Today, Warriors Reloaded gets up close and personal with the enterprising Clyde Leon. The W Connection midfielder surely has high hopes for his future.
“Growing up I didn’t really have much,” he said. “My dad was away, so I wasn’t really around him. To tell you the truth, I really missed having a father. It was real hard. It made me become a man younger than I was supposed to.” Still, the Chaguanas lad did not turn out half bad. In fact, he is a responsible and ambitious young man. So much so, Leon holds no “bad feelings” towards his absent father.
“I still love him. My mother always tells me to not show him any hate. So, I love him to death. When I was younger I used to believe that he would come for me one day. I always had that hope. But, age brings reason.”
Today, Leon, the first of three siblings, is the proud father of ten-month-old khaleem.
“I would like him to follow in my footsteps, but whatever he chooses to be in life, I would support him,” he says.
As the old adage goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In Leon’s case the root of that tree was strong. His mother, Sherry-Ann Gill was also a national footballer.
“My mother used to play national football. My aunt and cousins also played football, so I guess it’s in my genes,” he said.
“My mom gives me the strength. She is my role model, but there are a lot of other people I have to thank for my success. My family really gave me the encouragement to play.”
Secondary school—a life-changing era
Some people take for granted the importance of secondary school life. However, for this former Princes Town Senior Comprehensive student, it was at secondary school that his future dream of “playing ball” became reality.
“When I went to (secondary) school everything changed. The football thing just happened for me. I have such a love for the game, I put everything into it.”
All his hard work and dedication paid off. In 2001, Leon’s professional career took off when he joined the Fire Services Football Team. There he was made captain of the Under-20 team. Two years later, he took his fancy footwork to W Connection, where he has remained. The team has been enjoying a steady reign of success, having won the First Citizens Cup for some six consecutive years.
“I have no intention of leaving W Connection… it’s like a father to me,” he says.
The defensive midfielder also played in the national Under-17 team in 2002, and the Under-23 team in 2004. He made his senior national debut for T&T in 2006 against Japan.
For Leon, the future seems bright…possibilities endless.
“I want to have a steady family and just try to be the best I can be, he says.
Leon, who desires to one day play in a World Cup and a Champions League, says he is inspired by T&T’s very own Little Magician, Russell Latapy.
Can we win today’s much anticipated match against Cuba? Well, Leon thinks we definitely can.
“We just have to stick to the basics. We have the ability to move forward, we just have to be tactically sound. I have no doubt that we can emerge victorious.”