Former San Juan Jabloteh and Ma Pau SC midfielder Lester Peltier took the time to speak with the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) about his life as a footballer and his ambition for his country.
The former St Anthony's College player made his international debut for the Trinidad and Tobago national senior football team on January 26, 2008 against Puerto Rico coming on as a substitute in the 46th minute.
To date the talented midfielder has 13 international caps and 4 goals, which include a hattrick against Barbados to his name.
He also represented Trinidad and Tobago at the Under 17 and Under 20 levels respectively.
Peltier scored many goals at youth level also, one game in particular that stood out was against none other than Barbados in October 2006; when the Carenage born footballer scored a brace for T&T U-20 team and propelled them to a 4-0 victory in a youth qualifier at the Hasley Crawford Stadium.
Former Strike Squad defender Brian Williams was the head coach then, while some of the standout players on the team were, Khaleem Hyland, Ataullah Guerra, Keon Daniel, Matthew Bartholomew and Marvin James.
Today, Peltier still plays with some of his U-20 teammates, all of whom graduated to the senior level and are some of the finest stars on the Soca Warriors team, with Lester “Corn Curls” Peltier leading the way.
Below are a few questions with the Slovakian-based player.
1 - You have been on fire lately for both your club and country; it seems you just can't stop scoring. Since the days of Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve and Russell Latapy we haven't had a midfielder who is capable of scoring goals on a consistent basis. Do you feel you are capable of filling that void?
LP: - Arnold Dwarika, Angus Eve and Russell Latapy are all indeed remarkable players and definitely set high standards for the next generation of football players in Trinidad and Tobago. My personal goal is to always perform to at my full potential as well as to keep growing in my profession and to push myself to the limit. As such, I definitely believe I can fill that void as my intention is to make a name for myself both locally and internationally and in the process, inspire other young players to do the same.
2 - In your humble opinion, where do you feel we went wrong in the Bermuda defeat?
LP: - Unfortunately, the chemistry among our team players began to diminish as we lost control to Bermuda, and although we had opportunities to score, they simply did not fall through. It just was not our best game.
3 - In my opinion, we must respect Guyana and at the same time do not be afraid, "proceed with caution" if so to speak, do you feel T&T is capable of beating them and qualifying for the next rounds? If yes, what steps and measures you feel should be put in place to ensure that we are victorious. Bear in mind, Guyana is undefeated thus far in their World Cup qualifying campaign.
LP: - Guyana has proven to be the strongest team in the group as they have remained undefeated thus far. However, I do have faith in the talent we have in our team and with the right approach we definitely can conquer Guyana. I also have faith that our coach Otto Pfister will lead us to a victory with the execution of a good game plan.
To achieve a victory we must utilize a very aggressive game plan, acquire and maintain ball possession, our defense must be on point at all times, and each opportunity to score we must seize. Basically, we must be prepared for a tough match and bring our best game to the field. Confidence is also an absolute requirement. This game is an important one for us as we hope to not only go to the next round, but to also position ourselves as one of the strongest teams in the group.
4 - Let’s talk a little about your club and life in Slovakia. How is the overall experience at your new Club (FK AS Trenčín)? Do you like the atmosphere, the fans and the food? How do the people treat you, how do you cope with the climate and do you have a good relationship with your teammates and your coach?
LP: - Life in Slovakia has been a great experience for me thus far. The Club has embraced me and definitely consider me a key player on the team and treats me as such. Trencin where I reside in Slovakia is a very small, close knit city, the population is very much into football and the fans are loyal and friendly. I feel very much a part of the team as well as part of the community. With regards to my experience at the club, my professionalism has increased and the level of football we play here in Slovakia is very high, so I was able to improve all round as a player.
5 - Your younger brother (Johan) was rumored to have signed with your current team (AS Trenčín) I know personally that he had a trial spell at the Club. What happened?
LP: - I prefer if that question was directed at Johan himself.
6 - Having the physical attributes and the speed is always a big plus, do you feel however that mentally you are capable of playing a more composed and disciplined brand of football, especially under pressure. I did not see the game against Bermuda which T&T lost, but judging from reports, you were contained and guilty of wasted opportunities on many occasions. Then you came back and scored a hattrick against table proppers Barbados. Can you give us your view on how you feel you can be a more consistent performer?
LP: - I am a very passionate and competitive player and always strive to be consistent, however, when playing in a team, a successful match is mainly dependent on the chemistry among all players within that team. Also, there are times when a player may not have a good game, but generally I believe I am a consistent player.
Having lost the Bermuda game, the team committed to go harder and perform beyond the expected level. I personally made it my duty to ensure that we win this game and as such seized any and every opportunity to score.
7 - I saw two games with you at San Juan Jabloteh in the CONCACAF Champion Cup and despite Jabloteh's poor showing you impressed the hell out of me. I was convinced you would have moved on to a bigger club soon. You where rumored to be joining Belgium’s Club Brugge and had trial spells in the US and the UK (Houston Dynamo, Stabæk IF & Birmingham City), but you were unsuccessful. Can you brief us on your experience and life on the road searching for a new club?
LP: - 2011 was all about penetrating the international football arena and my agent set up four trials for me to part take in, namely; Houston Dynamo, Stabæk IF, Birmingham City and lastly AS Trenčín. I can proudly say that each team did make me an offer, however I could not sign with Birmingham City because of issues in attaining a work permit and as my desire was to play in Europe, the offer from AS Trenčín seemed to be the most attractive.
My pursuit to attaining a contract was not new to me, and I adapt very easily to different cultures and different personalities, so my experience was more of a learning one more than anything.
8 - In 2007 you had trials with some top teams in Europe such as; Arsenal, Millwall, Cardiff City and Portsmouth and met some top players as well, you eventually signed with Portsmouth, but the deal fell through, how hard was it to lift yourself up and get on with life after such disappointment and what were some of the bright spots during your journey? Meeting up with Thierry Henry and Arsene Wenger was probably an eye opener.
LP: - I believe that everything happens for a reason, and though the outcome was disappointing, I used it as both a learning experience and motivation to work harder towards fulfilling my dream. As you can see my journey has not ended and I am on my way to achieving my goal.
9 - Who do you feel is responsible for helping you become such a good player today?
LP: - Football has always been a part of me as my father and elder brother both played football. Also, as a youngster I always admired Russell Latapy and pushed myself to be as good or better than him.
Throughout my journey as a professional footballer I have had some disappointments, however I used them to further encourage me to do better. All these are factors that shaped me as a professional player today.
10 - What is your main aim in life? What are you hoping to achieve in the near future?
LP: - My main aim in life is to reach my fullest potential in my football career and to retire playing for any of the dominating football teams in the European Football Champions League. Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid are all favourites of mine.
I'd also love to retire between the ages 33-34, and to retire having titles or accolades such as 'most goals', 'MVP' and the like. Lastly, my greatest desire is to be given the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago at World Cup.
11 - Who are your favorite players, both locally (past or present) and internationally?
LP: - Internationally, I admirer Cristiano Ronaldo.
12 - With the rate of your improvement, I expect a bigger club may come knocking someday. If you had a choice, which club would you want to court you?
LP: - Personally I'd love to be granted the opportunity to play with either Arsenal or Real Madrid.
13 - Have you ever visited the Soca Warriors Online? If so, what are your thoughts and how do you feel we can better serve you as a visitor?
LP: - Yes I have visited Soca Warriors Online and I commend you on your efforts to promote our local and international football players. A great part of our success is having a great support system, and knowing your country is backing you win, lose or draw is a great feeling.
14 – Like every Trinibagonian living abroad, we all miss our home. What do you miss the most about T&T?
LP: - I definitely miss our local cuisine, the warm weather and my family and friends.
15 - You have played in T&T for most of your career, who in your opinion do you feel is capable of at least a trial on the T&T senior team and why?
LP: - No Answer.
16 - Do you have another brother apart from Johan playing in the T&T Pro League?
LP: - Yes, Ricardo Peltier. He plays with the Police FC.
17 - From your nickname, I assume you loved "Corn Curls" when you were a kid? Tell us how you got the name?
LP: - As a young boy I loved the 'Corn Curls' snack so much that the name just stuck with me from then till now.