T&T’s under-20 and senior teams are set to be strengthened by players from English Premiership teams Arsenal and Norwich City, FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Monchengladbach of the German Bundesliga and Real Oviedo of the Spanish Second Division among many other teams, national coach Angus Eve explained during a TTFA press release on Thursday.
The former national midfielder who is in charge of both the country’s senior and under-20 team that is preparing for the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships from June 19 to July 3 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras as well as the country’s senior men’s participation in the CONCACAF Nations League in June.
Eve said he did not want to name the players that the technical staff have discovered from a combined scouting expedition in the United States on the Easter weekend.
He said it is hoped that they will help push the locally-based players ahead of the two tournaments as there will be no available FIFA window to boost their preparation.
Providing the players with an update on Thursday, Eve said: “We have about seven players who are eligible to play because of their parentage, they’re working on their passports, they are quality players coming out of teams like Schalke, Monchengladbach, Oviedo in Germany, Arsenal and one at Norwich City in the EPL. Camaraderie and building cohesion in the group is important because, as I just said, we’re bringing players from all different parts of the world and we need to bring them into a camp environment to let the group gel. Let them come and familiarise themselves with each other. Some of the guys would have never been to Trinidad and Tobago before, so this is the time for them to eat doubles and get to know the country they want to represent.”
He continued, “It’s all about team building and getting the right group of players so that they can compete with each other whether it be local or foreign so that when we pick the final team we have the best team representing T&T.”
Four players were shortlisted to join the T&T squad on Tuesday ahead of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Honduras. They include Noah Roka, a wing-back/central defender of Austrian club FC Stadieu; Wayne Fredericks, a forward of Bethesda FC and St Alban’s High School; Tyrell Moore, a forward of Atlanta United and Curtis De Leon, a central midfielder who has already represented T&T at the U-17 level under former coach Stern John.
Carrington noted that there were more players for the U-17 category that showed promise in Fort Lauderdale and they will continue to be monitored.
T&T prepares for Group F action alongside Mexico, Haiti and Suriname. The top three teams in the group advance to the round of 16, where they will be joined by the four teams advancing from the 2021 CONCACAF U-20 Championship qualifying.
Unlike the previous editions, the competition will determine not only the four CONCACAF representatives at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia but also the two CONCACAF representatives at the 2024 Summer Olympics.
Assistant coach Reynold Carrington has described the recent Player Combines that were staged in Washington DC and Fort Lauderdale, USA as “beneficial” towards the Under-20 Men’s Team programme ahead of the 2022 CONCACAF U-20 Men’s Championship.
“This was definitely a beneficial exercise. The main purpose of this exercise was for us the coaches to get a clearer idea of the level of players based in the United States and Canada. We constantly hear or read about the guys out there but unless they are playing in the top-level leagues, it is sometimes difficult to keep tabs on them. Now with the help of the talent identification teams and the groups in places such as DC and Florida we have a better chance to scout and have a better look at the players,” Carrington explained.
A total of 78 players, either eligible to represent T&T through parentage or place of birth, were seen in DC (48 players) and Fort Lauderdale (30). Carrington, a former national senior team captain was accompanied by U-20 Team manager Major Basil Thompson.
The senior Soca Warriors got some much-needed practice during the Courts Caribbean Football Classic that comprised Barbados, Guyana and T&T at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo. The Soca Warriors won by defeating Barbados 9-0 and a 1-1 draw with Guyana to win the Cup on March 30.
Eve pointed out that following that series the players were sent back to their respective clubs but they will be resuming preparation on Tuesday.
With no opportunity for international preparation, the coach said he will do what all other teams would do: “We do not have another international window before the tournament so what we have to do is continue to scout like any other country. You scout the players and then you call in a squad that will go to the tournament. We will assemble like five days before the first match, then work with that group of players before going into the first game against Nicaragua. The good thing about that is that we can bring in players, it’s not like a tournament, so we can pick a 23 for one game and pick a different group for another game because the games are really tight in between.”
Apart from Nicaragua and St Vincent and the Grenadines, T&T has been drawn in Group C of Nations League B alongside the Bahamas which drew goalless with T&T which was coached by Terry Fenwick for the World Cup Qualifiers last year.
The team that emerges from the group campaign will earn automatic qualification to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2023.
Players invited U-20 Men’s Training Camp
Jaron Pascal, Josiah Cooper (Naparima College), Tristan Edwards, Christian Bailey, Jose Attong (Fatima College), Isaiah Edwards (Aroma North Comprehensive), Lendell Sween (San Juan North), Jaheil Faustin (Trinity East), Kareem Warner (Signal Hill Comprehensive), Marvin Waldrop, Kylon Braithwaite, Quincy Winchester, Daniel Richards, (Club Sando), Joshua Lewis, J’Lon Matthews (San Juan Jabloteh), Nigel Carraby, Jerrel Sandiford, Tyrik Lee (W Connection), Shervohnez Hamilton (Petit Valley Utd), Luke Phillip (Deportivo Point Fortin), Real Gill , Kaihim Thomas, Emmanuel Thomas ((La Horquetta Rangers), Josiah Wilson – currently training with Cercle Brugge K.S.V (Belgium), Dantaye Gilbert – currently training with FC Malaga City (Spain), Nathaniel James (Unattached),Rushon Sandy – Patuxent Football Athletics (USA), Isaiah Thompson – Unattached (UK), Molik Khan – Minnesota Utd (USA), Caleb Borneo (Columbus Crew, USA), Tarik Trotman – Hartford Community College, USA), Roald Mitchell – Wake Forest University/NY Redbulls, USA), Jeremy Lashley – FC Edmonton,Canada), Jason Christian Gajadhar – Vaughn Soccer Club, Canada), Diego Nanton – International Centre for European Football, France), Alessandro Sipaque ( Plainfield High School,USA).