Home / Volley / Global Football / Boatswain, James and Cummings in Lawrence’s first squad; Carlos and Ford out

Boatswain, James and Cummings in Lawrence’s first squad; Carlos and Ford out

Defence Force striker Jamille Boatswain and Police FC forward Jameel Perry were rewarded for their fine form this Pro League season with their first international call-ups to the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team.

The 27-man squad, which was announced by Soca Warriors head coach Dennis Lawrence at a press conference this afternoon, consisted entirely of local-based players.

Photo: Defence Force striker Jamille Boatswain (centre) celebrates the second goal of his treble against Police FC during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017. Looking on (right) is his teammate and captain Jerwyn Balthazar. Defence Force won 4-0. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Jamille Boatswain (centre) celebrates the second goal of his treble against Police FC during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017.
Looking on (right) is his teammate and captain Jerwyn Balthazar. Defence Force won 4-0.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Lawrence hopes to get two practice games for his local-based contingent before he decides which players will advance to his full team for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Mexico.

“I wouldn’t have access to the foreign-based players until the 18th or 19th of March,” said Lawrence. “What I think is important is I work with the local players now […] to start building on something [so] that these players will be able to push for a position on the team [to face Panama] come March the 24th.”

Boatswain scored 16 goals in all competitions—eight with his former club, Point Fortin Civic—and is the joint second highest domestic scorer, alongside fellow national recruit Hashim Arcia, while Perry managed just one goal less for the “Lawmen”.

Club Sando attacker Akeem Roach, who managed a league high 11 goals, is in the squad too and keeps his place from the Trinidad and Tobago team which played in last month’s 2017 Gold Cup Play Offs under former coach Tom Saintfiet.

However, Lawrence omitted former 2006 World Cup teammate Carlos Edwards, who captained the national team under Saintfiet, as well as defender Maurice Ford who was also a regular starter under Saintfiet. Winger Aikim Andrews is also out although he is believed to be unavailable due to overseas commitments.

Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) cushions the ball while San Juan Jabloteh defender Jevon Morris stands guard during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 September 2016. (Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force striker Devorn Jorsling (right) cushions the ball while San Juan Jabloteh defender Jevon Morris stands guard during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 September 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Defence Force poacher Devorn Jorsling, whose 16 goals in all competitions was the highest tally in the domestic game, was also overlooked from the 27-man squad.

Lawrence said he spoke to Defence Force coach Marvin Gordon before deciding on Jorsling’s fate and suggested that he felt the time was not right to consider the 33 year old forward at present. The burly striker has just returned to full fitness from an injury.

Lawrence did not offer an explanation for the exclusion of Edwards or anyone else, though.

“This is the group I am starting with,” said Lawrence, “this is not the group I am going to finish with.”

Other significant returnees are the Central FC pair of defender Julius James and midfielder Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings.

James, a former Columbus Crew player in the MLS, has not represented Trinidad and Tobago since 11 November 2011 when the Warriors lost 2-1 away to Guyana. But he caught the eye with a series of steady showings for the “Couva Sharks” as they clinched their third successive Pro League title.

Photo: Central FC defender Julius James (right) looks for passing options during Pro League action against Defence Force at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 24 January 2017. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC defender Julius James (right) looks for passing options during Pro League action against Defence Force at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva on 24 January 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

James joined Central just last month.

Cummings has not worn red, black and white strip since he was shot in his leg, just over a year ago, while he has not consistently commanded a starting role for Central this season.

“Keron [Cummings] plays in a position on the football pitch that was one of the positions that I was interested in finding players for,” said Lawrence. “Keron has demonstrated to me that he understands the position… He has the experience of being around the international football before.

“From that point of view, I would like to work with him and see if we can improve on him.”

Lawrence was certainly happy to be unconventional in his initial squad. Cummings apart, Defence Force goalkeeper Andre Marchan is not even a regular starter at his club while defender Jesus Perez has not always held on to a first team spot at W Connection.

St Ann’s Rangers winger Jomoul Francois, a speedy but raw prospect, barely played for his club in the past two months, as he considered an exit to greener pastures. But Lawrence was not put off.

“I saw him come on as a substitute a couple times,” said Lawrence, “so he has been playing for Rangers.”

Photo: St Ann's Rangers attacker Jomoul Francois (centre) runs at the W Connection defence during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: St Ann’s Rangers attacker Jomoul Francois (centre) runs at the W Connection defence during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 November 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

There were more debutantes too as Club Sando midfielders Jared London and former National Under-20 player Akeem Humphrey were also selected.

Central goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and midfielders Leston Paul and Sean De Silva are in as well, although club captain Darren “Chucky” Mitchell—who scored nine goals from a variety of positions across the midfield and even full back—was another surprise omission.

Lawrence explained that his coaching staff comprised of people he felt comfortable working with and who he felt shared his vision.

He said Connection coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier—who was initially recommended for his job by the TTFA technical committee—had valuable knowledge of the local league and its players while Central assistant coach Stern John, who is Trinidad and Tobago’s record goal scorer, could share his goalscoring knowledge with the squad.

Lawrence said he decided to appoint South African fitness trainer Riedoh Berdien based on the positive feedback of people who worked with him in Trinidad.

The Warriors squad had their first meeting this afternoon at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Keron "Ball Pest" Cummings (centre) tries to find space between the lines against Nicaragua in Port of Spain on 26 October 2015. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago playmaker Keron “Ball Pest” Cummings (centre) tries to find space between the lines against Nicaragua in Port of Spain on 26 October 2015.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

“I am trying to ensure that I prepare the team as best as possible,” said Lawrence. “And as I said before, as difficult as it might be, it is not impossible. So we are going to prepare as best as we can to make sure that—come March the 24th—we can go out and try and deliver what we would like to have, which is a successful result.”

(Trinidad and Tobago 27-man squad)

Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC), Marvin Phillip (Morvant Caledonia United), Glenroy Samuel (Ma Pau Stars), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Andre Marchan (Defence Force);

Defenders: Carlyle Mitchell (Unattached), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Julius James (Central FC), Radanfah Abu Bakr (Unattached), Daniel Cyrus (Unattached), Jelani Peters, Jesus Perez, Triston Hodge, Alvin Jones (all W Connection);

Midfielders: Leston Paul, Sean De Silva (both Central FC), Akeem Humphrey, Jared London (both Club Sando), Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Tyrone Charles, Nathan Lewis (both San Juan Jabloteh), Jomoul Francois (St Ann’s Rangers);

Forwards: Keron Cummings (Central FC), Jamille Boatswain, Hashim Arcia (both Defence Force), Akeem Roach, Jameel Perry (Police FC).

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 15 years experience at several local and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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81 comments

  1. Boatswain is a player I like. He works very hard at perfecting his discipine. Great attitude towards the game. Year by year his goal tally has been increasing and thing call up should come as added motivation to him.
    It would nice if he got some mintutes.

  2. Boatswain great pic..he’s a natural old fashioned center forward…great with his back to goal..hold up play…power..pace and passion!!!

  3. Surprising to see players who aren’t starting on their respective teams being chosen,or those unattached . Brent that comment seems a bit of a double edged sword. I’ve observed that our players fitness level and tactical awareness tend not to be on par with other international teams

  4. Why is Jamal Gay not in this team?

  5. Groom the younsters with the experienced local and foreign players. They need to play a match every week international or not.

  6. Dennis Lawrence was trained by local peeps before his stardom but now feels is only foreign trainers are better😂😂😂😂😂💯

  7. Yeah. Darren Mitchell apart, there are not many really shocking omissions when I think about it. Of course Nathaniel Garcia if he was available.
    I feel Josiah Trimmingham, Jibri McDavid, Kareem Freitas, Rundell Winchester, Jameel Antoine and Jamal Gay might have come close based on that list.
    But I am never a fan of players getting called up when they haven’t really paid their dues. Those never work in the long term. I think Dwayne James and Keon Daniel were examples of that for different reasons.

  8. Nice mix of players. Hope the guys out on trail get and opportunity to. Especially Nathaniel Garcia

  9. I now feel like I could watch football again win lost or draw .de ball pest is back .hope u get fit in time brother.really love how u fight de game .best of lock.

  10. You can’t pick the best Pro League players and not select Cyrus. The thing is getting him fit and focused. But he is talented.
    Those forwards are promising but green. We will see how quick they learn but Kenwyne Jones, Shahdon Winchester and Cornell Glen remain the first three names I’d think about.

  11. They really trying with Cyrus. With regards to the forwards picked, there is a lot of talent there. With the right midfield mix I seeing goals with whoever starts.

  12. Small factor to consider is the fact that tallest hasn’t really seen the pro league this season … so he’s going on recommendations …. cyah call everyone …

  13. Guys, we can’t throw names in the ring based on their performances locally. You have to dissect the player’s attributes and select based on their perceived ability to perform at international level.

    So while Chucky, Marcano, Kaydion Gabriel may have consistent performances locally, it’s not a definite criteria to justify selection.

    • That’s very true. However, it also works the other way. If guys are not as consistent as those three in the local league, it’s unlikely that they’ll give their best game exactly when you need it.

    • Yes…but one doesn’t determine the other as we know.
      We all know player’s who highly consistent at club level and flop at international level

    • First, Chucky has also played Champions League football for two seasons and won two Caribbean Cups. On the other hand, some of the new players have never played outside Trinidad. So I won’t use that as a gauge in this case Kirwin.
      And I have zero faith that a player who isn’t a starter at Pro League level can do the business against Panama and Mexico, which is a much tougher level.

    • Maybe he wanted to give certain players an emotional boost by having them around. That’s your prerogative as coach. But this isn’t like Europe where the difference in fitness and football understanding between a Manchester City player and Watford player may not be that wide.
      When you have players still clearly learning the game at Pro League level being called up, you aren’t going to convince me that they can play at CONCACAF level yet.
      I’m assuming he is trying to give them a boost to keep pushing on in their careers.
      I wouldn’t. For me, you get to a particular standard first. But I can see there may be merits his way too.

    • The whole team played Champs League chief.
      Not sure about giving a boost

    • But some other players selected haven’t played regional, Concacaf or international football before.

    • I am thinking he is looking for specific qualities that players bring that he belives he can utilise. If a man not playing 90 minutes for his club, but when he comes on for a15 minutes he brings a level of unpredictability…its an asset that Larence could use around the more experienced and steady core of players.

    • Sounds great in practice. What you discover generally is that a man who isn’t performing for his club–especially at that level–tends to be lacking something in mental toughness.
      He is not going to deliver at a higher level. There are always exceptions but those might prove the rule.
      For instance, Argentina played Riquelme while he wasn’t playing for his club. And he did well for his country. But then they didn’t win anything. And his attitude continued to be a problem straight to his retirement.

    • To play devil’s advocate James Rodriguez does bench regularly for Madrid lol

    • The argument then becomes whether training sessions at Real Madrid are of sufficiently high quality to prepare him for international football. And whether Colombia has players of equal or close quality to do without him.
      Teams of Madrid’s caliber can argue that they have superior talent to most international squads. Whereas the Pro League is unquestionably below the standard of Concacaf international football.
      So even starting for a Pro League team isn’t an iron clad case. Let alone benching for one.

  14. Chucky’s omission could be his willingness to represent central at any position. Kind of jack of all trades, master of none. I don’t mean he’s not capable but perhaps Dennis didn’t think he was the best left back and maybe hadn’t seen him enough in the right AM role or the left AM role. To me, he is the only 90 minute box to boxer we have and I really thought that would appeal to Dennis. On the other hand, maybe Dennis has him on the list and will bring him in when he cuts some of the wild cards he wants to see up close? I agree with Lasana about him being the MVP this season. Captain Fantastic!

  15. Perry, London, and Foncette inclusion confusing me real bad.

    Cleon John, Javon Sample, and Marchan come before him by farrrrrrrr !!!!!

    I actually think Ford performances improved after the Saint era

  16. What does Chucky have to do again?

  17. Darren Mitchell has a good shout to be the Pro League MVP this season. He would have every right to be disappointed at missing out.
    But he has just got to keep plugging away and hope his chance will come.

    • What’s the point In keep plugging away the man has been performing really well and is a hard worker. Given the fact that Dennis has been away from local football for years I would of thought Stern would of been advising him of the top performers in the league. There is a couple of boys who aren’t even getting a game for their pro league teams that have been named

    • Yeh, it’s bizarre to think Chucky cyar make an all-local squad. He would definitely be on a Pro League All Star XI.

    • Well perhaps we can nudge Tallest in the right direction to give the man a callup??

    • Lass …is there anyway you can find out why this player was left out if he is so highly thought of by his peers?

    • Well, I think Darren Mitchell is a winger Malik. The four wingers in the team are Nathan Lewis, Tyrone Charles, Jomoul Francois and, I’m guessing, Sean De Silva.
      Darren’s qualities are terrific work ethic, personality and pace.
      Tyrone is trickier and has set pieces in his game. Nathan is probably the most penetrative in terms of pace. Francois is also like lightening. And Sean is a great passer and will probably tuck inside to help overload the midfield.
      Darren has a better work ethic than all four, can cover defensively better than any and has a better all-round game. But I guess Dennis preferred the qualities the other had.
      I think Francois was lucky. If the coach is looking for variety, then he already had a speed merchant in Nathan and might not have needed Francois. Mitchell is well ahead of Francois at the moment in every aspect of the game except raw speed. But Francois is young and could have a bright future ahead if he continues to learn.

    • Well I was just reading a report and supposedly he is the leading goalscorer for Central with 9 and has played wingback as well ….. so doesn’t he tick the mold of a box to box mid or even a defensive mid based on your assessment of his qualities? Isn’t our midfield maintaining possession and defensive coverage a liability we’ve been having for a while?? Seems to me this kid ticks those boxes … no??

    • He can play in a midfield three. But his range of passing won’t be like a Leston Paul or so. He can fit in anywhere. But I feel he is best as an attacking winger. I’ve never seen him as a midfield anchor.

  18. Once again Kaydion Gabriel is missed out. Would of been nice to see him get his chance

  19. Julius, Cummings and Leston … I approve.

  20. Yes boi Ovøxö Jamille Boatswain boi congrats

  21. Nice , I like that Julius is in the squad . I found Ford shakey at best .

  22. Good to see Ball Pest back in the mix 😊

  23. Aye I nearly forget we have a football team for a minute!

  24. Cyrus has a fairy godfather somewhere for sure. Couple ommission questions. Marcus Joseph injured? Nathaniel Garcia still overseas? Caledonia left back a possible oversight I believe