Newly appointed Women’s Soca Warriors coach Ross Russell says he hopes to improve the overall standard of the team as they continue preparations for the upcoming Pan American Games in Canada in July as well as the Caribbean Football Union Olympic Games qualifying tournament for Rio 2016.
The 47-year-old Russell, a former Defence Force Staff Sargeant and coach was confirmed in the post by the members of the T&T Football Association’s Executive Committee serving on the federation’s technical development committee headed by chairman Richard Quan Chan, following its special meeting held to discuss its 10-year development plan last week.
Commenting on his appointment, Russell who led Defence Force to two Digicel T&T Pro League titles and was replaced as the team’s Pro League coach after his tenure with Defence Force came to an end, 26 years after he first enrolled said he took his new position in stride and was quick to point out that the team was already at a very good standard in terms of quality.
A former national goalkeeper Russell said his main aim for now will be improving the sharpness and fitness levels of the players as they ready themselves for a very tough group campaign at the Pan American Games in Canada in July.
“In Canada we will face three top quality teams in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico and our first target is to qualify from the group to the semifinal phase of the competition and against these teams we will need to be at our peak physically,” said Russell.
“Once we take each match as it comes and manage to qualify from the round-robin stage then our next target will be to get among the medals. I believe we have the quality players and team in general to achieve that goal and we will be trying our best to do so.”
Russell said he was also looking forward to the new Women’s Professional League which is set to kick off next month so he can have a chance of seeing a few more players with Olympic qualifiers coming soon after the Pan American Games.
“So far all the girls have responded to my appointment very well. I must say its been’s a smooth transition for me, and I think having been around as a goalkeeper coach and helping out with national teams in the past made it very easy for me to communicate with the team and their captain Maylee Attin-Johnson.
“They have been very professional as well and all know my work.
“We are now into our second week of training and the girls are all working as hard as possible to get into peak form and with me being a new coach it gives them the extra motivation of wanting to make a good impression.
According to Russell, who conducted another training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo on Thursday, he has not selected a final squad for the Pan American Games as yet, even though a list of players have been shortlisted and submitted to the T&T Olympic Committee with the final team set to be named by mid June.