Today the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) is celebrating its ten year anniversary since it's inception as an official domain (socawarriors.net), and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers and followers for their continued support.
The SWO as it is known is an internet website dedicated to fans and players of Trinidad and Tobago football. It came off the ground in 1998, but was not an official domain until July 27th 2001.
Incidentally, on July 27th 2001 Trinidad and Tobago commemorated the 11th year anniversary of the Coup attempt where 114 members of the Jamaat al Muslimeen attempted to over throw the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
The SWO was founded by Inshan Mohammed (a.k.a. Flex), a man with a burning desire to display his love and support for his country, people and football teams. In 1991, Mohammed, 17 at the time, left most of his beloved family and friends in Trinidad & Tobago to begin a new life with his mother and two brothers in Colorado.
When he left T&T shores for the United States he said he felt like his world had come to an end. "It was the worst feeling I've ever had leaving T&T. Most of my family and friends I left behind and everything I had known seemed lost. I felt as if I had nothing more to look forward to."
“Living in Colorado at the time was very hard. I could not settle in so, I decided to try my luck in New York and to this day I am still based in the Big Apple."
New York however, didn't ease the pain much as Mohammed still felt home sick. Soon though, he decided to channeled those feeling toward developing a ground breaking idea. He was able to merge his love and passion for his country and football and made a monumental contribution to the people of T&T.
Mohammed said: "If you live abroad and can’t go to T&T, then I’ll bring T&T to you."
So said, so done, the SWO was born and quickly grew as there were a shortage of information on Trinidad and Tobago Football at the time. It became a home for many other homesick T&T nationals as well.
The SWO had grown so rapidly in it's first two years that the server kept crashing while still being hosted by Homestead, a free online website builder. "I didn't anticipate that it would grow so fast, added Mohammed."
In 2001, the SWO founder threatened to close up shop as the expenses to maintain the website were quite exorbitant. "We needed a bigger server to host the thousands of online supporters that flocked to visit the SWO,” Mohammed continued.
The SWO which quickly became a house hold name among T&T football enthusiasts was heading for disaster. However, there was a silver lining behind the dark cloud that threatened to close down the Website. This silver lining came in the form of a SWO member who goes by the name Nigel Myers (a.k.a. Tallman).
Nigel is one of the few T&T football supporters who never misses a game and travels all over the globe to support the Soca Warriors team. He also possesses an uncanny ability to remember most things related to T&T football, an attribute many fact seekers on the Website’s forum benefit greatly from and, are amazed by.
The dreadlocked T&T die-hard, standing over 6 feet decided to step forward and cover all expenses in order to keep the SWO going strong. "Nah man Flex, the SWO is too informative to just give up on,” stated Myers.
Today, Myers continue to be a major financier to SWO, however the contributions of some sponsors have eased the strain on his pockets a bit. He is also still very much involved in everything the SWO has to offer and is quite instrumental in its development.
The Website boasts of having thousands of supporters throughout the world from countries such as: U.S, Canada, Haiti, Jamaica, U.K, Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Barbados, St Lucia, Turkey, Spain, Australia, Nigeria, South Africa, Scotland, Belgium, Argentina, Venezuela, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Holland, and even as far as Bahrain.
The SWO has also been featured on BBC Sports, the T&T Express through former free-lancer Lasana Liburd and the TTFF (TTFA) and the T&T Guardian websites respectively via press officer Shaun Fuentes. Other websites also made note of it such as; ESPN, Reggaeboyzsc, mlsnet, rsssf, Galavision, PA-Sport, Wikipedia, ttproleague and soccernet among many more. In fact everything that surrounds T&T football today is linked to the SWO.
The SWO offers many engaging features, from a comprehensive T&T football database, video footage, SSFL coverage, live chat, live games, a shop for unofficial supporters items, a massive forum that covers everything T&T, the world and more, a photo section, free e-mail service, among many other great things.
You can follow us on facebook, twitter and Wikio, and to top that off you can enjoy reading news in over 35 different languages.
The SWO is not in anyway affiliated with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), but does however have two sister websites in T&T Football History and TheWarriorNation.com.
The SWO forum is considered the 2nd biggest and most popular in the whole of the CONCACAF region, the first being bigsoccer.com.
The members there are also unique and share a brotherhood, from Damian "Touches" Joseph's exciting game reports, Sam’s jokes, e-man's technical abilities, Flex Mohammed's in depth game reports and interviews, Bakes’ website advise, Tallman's T&T football omniscience, Andre Samuel's phrases, Johann Charles' unconditional support, a local rock star in Big Magician, Anthony “FireBrand” Valley's editing skills, AB.Trini, Controversial and Football Supporter's interesting ideas and to top it off there is even a Soca Professor. You name it, the SWO covers it.
To add to that many well known former and current T&T stars, TTFF administrators and even some local coaches have regularly browsed the Website including; Steve David, Dwight Yorke, Stephen Hart, Kelvin Jack, Shaka Hislop, Brent Sancho, Terry Fenwick, Leonson Lewis, Stuart Charles Fevrier, Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards, Dexter Skeene, Richard Chinapoo, Noel Llewellyn, Dennis Lawrence, Ahkeela Mollon, Christopher Birchall, Kevin Harrison, UK based agent Mike Berry, Leo Beenhakker, Avery John, Silvio Spann, Lincoln Phillips, Jlloyd Samuel, Kenwyn Cooper, Everald Cummings, David John Williams, Keith Look Loy and Jack Warner. Even the likes of track stars Richard Thompson and long time member Ato Boldon have graced the SWO among many others.
The SWO, though, not officially recognized by the TTFF plays a major part of football in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a medium through which players wanting to represent the T&T team can gain recognition and it is responsible for discovering many players in the past to represent T&T. The Website’s background staff even acts as scouts for local clubs to sign foreign players who are desirous of playing in the local league.
The SWO also function as a networking hub for foreign coaches interested in acquiring T&T players for scholarships and foreign contracts.
"No offense intended, but if we had this same team of members on the TTFF board today we would have had at least over 50 capable players vying for senior team selection and we wouldn't constantly be looking for quick-fixes."
"We work for free and we do such a professional job that players constantly contact us because they can rely on us to assist and support them in any way possible.” added Mohammed.
The SWO is a website that does not close; it is available to everyone 24-7 and is considered to be the online encyclopedia of T&T football. It is so informative that game reports from as far back as 1935 to present are easily accessible.
Vintage video footage of goals from 1973 and stats on past and current players can be viewed. In 2008 Mohammed was recommended by then government employee Joann Charles for a national award, but it fell on deaf ears as the government just ignored her request.
“Flex, you are doing a yeoman's job for T&T and should be recognized for your hard work. A sports award shouldn't just be conferred for achievements on the field, but off the field as well,” Charles stated.
On August 01st 2010, Flex was also offered a position by TTFF media officer Shaun Fuentes to work at the 2010 FIFA Under 17 Women World Cup tournament that was hosted in Trinidad and Tobago. The position involved working as an assistant alongside an official FIFA media officer at a specific venue.
Flex basically had to represent the Local Organizing Committee, TTFF and FIFA in all media operations assigned to him. Unfortunately, the position was turned down due to the conflicting schedule and responsibilities of Flex’s fulltime job. He did however express his appreciation to Mr. Fuentes and the TTFF. “I am grateful to Shaun and the TTFF for the offer and look forward to future opportunities.”
Finally, in September 2009, the SWO received a record breaking 11 million hits and according to Alexa, SWO are the 103rd most visited website by people in T&T. This takes into account websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Youtube, Wikipedia, Ebay etc. The SWO is also ranked in the top 10 when it comes to T&T related websites.
When asked if he would return to T&T one day? Mohammed replied, “Life is so funny, after observing the current state T&T is in, with the uncontrollable crime, crazy politics and the continued declined in our football it makes me very sad and disappointed. We have such great potential for a small country to accomplish so much more than we already have."
“So if I can make a significant contribution that can propel my country to greater things then returning to T&T one day might be a possibility. Strangely though, I wish I could move back to Colorado as it’s such a peaceful life out there. T&T however, will always be in my heart,” ended Mohammed.