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Wed, May

Reon Moore of Trinidad and Tobago (R) kicks the ball under pressure during the international friendly match between Trinidad and Tobago and Tajikistan at 700th Anniversary Stadium on September 22, 2022 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Photo by Pakawich Damrongkiattisak/Getty Images)
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NATIONAL footballer Reon Moore is calling on local football fans to be their 12th man, as the Angus Eve-coached team gets ready to host Guatemala in a crucial Concacaf Nations League Group A game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Friday.

Last year, a video of a Eve from the national team dressing room went viral with the coach pointing to a clipboard and shouting, "Reon Moore, ah want f------ more."

Minus the expletive, Moore is calling for full support from the public as the team seeks to get three points against Guatemala to qualify for the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals, and take one step closer to booking a spot in the prestigious 2024 Copa America.

Moore, 27, told Newsday, “We have a good chance (of qualifying for Copa America and the World Cup) because some of us are young in age and we have some great senior players looking over us and guiding us. I, personally, think we can do it.

“I would say to the fans: every time you come out and give us a boost, we do well. So I’m saying to continue coming out and be our 12th man, and the reward will be a victory. Love you guys.”

The Defence Force striker has netted five goals in 22 appearances for T&T and is known for his direct approach, clinical finishing and tremendous work rate off the ball.

Moore made his international debut in an unofficial friendly match against Guadeloupe in March 2018. His first official match came against Panama in a friendly a month later and he made his competitive debut in the 2021 Gold Cup prelims against Montserrat, where he netted two goals off the bench in a 6-1 victory. He also scored against Guatemala in a 1-1 draw in the group stage.

At club level, the pacey striker began his career at North East Stars in 2015 and moved to Matura ReUnited a year later. In 2017, he then earned a transfer to Defence Force – T&T’s most successful club – where he scored nine goals.

In 2022, he secured his first move abroad, moving to Guatemalan club CSD Municipal on a free transfer. However, his stint away did not go as he planned as he failed to score in six appearances for the club, and he returned to Defence Force ahead of the first season of the T&T Premier Football League (TTPFL) in 2023.

On his return to his beloved club, he now has 19 goals for the Teteron Boys, including two goals in the Concacaf Caribbean Cup. He was instrumental in his team winning the TTPFL and had a Player-of-the-Match performance in the final of the TTPFL Cup, which Defence Force also won.

Moore expressed his delight in winning the domestic double and said, “I’m very happy for the double. It’s been a while now that the team has been together and we’re doing well. I’m really grateful and proud we claimed glory this year.”

“I also want to say thanks to the Defence Force for helping me to reach the best playing level of my career. They moulded me into the person I am today.”

He said the TTPFL benefited the local-based players who are fitter and match-ready for national selection.

On his first move abroad, he said: “Municipal was a great experience for me. When I arrived, I felt welcomed and loved by all. The football was also good for about three months. We then had a change of coach and things did not go well footballing-wise, but I love the club. The owners and I also have a great relationship.”

He recalled his national debut as "one of my proudest moments yet, because it was always a boyhood dream that actually came to pass.”

Moore added that he has a good relationship with Eve, who introduced him to professional football at North East Stars. He said Eve is a “father figure” to him.

Moore, who hails from Sangre Grande, said he is a very reserved person, and he takes the love from the fans as well as criticism with a pinch of salt. He said he uses it to improve his game and life off the pitch.

The Soca Warriors were underwhelming at the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup, a tournament where Moore was surprisingly absent. Moore described his non-selection as “bitter-sweet” and “disappointing”, but he was “happy that someone else got an opportunity."

Now, ahead of the upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches, the Soca Warriors lead Group A with six points having won their first two matches against Curaçao and El Salvador. The current squad is significantly younger than the one that bowed out of last summer’s Gold Cup, but they have been grinding out results as a more cohesive unit.

“I think the youths are more hungry and eager to do well and to make a better life for themselves,” Moore said. “We just have to build on the great start we have made and I believe that the rest will be history for us.”

He continued, “My goal is to continue doing well for club and country. Hopefully, (I will be able to) get another opportunity to play abroad.”


SOURCE: T&T Newsday