Home / Volley / Local Football / Climbing out of the “Dog Patch”: One on one with W Connection’s winged warrior Daniel Diaz

Climbing out of the “Dog Patch”: One on one with W Connection’s winged warrior Daniel Diaz

“The community which I grow up in is just stagnant. Nobody ain’t doing anything to better themselves, they’re just selling drugs. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be better, I want to take myself to the top. And for me the top is playing for a world class team [and] getting paid in pounds.

“Even though I didn’t get to sit my CXC exam because of the [legal] incident, I will achieve this because not everybody has the same work rate as me and the willingness to give what it takes to make this happen. You see some people want it but I need it.”

Twenty-year-old W Connection winger Daniel Diaz has wasted little time in turning heads, just two months into his career as a Pro League player. But the former Siparia Spurs, who hails from the “Dog Patch” in Penal, did not have a smooth path to the local top flight.

Diaz spoke one on one with Wired868:

Photo: W Connection attacker Daniel Diaz (centre) is followed by St Ann's Rangers winger Josh Toussaint (left) during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection attacker Daniel Diaz (centre) is followed by St Ann’s Rangers winger Josh Toussaint (left) during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

When were you born?

9 December 1995.

Where do you hail from?

I am from Church Street, Penal, better known as “Dog Patch.”

What school did you attend?

Shiva Boys Hindu College.

Who is your favorite player?

Lionel Messi!

What is your favorite team?

Barcelona.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a very ignorant person, who had a lot of pent up anger inside. But now that I am playing for W Connection, I don’t feel that way again, because the team has opened my eyes a lot and showed me a better way to express how I feel. I have learnt just by being a part of this club that instead of quarreling when I have a problem, I should just talk it out with the person as a way of dealing it, rather than being upset all the time.

Photo: W Connection winger Daniel Diaz. (Courtesy Carlotta Rivers)
Photo: W Connection winger Daniel Diaz.
(Courtesy Carlotta Rivas)

Tell me something that most people don’t know about you?

That I like to suck my finger and still do it is a comfort for me, especially in stressful times. Sucking my finger helped me cope when my parents had to leave me and my siblings at home alone to go to work. You see where I live has plenty drugs and criminal activities, so it was not good to go outside and mix. So I suck my finger.

[Also] I was once accused, along with several of my friends, of [the] sexual assault of a girl we all knew while I was in my final year at Shiva Boys. [That] caused me to spend six weeks in jail [before] my mother [could] make the money to bail me out. But I won my case because the fella who reported it was lying and the girl never showed up for the case.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Playing football is my life. (Smiles) My life was not a happy one. Even though I have my both parents and their support, I saw no love between them and this bothered me a lot. So I suck my finger for comfort and football became a way to express myself and escape.

What pushes you to succeed?

The community which I grow up in is just stagnant. Nobody ain’t doing anything to better themselves, they’re just selling drugs. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be better, I want to take myself to the top. And for me the top is playing for a world class team [and] getting paid in pounds. Even though I didn’t get to sit my CXC exam because of the [legal] incident, I will achieve this because not everybody has the same work rate as me and the willingness to give what it takes to make this happen. You see some people want it but I need it.

Photo: W Connection winger Daniel Diaz (left) takes on a Club Sando defender during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 14 October 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection winger Daniel Diaz (left) takes on a Club Sando defender during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 14 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

How did you start playing football? What was your earliest football memory?

It had this fella by the name of Kester Smart; he was my neighbour. He was older than me and playing football in secondary school, I was in primary school. And when [his] coach [taught] him something, he would just come home and teach me what he learned. And when I was ten years old, I decided to put my skills to the test. It was at a hockey size pitch in the village and I scored three goals in my first match… Everybody was amazed and calling for me and that was the start of my career in football.

What makes you stand out as a player?

I play right wing [and] I have a special technique in kicking the ball with my right foot on the outside that makes the ball spin at the last minute on the goal. Someone has to be real close to me to stop that goal.

Who is your most important coach and why?

(Broad grin) Dexter Francis! He was my coach when I was at Shiva Boys. He played for the “Strike Squad”. He encouraged me and always tried to show me the light.

What is your ambition in the game? How far do you want to go?

My real ambition is to live comfortable off the game by taking my talent to an international level. And I am willing to make the sacrifice for this. When I was four years old, I had a great desire to play for my country on the national team. But as I go though my career in football; the way the system is in Trinidad, it is too much favoritism. So I believe this is the reason why most good players have no real ambitions to play for our national team.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College supporters get behind their team during SSFL Premier Division action against St Mary's College at Lachoo Road in Penal on 19 October 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College supporters get behind their team during SSFL Premier Division action against St Mary’s College at Lachoo Road in Penal on 19 October 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

What is your best moment in football so far?

I was still in school playing for Shiva Boys [and] we had a match against Pleasantville Secondary. The game went past full time, so we had a penalty shoot out and it went down to sudden death with all the players having used their turn. And it was up to me to bring it home and I scored with my special technique and we won the match.

What is your target for this season?

This is my first season with W Connection and first time playing at this [Pro League] level. So I just want to get comfortable with the other players and build a trust [with them] because football is a team sport. One man can’t win a match, it takes a team. I want to be a team player so I could win for W Connection.

 

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to scroll through more Wired868 profiles with local athletes.

About Carlotta Rivas

Carlotta Rivas
Carlotta Germine Rivas is in her final year at COSTATT, pursuing her BA in Mass Communications and works in the Customer Service Department at Sagicor. She is also presently an intern at Wired868. Rivas is passionate about people and spends most of her spare time working on various NGO boards in the service of others.

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26 comments

  1. Tevon Primus tell me who is that lol

  2. Lasana Liburd, I saw him play his nick name “Guiti “. A Enforcer , strong and tackle hard, Kick with both feet . In discussion with Dexter Francis , his red card rate was 1 Per game . I see he is working on that . Stephen Hart , should have a look

    • Not sure if it is the same player. The kid is a dashing winger.

    • yes, he played left wing for Shiva boys and some where inside for Penal Alsstars (SFA), Didn’t see him with Siparia Spurs doh . Remember I was telling you about talent falling to the way side , There is another talent there . big ,big player in Jamal John . Clinical striker for Shiva Boys and Penal Allstars . All products of Dexter Francis

  3. This kid has desire. I hope he sticks with it and get his opportunity

  4. Work hard and continue to dream big…be honest and God will help u to achieve the like u desire from the talent He has blessed u with…use it well!!!

  5. Is there any live footage of these talented youths ?

  6. Stay hungry for success Daniel.Follow Levi’s footsteps.You are. both gifted.

  7. The author here is Carlotta Rivas who also interviewed Sharkeel Louison. Clearly she is blessed with formidable one on one interviewing skills!

  8. I luv the young man’s PASSION for success and desire to work hard to achieve his goal of playing pro outside
    “Some want it I NEED it” what a quote!!!
    I look forward to seeing him in action…Nice one Las ??

  9. Wishing him the best, however, the pragmatist in me hopes he can complete his education, as a backup plan.

  10. “So I just want to get comfortable with the other players and build a trust [with them] because football is a team sport.” He gets it.

  11. Wow! Good luck to him and well done to you for highlighting his story. Sounds like he may well be earning pounds or euros soon! Nice story.

  12. And Nicholas, this kid made me sit up straight the first time I saw him play. The boy has skill. Long road to the top but I hope he has some good fortune. Sounds like he has earned the right to some luck.

  13. Great article! Highlights 2 sport issues – 1. Positive & 1. Negative. Positive – this kid has talent, passion and a clear a desire to work hard which hasn’t been improved by life at home. Negative – his development [international comparison] requires double work since based on quality hours, we have no efficient training/league structure at youth development. He made it to pro so he’s definitely on the right track!