Sun, Oct


Power to North East Stars.Today the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) took the opportunity to chat with Trinidad and Tobago international and North East Stars new signee defender Seon Power.

The right-wing back made his debut for T&T in 2007 and is anticipating a great 2011 season for both his club and country.

Below are a few questions the former St. Augustine Senior Comprehensive and Joe Public player was asked.

Q)Seon, congratulations on signing with DIRECTV North East Stars, but why did you choose them?
SP - Thanks, Flex. And thanks for the opportunity to speak directly to your forum. I hope some of these guys will go a little easier on me in the future (laughs). I played against North East last season and thought they were much better than their league finish. However, it was obvious that they had a problem holding on to leads and conceded too many goals. I think they were beating Defence Force 3-2 and would have been the first team to beat them, but then lost the match 4-3.

That result could have changed the season for both teams. They also lost a 2-1 lead to Joe Public and lost the game 3-2, and I'm sure that they took the lead in a few of the games that ended in draws. I looked at that and thought, if they could strengthen their defence, they may have won another 10 points last season. I also saw they were adding some quality players, and, of course, seeing Stern at the club was impressive. I've always respected and got along with Brent Sancho, and I was impressed by his ambitions for North East, so in the end, it wasn't a hard decision.

Q) How did you feel about Ma Pau, and now Joe Public withdrawing from the Pro League, and how do you think this will affect the League this season?
SP - On a personal level, it’s never good to see your old clubs in trouble, and you always look forward to playing against them, so I'm sorry I won't get that opportunity. On a professional level, it’s sad because you know that maybe 40 players and staff have lost their jobs. These are football people, and although many will be absorbed into the other 8 clubs, some will have to step down into the Super League, which means players in that league will be forced out.

But from the point of view of professional football and supporters, I actually think it is positive. The best players will be signed to other clubs, so the quality has been condensed down into 8 clubs, which means there is greater parity. There will be no easy matches this year. I think it’s only Jabloteh and QPFC not represented in the National team, and I expect that may change. I feel the ProLeague will be a more attractive option for players now. I don't believe the standard of football in the minor European leagues is much better, certainly not enough to travel half way around the world for.

Q) So, are you saying you wouldn't consider a move overseas?
SP - I've spoken to many players who have played overseas and got mixed responses. Although they all seem to believe it’s made them a better person for having experienced foreign cultures, it hasn't necessarily improved their career. At this time, my main ambition is to help Trinidad & Tobago reach Brazil and I feel I can better achieve that if I am here.

If I played, say, in Hungary, would I get better coaching than I receive at North East and with Mr Pfister? I don't believe so. The National training sessions are very good and it’s important to work with your coach on a regular basis. I think there is now a good relationship between the local players and Mr Pfister. We all have confidence in him, and although we're all aware that the overseas players will be called back, we're going to make sure they have to fight for their places. Ultimately, whether local or overseas, we all want T&T to reach Brazil. But of course I would have to consider any offers from overseas clubs, especially from, say, Barcelona!

Q) With all of the controversy surrounding the National Team and the lack of preparation, do you honestly feel that T&T can even make the Hex?
SP - Of course! It’s true we haven't been tested since Mr Pfister has been in charge, but remember, we have all been training regularly with the National Team, and playing Pro League and friendlies with our clubs. We are all on stream and I feel the current squad is familiar with each other and the confidence within the camp is high. Sunday is the start of our ‘Bound for Brazil’ campaign. It seems the money will be there and I know the players want to perform well for Mr Pfister and the supporters. We just hope that the fans will get behind us and give us that extra push.

Q) How do you rate Otto Pfister as a coach?
SP - Mr Pfister is a no nonsense guy and treats all players on the same level, whether local or overseas. It’s a great opportunity for the local players because everybody gets a fair chance. It’s obvious that the coach’s record isn't a fluke. He's always positive and says he hasn't come here to lose. He wants to win and he believes we will surprise people once we begin competitive matches. The training is good and there’s a great team spirit.

Q) You won 5 titles with Joe Public in 2009. What made that team so special?
SP - I guess it just all came together at the right time. We had a very good compact team and the understanding between players was good. It was a great season, but my only regret is that we did not fulfill our potential in CONCACAF.

Q) How do you expect North East to fare this season?
SP - I came here to win trophies, and I fully expect that to happen. You can feel when something is right, and we have all of the ingredients at North East to be the country's top club team. It’s hard to explain how good the pre season training is. You just feel faster, more agile, more professional. If you're fit, you have so much more confidence in yourself. In fact, the coach keeps telling us to be braver. He says we are still in a mindset that tells us not to make too many runs because we are worried we may not get back into position, but he reminds us we now have the levels of fitness to make those runs. You also don't pick up so many niggling injuries when you're at this level of fitness. He's kept us away from the ball until this week, so now we have 10 days of ball work to ready us for the first match. I must admit I am excited and keen to start competitive matches.

The squad is confident and there is strong competition for places. Its great playing alongside Charlie (Pollard). He has so much experience, and that gives you confidence. I'm seeing players like Kevaughan Connell and Stephen Cruickshank making crazy runs and Marc Leslie is great to have in front of you because he doesn't miss much in the air and can pass a ball. It will be interesting to see how defences will handle the combinations of Stern, Wolfey (Anthony Wolfe), Akiel (Guevera) and Drogba (Kaydion Gabriel).

Q) So, you think you will win the league?
SP - I think we have a great chance. The clubs ambitions are high and they've set us certain goals. Personally, my eye is on winning my third Toyota Classic in 3 years with 3 different clubs!

Q) Finally, Seon, North East Stars has a reputation now of high community activity off the field, how do you feel about having to commit so much of your time to community events?
SP - This was one of the reasons I came to the club. North East is trying to set standards. We are constantly reminded we have a duty to our sponsors, our supporters and our community. It’s a very strong thread that runs all the way through the club. Personally, as a parent, I'm sad to see the level of crime in T&T. Everyone should be playing their part to reduce this in any way they can. North East is trying to instill pride in the community and offer some kind of hope to young people. Community projects are important because they bring people together.

They also make you feel humble when you recognise how much more fortunate you and your family are compared to the daily struggles some people have to live with, whether that’s poverty, illness, or just not being loved and cared for. We have the ability to reach out a helping hand to these people and somehow, in some small way, bring a little warmth into their lives. And I have to admit, I find myself thanking God for my good fortune sometimes. Professional footballers are lucky because they get paid to do what they love. We should never forget that, and try to give back wherever we can.

Soca Warriors Online will like to thank Seon Power for taking the time from his busy schedule to chat with us and we wish him all the best in for the 2011-2012 season and his career.