THE T&T Football Association (TTFA) has appointed its senior women’s national team staff which will work alongside head coach James Thomas.
Thomas will lead a team consisting of Charlie Mitchell (assistant coach and performance analyst), James Baird (goalkeeper coach), Joanne Daniel (manager), Terry Johnson-Jeremiah (equipment manager), Atiba Downes (strength and conditioning coach) and Aqilya Gomez (rehab specialist).
A statement issued by the local association on Wednesday said the positions were filled using a robust recruitment system of candidate reviews and interviews by a selection panel consisting of TTFA technical director Dion La Foucade, women’s football director Jinelle James, former national player Richard Chinapoo and coach Thomas.
The panel reviewed the candidates’ applications and created a short list for each position. The short-listed candidates were then invited to an interview process where they were assessed on their credentials, tactical knowledge, coaching style and ability and willingness to learn.
Downes and Gomez were evaluated using a similar process under the guidance of the TTFA’s Return to Play Medical Committee.
Commenting on the process, Thomas said, “For us to get back to being competitive on the international stage, it was crucially important that we provide the players with a safe, respectful, competitive and challenging learning environment, and to do that we followed a thorough and rigorous recruitment process for all staff positions.”
Thomas was appointed national team coach in April. He holds a UEFA A License and a UEFA Elite Youth A License, previously served as assistant coach and performance analyst of the Wales women’s team. He also worked with the Wales national performance squad, as well as Wales' Under-19 and U-17 teams.
He added, “For our team to perform at a level acceptable for the nation and its fans, we need them to become learners. Learning every session, every day, every game to become better players.
“For this to happen, we needed to surround the players with staff that also are dedicated to their own learning every single day and continually wanting to better themselves.
“We cannot ask and expect the players to push and challenge themselves to be better every day, if the staff don’t do the same. We have to be the standard setters.”
All of the selected candidates were then recommended to the normalisation committee for appointment and accepted contractual terms that were affordable to the TTFA, given its financial constraints.
Mitchell, the only additional member of staff who is a non-resident, will be available for training camps and competitions and his services as a performance analyst will also be made available to other national teams such as the senior men.
Over the last few weeks, a training pool of approximately 60 players across T&T underwent medical assessments with the assistance of TTFA’s partner HealthNet Caribbean Limited and fitness assessments, overseen by Movements Mechanics, to determine baseline health and fitness levels.
Thomas is scheduled to select his final local training squad in early August after holding training sessions in each island. This was facilitated with the support of the Tobago Football Association.
Additionally, the TTFA will be launching the Women’s National Team Coach Mentorship Programme very soon to increase the platform and opportunities for women coaches.
This will provide opportunities for ex-national players through FIFA’s Women’s Development Programme for coach education and development.
The candidate will also be mentored by Thomas, work with the newly appointed staff as an assistant coach and benefit from workshops and pitch side training in performance analysis and overall coach development.
Thomas said that there are nations much smaller than T&T on the FIFA Rankings that are ranked much higher because these nations and their coaches recognise the importance of coach development and education to benefit their national teams.
He said, “This is why I have also suggested and been working behind the scenes for a few weeks on a women’s national team coach mentoring programme for talented local coaches, and I’m really encouraged that the TTFA has been so receptive to the proposal.”
“I want to leave the women’s national team and the coaches dedicated to their development, within the T&T women’s football arena, in a stronger place than I found it.
“I believe this mentorship programme can improve both the players and coaches for the benefit of the National Teams for years to come, which is something I am hugely passionate about.”
SOURCE: T&T Newsday