’s All-Star roster was announced on February 8. Standout players such as Phillip Tinto, Larry Noel and Caleb Boyce were included for their exceptional performances during the tournament’s previous stages.
The players were selected by members of the participating teams and by the tournament's Most Valuable Player (MVP) Committee comprising of coaches such as Hutson Charles, Michael Grayson and Dexter Cyrus. Fan voting was also a part of the deliberation process.
Despite the match being barren of a battle for a major trophy, Jordan is confident that the players will produce an entertaining show for the fans as there are possible international opportunities available to the players. He stated, “We are looking forward to the fans of each team and player coming out to support a good competitive game of football. Think the idea of these talented young players being scouted locally and internationally will bring out the best in them.”
The NLCL All-Star Game will kick off at 4pm on Sunday, and will be broadcasted on Flow Sports. The entrance fee for adults stands at $30.00 while children are allowed to watch the match at no cost.
This weekend’s action will be followed the tournament’s semifinals on February 19 as the champions Soccer Made Simple battle Tobago’s Ball Blasters and W Connection will face World Class Soccer Clinic for a place in the final.
FULL NLCL ALL-STAR ROSTER
Xavion Haynes (GK – Soccer Made Simple), Tyrese Carrington (GK – Eagles FC); Josiah Shade (DF – Malabar Young Stars), Kershawn Diaz (DF – World Class SC), Tyrell Stapleton (DF – World Class SC), De Jon Lezema (DF – T&T Maestros), Ethan Friday (DF – Malabar Young Stars), Tyrell Innis (DF – Soccer Made Simple), Deshawne Browne (DF – World Class SC); Jaden McShine (MF – Trendsetter Hawks), Ishmael Lewis (MF – Santa Cruz United), Philip Tinto (MF – Soccer Made Simple), Theron O’Brien (MF – World Class SC), Seledze Duke (MF – Roxborough Lakers), Micah Nelson (MF – Soccer Made Simple), Keanu Botswaine (MF – Eagles FC); Terron Miller (FW – Soccer Made Simple), Kishawn Sandy (FW – Georgia FC), Christopher Slater (FW – T&T Maestros), Jameel Hassan (FW – Trendsetter Hawks); Larry Noel (ST – Soccer Made Simple), Kyle James (Ball Blasters FA)
Jaden Turner (GK – Moruga FC), Zeronn Collymore (GK – W Connection), Jerelle Thorne (GK – Gasparillo Youths); Duhrell Young (DF – W Connection), Keanu Morean (DF – Cunupia FC), Tyriese Neptune (DF – Made In La Brea), Jaheim Abraham (DF – Gasparillo Youths), Anthony Williams (DF – Moruga FC), Kylon Cayenne (DF – Point Fortin YFA), Sahrari Mitchell (DF – W Connection); Luke Phillip (MF – Made In La Brea), Ja-Mahler Barclay (MF – Moruga FC), Jordan Lara (MF – Cunupia FC), Danyel Drayton (Point Fortin YFA), Rayshawn Chrichlow (MF – Cunupia FC), Simon Modeste (Made In La Brea); Akiel Vesprey (FW – Made In La Brea), Maliki Clement (FW – W Connection), Ricardo Williams (FW – Gasparillo Youths), Serryon Mitchell (FW – Point Fortin YFA); Caleb Boyce (ST – W Connection), Jaden Grant (ST – Cunupia FC)
SOURCE: T&T Newsday