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Shaka Hislop, left, and president of SSFL William Wallace present the boys’ “Player of the Year” trophy to Mark Ramdeen of Naparima College during the awards function, yesterday.
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His­lop tells young foot­ballers to dream big.

Mark Ramdeen of Na­pari­ma Col­lege was named the boys' "Play­er of the Year" while the top ho­n­ours among the girls were shared be­tween Pleas­antville Sec­ondary School duo Alex­cia Ali and Jasan­dra Joe­sph at the awards cer­e­mo­ny of the Sec­ondary School’s Foot­ball League (SS­FL).

Yes­ter­day, the young foot­ballers were ho­n­oured and urged to dream big at the func­tion held at the Cou­va/Point Lisas Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Fea­ture speak­er and for­mer na­tion­al goal­keep­er Sha­ka His­lop told the awardees that suc­cess was rel­a­tive and not based on ge­o­graph­ic bar­ri­ers.

“In Ja­maica or any­one of our small Caribbean is­lands we feel huge suc­cess­es are the do­main of those huge coun­tries," said His­lop. "We don't ever feel, we can pro­duce world lead­ers, world ath­letes, the great­est of in­tel­lects that can com­pete in this high stage, sim­ply be­cause we are this small. When the on­ly dif­fer­ence is those coun­tries de­spite their pop­u­la­tions con­tin­ue to sup­port their bright­est and un­der­stand ex­act­ly what they can achieve.”

The stu­dents, who are as­pir­ing to take the sport fur­ther, was al­so told that dream­ing big is one of the things we do not do well in T&T.

His­lop rem­i­nisced on the time he sat in the same au­di­to­ri­um say­ing, “I al­lowed my­self to get lost in my dreams. Some of those dreams I ac­com­plished and some of my ac­com­plish­ments would have been part of those dreams but most of those dreams didn't, and that is okay. I think we have lost sight of the fact that suc­cess is a stepped process, achieve­ment is a stepped process that needs to be thought through and thought out.”

Tro­phies and medals were pre­sent­ed to win­ners in each di­vi­sion in­clud­ing the Boys Un­der-13, U-14, girls U-15, ju­nior, se­nior U-20 boys and girls, na­tion­al ti­tles, cham­pi­onships boys and girls zon­al league.

His­lop went on to urge the young­sters to al­so ded­i­cate their time to their aca­d­e­m­ic ca­reer and in­di­cat­ed his pas­sion was for de­sign­ing cars.

He said, “I re­mem­ber my fa­ther telling me that sports and aca­d­e­mics go hand-in-hand. When you're play­ing well, you will do well in school. When you were get­ting good grades you will play bet­ter on the field. I have seen no kind of da­ta to sug­gest this much but that is ex­act­ly how it worked out in my life, even to play­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ly in Eng­land, that dis­ci­pline of time man­age­ment stayed with me and pro­vid­ed a foun­da­tion for the suc­cess­es that I had, in par­tic­u­lar, the longevi­ty of my ca­reer.

"I dreamed about de­sign­ing cars which is my pas­sion, which is why I went to school and did en­gi­neer­ing while play­ing foot­ball. If foot­ball did not work out I would have de­signed a car or two, so give your­selves per­mis­sion to dream big enough.”

Lament­ing, that fail­ure is part of suc­ceed­ing, he urged the young ath­letes to give them­selves space to fail and sup­port each oth­er. He said they should not get lost in the com­ments of so­cial me­dia and what is said about them on Twit­ter or In­sta­gram.

SS­FL pres­i­dent William Wal­lace, as­sured the foot­ballers that they are work­ing on pro­grammes to as­sist them in ob­tain­ing high­er ed­u­ca­tion. He said the bud­get for the pro­gramme has been fi­nalised and asked for cor­po­rate T&T as­sis­tance. He men­tioned that Co­ca Co­la was the first com­pa­ny to pledge sup­port to this ini­tia­tive.

Williams said, “The ex­ec­u­tive de­cid­ed that the league should play a greater role in de­fy­ing or as­sist­ing play­ers who are de­sirous of pur­su­ing ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion. We have de­cid­ed on a schol­ar­ship pro­gramme to as­sist these play­ers by pro­vid­ing fund­ing their SATs tu­ition. The SAT is a re­quire­ment to get in­to the US col­leges.

"We will be work­ing with our in­ter­na­tion­al part­ner GPS who will source the col­leges to place our play­ers. Even though the pro­gramme is not ful­ly op­er­a­tional, we were still able to en­gage GPS in the end of the sea­son to con­duct two com­bines, one in Trinidad and one in To­ba­go.”

He said over 400 play­ers ap­plied to GPS on­line. The re­port from this ex­er­cise re­vealed that a num­ber of tal­ent­ed play­ers, both boys and girls will find pos­si­ble place­ments in col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

Schools ho­n­oured with awards in­clud­ed Cara­pichaima East, Fa­ti­ma Col­lege, Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege, San Fer­nan­do, El Do­ra­do East, Queen’s Roy­al Col­lege, Pleas­antville Sec­ondary, Preysal Sec­ondary, Trin­i­ty Col­lege East, Scar­bor­ough Sec­ondary, Holy Name Con­vent, Port-of-Spain, Fyz­abad An­gli­can, Ch­agua­nas North, Holy Cross Col­lege, Na­pari­ma Col­lege, San Juan North, Bish­op’s High, Mt Hope Sec­ondary, Man­zanil­la Sec­ondary, Mir­a­cle Min­istries Pen­te­costal, Siparia West, Shi­va Boys’ Hin­du Col­lege, Mal­ick Sec­ondary, Spey­side High, Five Rivers Sec­ondary, Tran­quil­li­ty Sec­ondary and St Bene­dict’s Col­lege.

RELATED NEWS

Ramdeen, Ali, Joseph claim top SSFL awards.
By Joel Bailey (Newsday).


MARK RAMDEEN of Naparima College was named as the male Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) 2018 season.

For the first time, there were joint female MVPs as fellow Lower Six students Alexcia Ali and Jasandra Joseph, both of Pleasantville Secondary, claimed top honours.

The SSFL held its annual award ceremony yesterday, at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, Couva.

The 18-year-old Ramdeen was a member of the Naparima team who captured the treble last season – Premier Division, South Zone Intercol and National Intercol titles.

“I felt really proud that I came out on top and I accomplished all that I wanted to accomplish in the year,” said Ramdeen.

The goals, which were set out by the Siparia resident, were “to be the MVP and to win every (title on offer).”

The midfielder was also involved with the national Under-20 team which participated in the CONCACAF Championships in Florida, United States last November.

“It was a great experience playing against different countries and against people that may be better than us,” said Ramdeen.

The diminutive Ramdeen credited the role played by Naparima coach Angus Eve in his development.

“He has made me become a more mature player. I used to run with the ball plenty but he (broke) it down a little bit and made me more effective on the field.”

Ramdeen, who is studying Physical Education and Information Technology, is eager to either pursue a football scholarship or become a professional player.

Ramdeen, schoolmate Levi Fernandez, John Paul Rochford (QRC), Kesean St Rose (St Augustine Secondary) and Keon Boney (St Benedict’s) were the top five male players of the year.

Ali and Joseph joined Afiyah Cornwall (Carapichaima East Secondary), Celeine Loraine (Signal Hill) and Klil Keshwar (Bishop Anstey) as the top female players of the year.

The petite 18-year-old Ali, formerly of Penal Secondary, was the star of the show in the Girls Intercol final, as she netted a hat-trick as Pleasantville whipped Signal Hill 3-0.

About her joint MVP award, the striker said, “It felt great, knowing all your hard work paid off. (The season) was different because it was the first time reaching this far (with) this great team.”

The Penal resident credited her uncle Anthony Rose for getting her involved in the sport. She said, “I’ll either like to go pro or on a scholarship.”

Joseph, who is called “Mama” by her teammates, said, “It felt great. It was a great season. This (was) my second season playing with Pleasantville.”

She is not content with the titles earned by her school this past season (National Intercol, South Zonal Intercol and South Zone Championship).

“I want to keep winning and (guiding) the young ones,” said the Gasparillo resident.

Like Ramdeen and Ali, the 20-year-old midfielder is eyeing either a professional deal or a football scholarship in the foreseeable future.

Former national goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was the feature speaker at the event.

Honour Roll – All Star Teams (schools in brackets) 

Male –

GOALKEEPERS: Emmanuel John (San Juan North), Jabari Grey (Presentation San Fernando), Jacob Camacho (Fatima), Levi Fernandez (Naparima).

DEFENDERS: Christian Ransome (Trinity East), Jeron Pantor (Naparima), Kareem John (San Juan North), Kerdell Sween (Trinity East), Raheim Jawahir (Trinity Moka), Tyrike Andrews (Naparima).

MIDFIELDERS: Dwight Yorke (Valencia), Haile Beckles (St Anthony’s), Isaiah Chase (San Juan North), John Paul Rochford (QRC), Jordan Riley (Presentation San Fernando), Josiah King (Carapichaima East), Mark Ramdeen (Naparima), Rivaldo Coryat (St Augustine), Zion McLeod (East Mucurapo).

STRIKERS: Dominique Lyons (Bishop’s High), Keon Boney (St Benedict’s), Kesean St Rose (St Augustine), Kevon Williams (Carapichaima East), Ronaldo Boyce (San Juan North), Tyrese Spicer (St Mary’s).

Female –

GOALKEEPERS: Afiya Carmichael (Tranquillity), Akayla Walcott (Pleasantville), Celine Logan (Point Fortin East), Klil Keshwar (Bishop Anstey).

DEFENDERS: Derisha Bristol (Signal Hill), Jhaney Simon (Pleasantville), Latifha Pascall (Pleasantville), Leah Massiah (Carapichaima East), Nathifa Hackshaw (Five Rivers), Shawnelle Rose (Pleasantville), Tyanna Williams (Bishop Anstey East).

MIDFIELDERS: Ashante Campbell (Signal Hill), Chrissy Mitchell (Pleasantville), Jalene Sobers (Bishop Anstey), Jasandra Joseph (Pleasantville), Kayla Baboolal (Valencia), Moenesha Meijas (El Dorado East), Shneice Maynard (Carapichaima East).

STRIKERS: Afiyah Cornwall (Carapichaima East), Alexcia Ali (Pleasantville), Celine Loraine (Signal Hill), Feliciay King (Tranquillity), Jada Gaskin (Five Rivers), Mia Mitchell (Five Rivers), Taliah Simon (Carapichaima).