The 2015 Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) season wrapped up on Monday evening with Naparima College securing a National double and sweeping all possible titles—Premier Division, South Zone Intercol and National Intercol—for the school season.
Several players from coach Angus Eve’s two-time Premier Division winning team caught Wired868’s lens this season but there were many others who were worth a second glance as well.
Is it really “de oil in de coil?”
Have a look at Wired868’s All Star XI and see which players caught our eye during the 2015 SSFL season:
Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys HC): Goalkeeper
Shiva faded away towards the end of the season but that was no fault of Smith’s. The Shiva shot-stopper might be undersized, but what he lacks in height and brawn he certainly makes up with heart and bravery, not to mention cat-like reflexes. He is a beast between the sticks.
Joshua Marshall (St Augustine Secondary): Centre back
The no-nonsense St Augustine captain has aspirations of joining the Army and it is clear to see that he is more than halfway there. He blends discipline and toughness superbly and leads his team from the back with his echoing shouts. He is a born leader!
Stephon Smith (Naparima College): Centre back
A big part of Naparima’s success this season was the partnership formed at the centre of their defence with Smith and Anderson Toussaint. Smith is an excellent reader of the game and he is also very assured and comfortable when in possession.
Keston Julien (Presentation College San F’do): Left-wing back
This stylish left-footed player is comfortable at left-back or left wing and his crosses from the flank are usually spot-on. With CONCACAF Champions League experience already under his belt with W Connection, there is no telling how far this confident youngster can go.
Rondell Payne (Naparima College): Right back
Payne’s former school, St Benedict’s College, were on the losing end of last year’s National Intercol final and the feisty defender played through a niggling injury to ensure that he got a winners medal this time around. He is hard in the tackle and never afraid to bomb up and down the flank too.
Jesse Joseph (St Augustine Secondary): Midfielder
If you concede a free kick 25 to 30 yards away from goal against St Augustine, chances are your goalie would be picking the ball out of his net. The slender Joseph has a dead eye from set pieces and is fond of the spectacular as well. His passing ability, coupled with long legs, also make him a difficult opponent in the middle of the park.
Kareem Riley (Presentation College San F’do): Midfielder
If there was an award for persistence in the SSFL, Riley would be the runaway winner. The national Under-17 midfielder shoots, shoots and shoots again before he bulges the back of the net. When his persistence pays off, the outcome is usually spectacular.
Shane Sandy (Naparima College): Midfielder
The Plymouth-born Sandy is as tough as they come in the SSFL, and he was a key figure in Naparima’s clean sweep this season. He is assured in possession, rarely gets flustered, and has a thunderous right-footed shot.
Quinn Rodney (Shiva Boys HC): Attacker
Perhaps, the most feared winger in the SSFL, Rodney is speed, trickery and grit all wrapped up in one. You do not want to get in a foot race with this guy. It’s better to take him out at half line.
Isaiah Hudson (Naparima College): Striker
Naparima coach Angus Eve moved the lanky 15 year-old into the striking position midway through the Premier Division season, and nearly everything he touched thereafter turned into goals. He is a clever player who makes very intelligent off the ball runs, which gifts him more space than other strikers may have in the penalty area. Although he did not sizzle in the National Intercol final, this youngster can keep his head held high. He is our Wired868 SSFL Player of the Year!
Jarred Dass (Naparima College): Attacker
Naps’ Mr Consistent! Dass started off the season as the focal point of Angus Eve’s attack and finished the National Intercol final at right-back. He was shifted to the wing during the season to accommodate the red-hot Isaiah Hudson but the willing runner never complained.
Instead, the selfless Dass found himself in the penalty area to clinch Naps’ National double with a double of his own.
We were also impressed by these players:
Jadel Poon-Lewis (QRC): Goalkeeper
Jadel probably has a Manuel Neuer poster in his house somewhere. His calm with the ball at his feet is definitely not something one would associate with a secondary school goalkeeper.
Taryll Coutou (St Benedict’s College): Defender
The Benedict’s skipper is a heavyweight and he is never afraid to show it. He packs a mean punch from a free kick too.
Anderson Toussaint (Naparima College): Defender
One half of Naparima’s impressive centre-back pairing. Reading the game is what he does best.
Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (Shiva Boys HC): Midfielder
Pass, pass, pass, repeat! You get the picture. This young playmaker has the “Vision 2020” that Patrick Manning once proposed.
Michael Basdeo (Naparima College): Midfielder
The Naps skipper goes about his business without much flair, but he is a perceptive and very efficient midfield organiser, not to mention a good exemplar.
Shem Clauzel (St Anthony’s): Midfielder
This pint-sized midfield playmaker is sure to catch your eye. He is smooth and assured when in possession.
Kathon St Hillaire (St Anthony’s College): Attacker
This lively winger seems to come to life when the Intercol’s bright lights are switched on. On his day he is a terrifying proposition for any wing back. Unfortunately for St Hillaire, he was unable to lift the National Intercol crown like he did with Mucurapo East Secondary last year.
Nion Lammy (Presentation College San F’do): Attacker
He is quick, loves a dribble and has an eye for goal.
Brent Sam (San Juan North): Striker
San Juan goes as Brent Sam goes. When the Bourg boys were flirting with first place early in the season, Sam was the player who carried them there. His goals were not enough to take San Juan to the “Promised Land” this season though.