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TTFA sacks national women’s football coach; hires US replacement

Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team Marlon Charles was officially sacked today by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), just one month before the inaugural 2014 Women’s Caribbean Cup tournament, which will be staged in Trinidad between August 19 and 26.

The 58-year-old Charles, according to a TTFA release, will be replaced by 52-year-old United States-born coach Randy Waldrum, who is the present coach of US National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team Houston Dash, a two-time NCAA winner with the Notre Dame women’s team and a former Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 coach.

The release, which was authorised by general secretary Sheldon Phillips, might come as a surprise to Charles, since he was due to meet TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, technical development committee chairman Richard Quan Chan and Phillips at a meeting from 4.30 pm tomorrow at the local football headquarters.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national women's senior team coach Marlon Charles. (Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Eddie Chen)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national women’s senior team coach Marlon Charles.
(Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Eddie Chen)

Phillips confirmed to Wired868 that the TTFA would discuss various issues with Charles, who offered his resignation to Quan Chan last Friday and has not led the team since. National men’s coach Stephen Hart trained the women on Monday evening and today and is likely to be asked to do so again on Friday.

“The meeting tomorrow will iron everything out,” Phillips told Wired868. “We don’t have a definitive reason as to why (Charles) left… Part of the problem is you hear information second-hand.

“We want to have everyone in one room to hear exactly what the problem is.”

Phillips refused to confirm, then, that Waldrum was already retained as head coach.

Exactly one hour after the general secretary spoke to Wired868, the TTFA issued a release that suggested Charles had been axed due to a player uprising against him.

“After one month of program review, concerns raised by players about the direction of the coaching and program,” stated the TTFA release, “and under the recommendations of a newly installed Technical Development Committee Chairman, the TTFA has decided to relieve Marlon Charles of his present position and install former US U-23 and Notre Dame Coach, Randy Waldrum, as the head coach for the senior women’s team.”

Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (right) and general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Ironically, Charles’ cited a perceived lack of courtesy and respect from the local football body as his reason for quitting in the first place.

Charles has been a national women’s coach for the past 19 years and spent much of that time as assistant to Jamaal Shabazz and Norwegian Even Pellerud while he also worked under Waldrum when during an unsuccessful Under-17 CONCACAF qualifying campaign in 2008.

Charles insisted that he had no problem with serving as deputy again; but claimed he only found out about the team’s proposed Houston camp through the media, just over a week ago. He said it was only he voiced his concern about this that he was told about Waldrum’s pending appointment.

Phillips countered that Charles was always kept in the loop.

“Marlon has been informed every step of the way,” said Phillips “He was informed about the camp. And this was after we had preliminary discussions with him to tell him about our change of direction with coaching…

“He said he had no problem working with Randy as an assistant.”

But Charles insisted that Phillips was not being truthful and suggested that the TTFA release further confirmed his concerns about what was happening.

“I am happy with the stance I took and I stand firm on my decision,” said Charles, who is a school teacher at the Chaguanas South Secondary. “The first time I met with Sheldon (earlier this year), I asked ‘whatever decision you are going to make on technical matters related to the team, to let me know.’ But they never let me know what was happening and I did not know about the camp until I saw it in the papers.

“So I stood on principle. I am calm about my decision.”

Phillips did not say why he decided to tell the public that the women’s team did not want to be coached by Charles.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago women's coach Marlon Charles (background) instructs his team during an international fixture against Chile in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Aug 12, 2010.  Chile won 1-0.  (Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Seyu Tzyy Wei)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago women’s coach Marlon Charles (background) instructs his team during an international fixture against Chile in the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore, Aug 12, 2010.
Chile won 1-0.
(Courtesy SPH-SYOGOC/Seyu Tzyy Wei)

Some players, who spoke to Wired868 anonymously, said they were anxious to see an improvement in the national programme since the senior women’s team now has its best chance of advancing to a World Cup finals since Canada’s role as host opened up an additional qualifying spot.

They felt a more experienced coach could be a boon although it was far from unanimous that the team could not qualify under Charles.

Charles refused to be drawn on his employer’s claim that he was not wanted by his squad. However, he hinted that the players might be more interested in benefits like training camps and international practice games, which tends to happen when a foreign coach is in charge as opposed to a local one.

“I know these players for a long time and because of the struggles within the women’s set up there will always be issues,” said Charles. “I just want to wish the players and the team all the best for the tournament.

“Once they think about the team and not egos I know they will do very well.”

The coaching staff of the national women’s teams has not received a monthly stipend since former special advisor Jack Warner quit in 2010 while the coaches do not receive match fees for international games either. Instead, they were promised stipends of $160 (US$25) per day during competitions, which they have not received either.

Former TTFA technical director Anton Corneal revealed that the national under-20 women were forced to stay in their hotel on off days during CONCACAF competition, earlier this year, due to a lack of funds and looked on as players from opposing teams left to shop or go on tours.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Daniella Findley (right) tries to keep close to United States striker McKenzie Meehan during the 2014 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. (Courtesy CONCACAF.com)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago defender Daniella Findley (right) tries to keep close to United States striker McKenzie Meehan during the 2014 CONCACAF U-20 Championship.
(Courtesy CONCACAF.com)

The senior men’s “Soca Warriors” also did not receive a per diem during their week-long South America tour last week.

Phillips claimed, though, that Waldrum has agreed to work for the TTFA for free.

“Because of the funding issues, (Waldrum) decided he would come in and lead the team throughout the CFU tournament gratis,” said Phillips. “He sees this as an opportunity or challenge to guide the first Caribbean team into the World Cup and his relationship with college coaches should make it easier for him to get players.

“He has a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience and the players who played for him very much love him as a coach and a person. I think he has very similar dynamics to Stephen Hart.”

Waldrum will now lead the national women into international friendlies against Venezuela on July 6 and 8 at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva from 6 pm and 6.30 pm respectively.

Photo: Houston Dash and Trinidad and Tobago national senior women's team coach Randy Waldrum. (Courtesy ESPN)
Photo: Houston Dash and Trinidad and Tobago national senior women’s team coach Randy Waldrum.
(Courtesy ESPN)

Charles agreed with the TTFA’s warm assessment of Waldrum, who was initially brought to Trinidad by Phillips’ father and ex-TTFA technical director Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips.

“I worked with him already and he is a good person and he can coach,” said Charles. “I have no problem with that; but it is the way things are done. That is what is really hurting me.

“I grew up under certain core values and I just cannot accept people treating me like this.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the managing director and chief editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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  1. Earl I am really surprised at you, of all people I thought you could see clearer. Really we are blind in T&T when it comes to our National players and Team. Hart, Beenhakker, Charles it matter little. Right now and for quite a while we have not developed a generation of players and our player development has been lacking for some time. What we see from other CONCACAF is that they have left us behind. This present crop of
    Trinidad players is one of the weakest in many years. We have less than 6 players playing in any Leagues of quality. If CONCACAF was to pick an All Star select team right now. T&T not getting one selection. Haiti will quicker get players selected. Hart doing what he did with Canada, over achieving. Since he left Canada and big Real Madrid coach take over, Canada has not one a single game in 13 games and scored two goals. So cry down our own if you wish, but please face the facts.

  2. We had more detail. Express story was after this one and the general secretary attempted to push a different line.
    In fact, i don’t think the Express referenced the TTFA release much which suggested that they “relieved” Charles because the players supposedly didn’t want him.
    In other words, I suspect the TTFA saw the public response to its opening statement and tried to change tact.

  3. Wow.. This is not how I read it in the express… maybe I skim a little too fast..

  4. Could you shed light how much money the TTFA made from i) matches againt Argentina and Iran, ii) the chartered operations to see these matches offered to the local public and iii) What’s the new date for the Soca Warriors to get final payment. Also Keep up the good work …

  5. Anthony I agree with you 1000% eh and yuh think that it is only now this madness has been taking place eh! before you and Mr. Live Wire mother and father met eh, all this madness was taking place and the exploitation of our players and the sport will continue until the right folks takes over man and there is transperancy and accountability .Them really good yes.

  6. That does not matter, the point is that you are not following our team closely otherwise you would have noticed the improvement in how we have been playing since Hart took over and that we have since improved our previously lowly ranking meaning that we can now start to attract better quality opponents. For your information until last year T&T had not beaten Jamaica for many many years. The TTFA still has a serious money issue that they have been trying to overcome after Jack Warner left them without much money in the kitty but things are finally starting to look up.

  7. Btw Pierre I follow the team closely but to me it sounds like you don’t. In the games that we played under Hart last year we had a winning record including beating Jamaica away and at home and attained our highest FIFA Ranking in years. Maybe you need to go to Socawarriors.net and start following the games that the team plays much more closely.

  8. Eg if one of our star player is indiscipline… we will leave him out or friendlies and “panic ” and play him in Qualifiers…same as the local coaches and overseas coaches.. We PANIC jus before major competitions…

  9. I know what you mean. Believe me, I thought I wouldn’t have to do stories like this anymore when Tim Kee was elected president. At least I hoped so at the time.

  10. @John Wayne. Nothing is mad about getting a coach who can take our Women’s team to the next level. The USA has one of the top women’s football teams in the world.

  11. Not saying that. Just don’t want to read anymore.

  12. Hahaha. The football programme still running man. And every year probably brings a fresh generation of enthusiastic young talented players. We can’t avert our gaze.

  13. Lasana – I am tired of the TTFA nonsense. Can I pay you not to print these stories?

  14. When I look at how the youth teams here are treated, I just shake my head when I hear about our goal to get to Russia 2018.

  15. Mango there are immense hurdles faced by anyone involved with football in this country…truth be told, I think that Hart is doing a great job given the limited funding that’s available at the moment…consider how much money the US recently spent on this last WC campaign and compare that to what’s available to the current staff. In fact, im quite certain that their youth programs have more funding at their disposal than we do for all football operations in T&T. Also, big question – do we truly hv the quality of players available at the moment to do big things on the World’s stage?

  16. On another note though, how was it that Randy Waldrum was hired? Who interviewed him for the position, when was the position advertised and who were the other candidates that applied? The same concerns expressed in the past of the JAW led TTFF is manifesting itself with the new TTFA. The question nust be asked, did we get a best coach? Why not Anson Dorance or whom ever, especially given the fact that his last foray with team T&T ended disastrously. Is it that the new Tim Kee led TTFA has morphed into a type of Warner(esk) TTFF and doing their own thing?

  17. i wonder if I should really introduce meh self to you eh apart from being the real bacchanalist eh, I am ah real trini to the bone eh LOL

  18. @ Socapro, how it is supposed to work is that the year prior coaches send a budget into the Administrators which will include allocations for training camps local and overseas, friendlies yuh know what I mean. All the pertinent stuff for him to function for that year. Some items of the budget may be cut but he is supposed to be informed what his allocation is for the year so he can implement his plans. Not as arbitrarily and ad hoc like asking for a game or camp or wuhever. But I believe we all knew this b4 eh?

  19. The reason my Foreign Base local coach got the job was because I knelt down and asked my father God, because it was time to send my foreign base local coach back to our sweet country eh, the next thing I heard that Hart got the job. I said lawd yuh send ah band leader eh, who got 8 goals from Honduras in the World Cup qualifications eh and then got his throat buss by the Canadian Football Association eh….. who is he eh I never heard of him, well I don’t ever question meh father God nah, so I personally went and meet him in NJ when our soca warriors was there for the Gold Cup and I told him who I am and I will be keeping and eye on him…..well he buss out one laugh yes, and I agree he is doing something good with our team, and the ball is the TTFA court to get their acts together and they don’t have much time eh, 2018 is just around the corner. Them really good yes.

  20. Also considering that Hart was hired just before the Gold Cup and didn’t have much time with the team, I believe that he did very well and has passed all of his tests as a quality coach so far.

  21. I agree that Hart has done a good job with the resources available. It is true that we did not face full strength opposition at the Gold Cup like we did in the past. But I can only judge him against who he played against and he has done well in my opinion.
    But it is an opinion. If someone suggests otherwise, I can only listen to their views.

  22. And you really think that the TTFA is telling the truth about their money problems ent and they continues to hire foreign base white coaches who don’t come cheap ent but they always want our local coaches to coach for free and just for your information I don’t have to go to Socawarriors. net to know nutten about our football I know everything that is taking place with our football thanks to Mr. Live Wire and wired 868.

  23. hahahahaha who is Jam down eh, they got 8 goals from France steeuuppss Ian really good yes.

  24. Ian and why the public isn’t coming out and support the team eh, well I am happy that you asked, until our football returns to our communities eh, and our players gets their people support in the communities eh, the level of football will sky rocket again once more eh I am a believer.

  25. at the end of it all who suffers the players

  26. Looks like some folks don’t understand that all the coach can do is ask for games against quality opponents but it is the TTFA who decides who we play and how regularly we play. Also if the T&T public is not coming out to support the team it means that we have less money in the kitty to afford quality games especially the ones played at home.

  27. Chaim great point and you know as soon as the foreign base white coaches lands in our sweet country eh they does get everything without any hassle, I am sure his apartment and car eh is waiting on him very patiently. steeuuppss Them really good yes.

  28. Pierre stop sounding like a damn dunce nah man? It is not the coach’s fault that the TTFA did not arrange any friendlies for 6 months.

  29. when was the last time the ladies had a match together

  30. Ian but like yuh contradicting yourself or what eh, so if we didn’t play any games in 6 mths eh, what great job that he is doing eh, maybe you are speaking about in the class room on the black board ent and I have yet to understand the system and what brand of football our team is playing. Alyuh really good yes.

  31. No way on earth we could have expected our team to beat Argentina and Iran after being quiet for 6 months with no warm-up games. In fact considering that fact we put out decent performances against both Argentina and Iran.

  32. why could this not have been done to give our girls a longer period with the new coach, we always wait to make changes when a tournament is close by, am sure all the other teams are in camp months or even years together we now going to camp

  33. It’s easy to blame the coach, what about the players? Are they giving there best for country? Did Marlon have the financial resources available to ensure they could play against and compete with worthy opposition on a regular basis. If these players are disrespectful what type of results do you expect

  34. You are talking BS Pierre. Our team didn’t even play a warm up game before playing Argentina and Iran and were quiet for almost 6 months since before Christmas. It is not Stephen’s Hart fault that we were not getting regular games but hopefully we will get monthly games from now or after the world cup going forward. Stephen Hart is a good coach plus he is a Trini so is devoted to our football and is affordable.

  35. i know but it the way in which things are done

  36. I really don’t understand why everybody is saying that Hart is doing a great job with our national team eh, what am I missing because since he took over eh, he won against a second string team in the Gold Cup because Honduras rested their main players for the play offs and after that our soca worries haven’t beat up anyone else and lost both friendlies against Argentina and Iran and didm’t even score a goal. alyuh Trinis really like mediocrity yes. Steeuuppss.

  37. Why would Stephen Hart get the sack? He is doing a great job with our Men’s team. We couldn’t say the same for the coach in charge of our Women’s team.

  38. you never know, its the ttfa and their mad ideas

  39. Steeuupppss I don’t know when our local coaches will learn nah, so I guess after Belgium beat up the so called God team Argentina eh, the coach will be hired to coach our soca worries ent and Stephen Hart will also get the axe. Them really good yes.

  40. This might be good news as the USA has one of the top Women’s football teams in world football.

  41. whats new with the ttfa and football in this country, its the same thing over and over

  42. “Phillips claimed, though, that Waldrum has agreed to work for the TTFA for free.” I stop reading after this line…..free….steups. So his housing and other expenses who paying for that…. Look ….steups.