Wed, Oct

Earl Jean calls on Gov’t and corporate T&T to continue Pro League support.

W Connection’s Kurt Frederick becomes latest among overseas exodus.

W Connection left full-back Kurt Frederick is the latest Trinidad and Tobago Pro League player to move to overseas, having been signed for six months with an option for permanent acquisition by Costa Rica first division powerhouse LD Alajuelense.

Frederick is one of a few new signings by Alajuelense, who recently snapped up the services of Defence Force and Trinidad and Tobago international forward Jamille Boatswain, on the heel of the 2017/18 Liga de Fútbol de Primera División (Liga FPD) season which kicks off on Sunday 30 July and the inaugural Scotiabank CONCACAF League which begins in early August.

Frederick, a versatile 26-year-old St. Lucia international, joined Connection in 2010 and quickly established himself as a regular starter for head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier and one of the most talented left full-backs in the Pro League.

Frederick now joins a long list of players from the Pro League currently attached to clubs on several continents, such as Kevin Molino (Minnesota United/USA), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids/USA), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders/USA), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes/USA), Jelani Peters and Aikim Andrews (Toronto FC II/Canada), Jomal Williams and Shahdon Winchester (Murciélagos/Mexico), Jerrel Britto (Honduras Progreso/Honduras), Daneil Cyrus, Jan-Michael Williams (Juticalpa/Honduras), Boatswain (Alajuelense/Costa Rica) and Dwayne James (Pasaquina/El Salvador), Sheldon Bateau (FC Kairat/Kazakhstan), (FK Suduva/Lithuania), Lester Peltier (FC Alashkert/Armenia), Keston Julien (AS Trencin/Slovakia), Willis Plaza and Carlyle Mitchell (East Bengal/India).

North East Stars and Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Leston Paul is also believed to have received a contract offer in Central America while other Pro Leaguers are on the radar of North and Central American clubs.

“It shows what the Pro League is doing for players and that’s why the (Trinidad and Tobago) government and corporate Trinidad should continue to support the Pro League,” said a very emotional W Connection assistant coach Earl Jean. “It can help a lot of the young men off the street, some of them without solid educational backgrounds.”

Jean, a former St. Lucia and Connection forward who had stints in Portugal, England, Scotland and even China during his career, said the benefits of the Pro League are important “not just for Trinidad (and Tobago) but for Caribbean football.”

“We (at W Connection) can see the fruits of the labour,” continued Jean. “We can also speak for other clubs. All those players who have earned contracts abroad -- at present and in the past -- to improve their way of life came from the programmes of clubs in the Pro League.

“It’s creating more employment for players outside of Trinidad (and Tobago) where they are obviously making US dollars and bringing the currency back into the country and spending it here which also helps the economy. It’s a benefit for the country as well as offering young men from all [spheres] of life the opportunity to do well for themselves and their families.

“Players must take the opportunity presented to them,” Jean urged. “If the players are not taking these chances that are on offer then they only have themselves to blame.”

Alajuelense, national champions 29 times in the club’s 98-year history, are one of the most successful clubs in Costa Rican history alongside fellow Liga FPD clubs Herediano and Saprissa who have 33 and 26 national championships, respectively.

“Frederick’s chance has arrived,” added Jean. “He always wanted the opportunity and it’s now for him to make it into something bigger. He has developed so well and I can say he is the best left-back around the Caribbean.

“He is presented with a good opportunity at Alajuelense, a lovely place to play and everybody at Connection are happy for him. We want him to make it permanent and make a new life, a better life for him and his family. He will also have Boatswain there to help with the transition.”

Jean said in continuing with the success of W Connection on and off the pitch, the latest player move is again a benefit for both the club and player.

“It shows that clubs are taking interest in what we are doing and by extension the Pro League,” said the Connection assistant coach. “It’s always sad when we are losing a quality player, but it’s a while now that a few clubs have been watching him.

“We have won a lot in our history as a club and we are always trying to finish in the top two in our domestic league, and moving on players is a norm at Connection. It’s always better for the players and we can say that more players should be going out soon because they are on the radar of clubs abroad.

“What we do is develop players to get abroad and with the continued interests, it’s saying the work is continue and the benefits will continue.”

With a smaller roster due to financial constraints, Jean said Connection must dig deeper for younger talents from within their youth academy, and across Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean.