Toronto FC Rookie Julius James is one of the “Warriors” accepting responsibility for the lackluster showing by Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Footballers at the 2008 Digicel Caribbean Championships in Jamaica.
While the debate continues over T&T’s dismal showing and its failure to go through to the semi-final stages as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup, James, also one of the younger faces in the current team, no doubt wanted better in Jamaica.
“The experience came to an end in quick time and it’s a huge disappointment to be part of this team because we are the ones that didn’t go through to the next stage,” James told TTFF Media on Monday night prior to heading off at 2am from Montego Bay to the Norman Manley Airport for an early morning flight to Toronto.
“I hope this can propel us to a higher level in terms of our play and hopefully this shame can make us more passionate and more forceful in terms of playing the game at this regional level and getting more respect from the other Caribbean teams. It looks like because we have the World Cup to look forward to, as players we kind of took these games for granted,” James added.
“The experience for me has been a learning one being under coach Maturana as his style is different. He does it the way he wants it and it as opened my eye to a different style of the game Being around some of the older guys has its pluses too because you tend to pick up little things that can help your game.
“As a group of individuals we needed to step it up and I think we could have played differently against Grenada because the way things happened in that game is the reason we are out of the tournament now. Whatever the problem was in that game should never have been and we need to take the flak and get on with it.”
James is heading into the second year of his three-year contract with Toronto FC in the MLS and says that his time there has brought about a huge difference to the way he sees the game… the way of being an outright professional.
“Playing in Toronto is a really a great experience even though I didn’t achieve some of my goals in my first season because I had problems with injuries at the start of it. As a rookie I needed to be playing more. But what the football at that level made me realize is that when you are injured or down, there is always someone there to take your spot. I was forced to learn that the right away You always need to be fit and on top of your game. The experiences there have been very enriching to me as a professional because the other players at my club are mostly seasoned pros who have played all over the world.
He mentioned Jamaican captain and Toronto FC teammate Tyrone Marshall as one of them who has had a massive influence on him since going to Toronto and thanked local coach Nigel Grosvenor for his advice before taking up his move to University of Connecticut.
“A lot of players rush into moving into College in the US especially when they hear about scholarships and I was one of them. But ‘Grovey’ advised me to wait until something better came up and fortunately I was able to end up at UCONN.”
“At Toronto Tyrone has had a very,very big effect on me. My playing and my mental strength has come a long way because of his positive mind. He’s a testament on how a professional footballer should live and play the game,” James said.