You began playing for DirecTV W Connection at 18 in the U20 team. Tell me about your first coach. How were the training sessions organized and what difference did you find when you became a professional footballer?
My coaches at that time were Brian Williams and Shawn Cooper,they were very hands on coaches,who did not accept mediocrity but also knew how and when to have a good laugh. They got me at a good level since plenty foundation work was done by my football crazy dad Leroy Spann and an equally crazy man Kirtwin Baird. Must mention my college coach as well Isa Mohammed and uncle Anston Adams, so when I got to professional level the transition wasn’t as hard. It was all the same thing apart from the pressure to win trophies and maintain consistency. At Youth level there isn’t much pressure because it’s the developmental stage where mistakes could have been made and you could have gotten away with it.
You have travelled a lot for your work, tell me the most beautiful memories and the worst one and who was the closest to you in your hard times.
I’m grateful to have seen almost all the continents except Australia and Antarctica through football. I have some wonderful memories. To mention a few…the World cup 2006 qualification, receiving my country’s CHACONIA medal at the President’s House, being the first Caribbean player earn a contract in Italian Serie A. I will say the worst memories were getting a hamstring injury and not being able to play for my country in a World Cup. Closest to me in my hard time was my faith in Jesus Christ, I was and still am a reserved person who was built in strong value by my parents. I dealt with disappointment well for the sake of my belief. I will say it was comforting to have my wife in such of hard time along with the few that called to console me. Sigh! I’m thankful
Over the years football has changed a lot. How do you consider the development of youth football in the nations where you have played, in Trinidad and Tobago and specifically in W Connection?
In the nations where I have played, football is on top of the sporting list and the players development is in the hand of the professional club in the region. Whereas in Trinidad and Tobago football is in competition with cricket,athletics etc. and development is pretty much in the hands of the school which the players attend. I think although school is very important for your mental development the football part should be left for the professional. W Connection has a very good youth program that promises a potentially good future for any young player who is serious about taking their game to another level. I’m also part of that, giving my contribution of experience along with Youth Director Stefano Monti to the new football school in South Trinidad.
I will also say that our football culture has to change in order to keep up to date with the changes that are taking place in the football world.
This year there has been controversy in the media and public about the fact that W Connection has signed many foreign players. You have played for many years as a foreigner. What do you think about the issue and what you will suggest to a young Trini player ready to go abroad?
The all foreign fiasco has been blown out of proportion by it’s sounders. In my opinion, W Connection is the biggest club in the Caribbean and is well known in CONCACAF for the short period it has been in existence. W Connection prepares and develops players to go abroad as well.
Look at any top club in the world, I guarantee you that there is an influx of foreigners, including coaches. End of discussion.
For a Young Trini ready to go abroad, he has to realize that he is going to take another players position in his country, so it’s a big responsibility.
Even though you are still young, you are already thinking about the future. You work for WC football school, you have participated in courses organized by the club for youth development. What is your next step, coaching the national team?
I’ve been a professional for 15 years apart from being born in a predominantly football family. So at some stage I would like to pass on the knowledge and experience I have gained.When would that stage be has not be determined yet.
Give four suggestions to a youngster who has just started a football career.
1. Fall in love with football so the sacrifices you will have to make later down won’t no be a burden (football should be in top on your mind after Jesus).
2. Become a student of the game (increase technically tactically and physically).
3. Set short and long terms goals and visualize yourself achieving them (from under 20 my friend Nigel Daniel and I used to stand in front a mirror in national colours and sing the national anthem,a couple months later it came to pass)
4. Work hard. The heights that great men reach and keep are not attained by sudden flight but while their companions slept they where up toiling through the night.