Sat, Feb

Like most little girls, Lindsay Deslauriers was in ballet classes by the age of two. One year later, she was on the sidelines of the football field watching her six-year old brother Daniel play.

For the next six years, no one took notice of the little girl who would be kicking the football around while her brother did his thing.

That is, until at age eight, when Lindsay approached her parents and revealed that she wanted to play football. Thinking that it was probably a phase, her parents agreed and Lindsay went to her first practice. At the end of the session, the coach asked her mother: “So how long has Lindsay been playing soccer, she is really good.”

Shocked, her mother answered, “How long? This is her first practice!”

The coach was amazed, and so began Lindsay’s football career as a forward on the “Cowgirls”, scoring most of the goals. By age 10, she was chosen on a “select” team of the top players in Dallas, Texas, where she lived and where there is huge support for women’s football.

Her family returned to reside in Trinidad in 1999 where she began attending Maple Leaf School in Petit Valley.

Lindsay’s greatest frustration was the lack of support for women’s football. After a year of not being able to find an outlet to play with other women, she signed up for the Joe Public Soccer Camp for Under-17 boys and girls.

On the first day, it did not take long to realise that the camp consisted of 30 boys and Lindsay, who was 12 at the time. Although somewhat intimated, her desire to play football overruled her nervousness of being the only girl and she enjoyed the week. At the end of the camp to her complete surprise, she was awarded the trophy for “Most Disciplined Player”.

After seeing her in action, the coach of Jane Public invited her to join the team where the 12-year old was mixing up with girls six years her senior.

It was quite an experience playing with the “tough” women, and Lindsay will never forget running headlong into a “Tobago” girl which sent her flying into the air, while the Tobago player was not even phased.

At 13, Lindsay was invited to try out for the National U-19 women’s team and made the cut. So wanting to see more girls in soccer, when the talk began of starting a girls team at her school, Lindsay was delighted and encouraged others to join her in pioneering the first girls football team at Maple Leaf.

This proved to be quite a challenge along with their first coach Joann Johnston, the athletics Director at Maple Leaf.

Most of the girls had never kicked a soccer ball and Lindsay would just shake her head as she watched some of them scream when the ball came near to them.

Lindsay was made captain of the team and believed in her teammates. It was a rough beginning but the MLIS girls stuck to their guns. Each year their coaches changed but Lindsay remained the captain. On the field you could hear her encouraging them to “go for the goal” and Maple Leaf began to make their mark.

Four years after their inception they won their Division II title in the School League with the assistance of their coach, Gordon Perkins.

Although Lindsay has won several “Most Valuable Player” awards over the years, she is a true team player, often giving up opportunities to score to assist her teammates with a goal.

She knows that their achievements are due to the commitment of those players who have been there from the beginning — Sherise, Vanessa, Melissa as well as all those who joined in each year.

One day, back when she was 13, Lindsay was in the mall with her mother and ran into Dion La Foucade who offered to give her some personal training. She jumped at the offer and that led to her joining Dion’s Soccer Clinic where Lindsay trains every week and has an opportunity to mix with some of the top coaches who the school brings in from international clubs such as Liverpool and Birmingham.

Dion’s highlight in Lindsay’s eyes is that even though the training may be tough, (at his club Lindsay trains with the boys), he still retains a love of the game in his practices and training camps, a combination that is hard to find in sports today.

If you asked Lindsay, what could T&T do to push our women onto the international stage in sports, her answer is a practical one.

“To become an athlete on an international level, it takes training and commitment. If the corporations and private organisations of Trinidad will make the commitment to invest in us, their youth, we, the youth of T&T will match their investment with our commitment to train to the best of our potential and put our country on map in the area of international football as others have done in track and swimming.

“However, it is a situation of if. Without the resources to support the training and exposure of our national and club teams, the dream remains exactly that - a dream.”

Lindsay turns 17 today.

What would she like for her birthday (besides the keys to Mom’s car)? “A big fat cheque from an organisation or individual who wants to be the forerunner to investing in T&T’s women in sports. Now that would be cool,” says Lindsay.

Lindsay graduates in June of this year.

A straight A student with a 4.0 GPA, she plans to continue her academic studies and love of football at one of the top US Universities in the New England area.

More About Lindsay Deslauriers

Extracurricular Activities

(All Year round)

Maple Leaf School Girls Football Team – Captain 6 hours/week

La Foucade Soccer Clinic – (Coaching School) 4 hours/week

Tennis – 1 hour/week

(Fall Season)

Maple Leaf Girls Basketball Team – Captain 2 hours/week

Maple Leaf Girls Volleyball Team – Captain 5 hours/week

(Spring Season)

Maple Leaf Girls Softball Team – Captain 3 hours/week

(Community Service)

Coached soccer to U-16 boys at an orphanage 2 hours/week

(Talents & Awards)

2000/01 8th grade Graduation

Top Academic Awards in Math, Science, French, History and Physical Education.

Joe Public soccer camp – Most Disciplined Player

Tri-Island Tournament – Most Valuable Player – Football/Soccer

International School – Most Valuable Player of the Year – Soccer

(2001/02 9th Grade)

Academic Achievement Award for highest GPA

Best Science Fair Project Award for Design

Tri-Island tournament – Most Valuable Player – Football/Soccer & Basketball

La Foucade/Liverpool Spring Soccer Camp – Best Overall Player

– Girls 2002/03 10th Grade

Academic Achievement Award for highest GPA

Tri-Island Tournament – Most Valuable Player – Football/Soccer & Softball

La Foucade/Liverpool Spring Soccer Camp – Best Overall Player – Girls

La Foucade Soccer Clinic - Player of the month – February & June 2003

Maple Leaf International School Soccer Team – Most Valuable Player 2002/3

(2003/04 11th Grade)

Academic Achievement Award for highest GPA

Tri-Island Tournament – Most Valuable Player – Basketball

La Foucade Soccer clinic – Player of the month – March and May 2004.

(2004 12th Grade)

Blanchisseuse Football (Soccer) Tournament – Award for Most Goals

Music: Steelband, piano.