Police Commissioner’s son, Griffith III, named in T&T National U-17 squad; Stern: He earned his pick

Gary Griffith III, son of Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, will be part of a 20-man Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team that travels to Miami  on Monday for the Under-17 Concacaf Championship, which also serves as a World Cup qualifying series.

The National Under-17s, coached by Trinidad and Tobago senior international record goal scorer Stern John, begin their campaign against Bermuda on 1 May.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team assistant coach Stern John (right) throws an eye on forward Akeem Roach during training at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on 8 March 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

The squad comprises of 12 local based-players and eight from overseas including Netherlands-based midfielder Tyrese Pierre, Canada-based attacker Justin Araujo-Wilson, US-based forward Jerrel Nixon, who is the son of former World Youth Cup forward Jerren Nixon, and John’s own son, Isa Sayeed.

Fatima College contributed more players to the squad than any other team with Jean-Heim Mc Fee, Andrew De Gannes and Zachary Welch all making the 20-man squad. Araujo-Wilson is also a former Fatima student.

John, who was assisted by former 2006 World Cup teammate Kenwyne Jones, had barely six weeks to prepare the team but was pleased with what they got done.

“We had to get in everything in a very short space of time,” John told the TTFA Media. “The guys took it all on board and [are] relishing the opportunity. [They] are excited and I am excited myself to go there and compete.”


The National Under-17s were not supported financially by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and the coaching staff worked for free. John admitted that the squad sometimes relied on aid from parents in the areas of post-training meals, transportation and visa applications.

John singled out Griffith for his assistance to the squad.

“Special thanks to Mr Gary Griffith, the Commissioner of Police,” said John. “He came forward and really helped the team out in preparing for this tournament. In terms of nutrition, getting us food and stuff on time, also transport for the boys after training as well.

“Most of our sessions were held at Mannie Ramjohn, and the traffic [is] really bad on the afternoon and I think he played a very important role in getting the boys on a [police] bus from Port of Spain to the stadium on time and back to their respective homes as well.”

“[…] Mr Griffith was pivotal in helping us to fast track some of the visas as well too. He used some of his resources so we got the visas on time. Today the manager [Aaron Pollard] would’ve went to the embassy and picked up the rest of passports with all the visas so we could travel on Monday.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 attacker Gary Griffith III (left) poses with his dad, Gary Griffith, and mother, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, at the Buju Banton concert on Easter Sunday.

John insisted that Griffith’s financial aid to the team did not give his son an advantage when it was time to select 20 players for the Concacaf tournament. Griffith III got minutes with North East Stars’ Pro League team in the 2018 season and is set to take up a scholarship with Sunderland College. He was one of two St Mary’s College players—the other being SSFL stand-out Gabriel Nanton—who trialled with former England Premier League team, Sunderland United, last year.

“No, no, no [Griffith’s assistance to the team did not influence my selection],” said the National Under-17 coach. “I think I was given a job to represent my country and to pick the strongest team that I have at hand. People might think Mr Griffith’s influence in helping the team made his son get a pick but it’s not that way.

“I think his son came in and worked hard just as everybody else and he competed for a spot just like the rest of players and he deserved to be on the squad.

“[…] Griffith III plays up front and out wide too. He has a great, great, great attitude; he brings a lot to the table and [has] very good quality. That’s why we picked him; because we know he has the quality we’re asking for and we know he can play at this level too.”

Financial woes apart, John’s outfit also struggled with the timing of the competition which clashes with the CSEC examination. However, the head coach suggested that the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) found a solution by getting examiners from the Ministry of Education to travel with the team.

“We have like five players who have exams [during the tournament],” said John. “We worked with the schools, we came together and we figured out a way around it; so they can get the exam and play the games as well too.

Photo: Fatima College attacker Jean-Heim McFee (left) gets behind St Mary’s College defender Nathaniel Williams during SSFL action at Mucurapo Road on September 29 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

“I think also the further we go into the tournament, there’s a couple more players who [will] have exams… We’re gonna have to deal with it there and then, even if we have to let the players sit the exam and then probably play the games afterwards.

“But obviously the school [work] is very important as well too.”

Wired868 was unable to get more details about the students who are due to sit exams and what the TTFA has put in place to assist them.

Team manager, Pollard, said he could not pass on that information unless specifically authorised to do so by new general secretary Camara David, who has instituted a gag on all TTFA staff outside of arranged press conferences.

John was pleased with the success of his combine in Atlanta, which led to selections for four players. Curtis De Leon, who represented the David Nakhid International Academy at the recently concluded Madrid Cup, is one of that quartet along with Kevan Kahoussi, Sayeed and Nixon.

He hopes to keep tabs on these players in a database that the football body promised to implement.

“We have a database that [allows us to keep] in contact with the players and also the parents,” said John. “Even the ones that weren’t chosen, we still keep in contact with them because […] if we qualify for the World Cup, we’re gonna have to go back and look at players.”

Photo: Trinity College East goalkeeper Kahlil Oliver (centre) prepares to attack the ball during their East Zone Intercol final contest with San Juan North at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 21 November 2018.
(Copyright Kerlon Orr/CA-Images/Wired868)

Bermuda apart, Trinidad and Tobago must also compete with Jamaica and Mexico in the group phase. One from the quartet will be eliminated while the other three advance to the quarterfinal round.

“We want to go there and try to qualify for the second round firstly,” said John. “I think our main goal is to win our first game which is important. I think once we do that then we have a very good chance of qualifying for the knockout phase.”

(Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team)

Goalkeepers: Isaiah Williams (W Connection FC/Presentation College, San F’do), Kahlil Oliver (San Juan Jabloteh/Trinity College East);

Defenders: Nigel Carraby (W Connection FC/Presentation College, San F’do), Luke Savery (W Connection FC/St Mary’s College), Jordon Britto (San Juan Jabloteh/San Juan North Secondary), Cephas St Rose (W Connection FC/CTS College), Isa Sayeed (Indy Premier Soccer/ Hamilton South-Eastern High School—USA);

Midfielders: Zachary Welch (North East Stars/Fatima College), Jaiye Sheppard (Unattached/Presentation College, San F’do), Tyrese Pierre (WSV Apeldoorn/Rivers International School—Netherlands), Andrew De Gannes (North East Stars/Fatima College), Curtis De Leon (North Carolina FC/ Leesville Road High School—USA), Gary Griffith III (North East Stars/Trinity College Moka), Jeremy Lashley (Internazionale of Edmonton/ Archbishop O’Leary Catholic High School—Canada), Kielon Burnett-Acevaro (W Connection FC/Carapichaima East Secondary), Kevan Kahoussi (NC Fusion/Crossroads Flex High School—USA), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United/Mc Eachern High School—USA);

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) attacker Jaiye Sheppard (right) evades Carapichaima East defender Emmanuel Correia during SSFL action at Guaracara Park on 19 September 2018.
(Copyright Nicholas Bhajan/CA-Images/Wired868)

Forwards: Justin Araujo-Wilson (San Juan Jabloteh/Virtual High School—Canada), Jean-Heim Mc Fee (Club Sando/Fatima College), Jerrell Nixon (Concorde Fire Soccer Club/Campbell High School—USA).

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About Kirwin Weston

Kirwin Jules Weston is a freelance writer and sport enthusiast and holds a BEd Physical Education student from UTT. Weston attributes his love for sport to his father who exposed him to a variety of sports from a tender age. His favourite saying is: “Success breeds success.”

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  1. I hope Naps U17 players such as Kesar, Jabari Lee,Kern Cedeno were part of the training pool.
    Fatima U16 were national under 16 champs in 2017. Not sure if any of those guys are still U17.
    Pres were national Under16 champs last year.
    I noticed Fatima player McFee playing for Club Sando. I will not be surprised if play for Naps this season.
    Molik Khan from Naps is an U15 player with loads of potential. Watch out for him.

  2. So wait was all the foreign base players available for the training in our sweet that the Coach John spoke about Them really good yes

  3. Stern John talks about final Under 17 selection

  4. Enjoy the moments, bro ; play for the captain !

  5. I think a quality one must possess in order to qualify to work for d ttfa is dat u must be able to lie wit a straight face…its too much now….it overbearing

    • I wonder if Gary Griffith III would have been chosen if Latapy was still the coach. I can’t recall seeing him play for his school during SSFL but I hope he has improved because the last time I saw him play he did not make the cut,

  6. Coach Stern John must be reading Wired Volley how come that he is making clear the reason why the Commish son was selected and he didn’t even mentioned about his own son that he also selected eh Them really good yes

  7. Was a contract signed?

    Ah arksin because after you spend your money and gih yuh time and yuh effort and all the rest and I tell yuh thanks and pick the best squad and leave out your son, how yuh getting yuh money back if yuh doh ha no sign contract?

    Just arksin…

  8. Well I don’t know if Alyuh notice but my Commish has also chosen Coach Terry Terence William Fenwick to be in charge of a community football tournament that will take place every year and just recently my darling sweetie Asst Commish and two other police officers attached to the police youth clubs talking about my Commish plans with respect to the same tournament on The Field of Dreams and while doing so they will also be training future police officers and players that will play for our police service and that same initiatives was told to me some years ago by my baller for life Kurtwyn Baird ex police that it was time that our police officers along with the other arms of our national security go into the committees with the football/ sports in order to stop our youths especially the ones with plenty talent that are ending up in YTC even on the charge of murders that I saw with my own eyes when I was invited to a football tournament at YTC so I will be waiting very patiently to also see him put up a permanent police / soldier post behind the bridge to finally stop the madness between Rasta City and the Muslims and get them involved in the sports and not just have the police presence their especially around Prince to Independence square on Duncan Nelson and Charlotte streets whenever the madness happens they should be in those areas round the clock while his special units with proper intel go after the guns and drugs in the both communities Them really good yes

    • Earl Mango Pierre I’m glad to hear this. When I was growing up in Laventille and we had football in the schoolyard by Success RC we used to have police officers bring their 5-A-Side teams some days and whenever we had tournaments. It was always interesting to observe how people felt good to be able to sweat with the officers and then maybe even share a beer with them. Definitely removed plenty barriers. We also had several fete matches each year at the Angostura Community Grounds (aka The Mangue)

    • Brian Harry Or and I almost forget and when officers are living and also involved with the sports the good police officers and folks in the communities will also let them know who are the demons that are selling the drugs with the guns and ammunition but the only thing that happens sometimes is that some of the same officers leaves babies with the sweet women and them in these communities and never looks back and then they follow the wrong crowds and ends up in prison or murdered and sometimes our same police have to put their lights because they not giving their lives to our Father God to become productive citizens, really sad , so my Commish with respect to his initiatives will have to see how many youths can be saved before it is to late Them really good yes

  9. GG involvement should be unsettling to most but I suppose its “normal”. The police bus is the property of the GOTT not GG, he has decided to utlize TTPS resources primarily as a taxi service under what part of his duty to “Protect & Serve.” Furthermore, GG has utilized the TTPS resources to intervene with the US Embassy not on a matter of National Security but to obtain visas for the TTFA. The implication being that again the TTFA was negligent in timely application for visas. The natural question is why has GG chosen to utilize the scare resources of the TTPS to the benefit of the TTFA at this moment in time? Please let’s stop calling sponsorship because I will ask for the agreement, terms, conditions and length, naturally all national teams male and female would want the same sponsorship.

  10. Nobody from Tobago? Ah know Jaiye Sheppard from Tobago, but doe does live in Trinidad.

  11. Nobody from Naps made that squad?..wasnt Fatima relegated last year?..steups

  12. Has anyone seen the team play? The criticism of the kid and his father may be a bit premature. Let’s be honest, this is not the most talented team.

  13. I read somewhere that the police bus is sometimes used to assist with transportation for the team. GG better be careful with that one.

  14. I don’t know any of these players and as such I’m casting aspersions on none. Have we selected our best team? If not, why?

  15. Zesser with gold chain – what teams is 111 associated with?

  16. In my humble view, if the youth man was not a footballer, would his dad still sponsor the team? The obvious answer is no.
    The TTFA is in such a mess, that these are the things that happen because of that. The bigger problem must be addressed first! When that is fixed, only then can we avoid this kinda nepotism.
    I’m saying it openly, if I am a major sponsor, my son has to play, even if it’s for 5 minutes.

  17. I am glad they figured out a solution to getting their exams done. Would really like to see what they actually are but nonetheless, a step in the right direction. Thanks for that inclusion.

  18. Lasana we look forward to your stories. Lasana Liburd

  19. Did Griffith feature in the Premier Division of the SSFL? Surprised I haven’t come across the name before.

  20. Tony Maxwell Hatt What kind of language is that you have written lol

  21. i sweat with the kid a few times…nice kid…good lil player also…better than his dad lets say…miles..hahha..sorry GG..

  22. Sigh… Please let there be no more bacchanal, please, pretty please.

  23. Gary also does Security for TTFA ?

  24. Small.man playing good long before he buckman was Commissioner.

  25. I ask people to follow youth football then you recognise that we merely wallow in mess.Is Stern the Ron La Forest of the Jack Warner period with the very said U19s.
    That apart ,why do former national players and others of influence hover around coaches to ensure / cajoul / foist their children on national teams and why are the coaches so damn spineless.This happens from club to national selection…this is sweet TNT.

    • Ian Brooks have you ever seen the young man play?
      How many training sessions have you attended to know who’s performing well or not?
      Do you really know any of the coaches to deem them spineless?
      Have you ever had a relative involved in a national or any program for that matter?
      Don’t parents not usually assist with team activity.
      And before you again go off on the “only in sweet TnT” crap, I have a friend whose daughter is on the US u18 and there have been times when he and other parents have taken the entire team out for a meal.
      Just saying.

    • Kester Lendor …I do not know you Lendor but let us make sense here…..which young man have I spoken of as it seems you are protecting someone ? Yes I have seen the Young men play MANY times up to two weeks ago…I know the coaches and have a personal relationship with them……Yes I have been called to a youth team,my brother Gerry Brooks,his son Timothy Brooks,My son Justin Brooks was called on innu8 occasions and my 14 year old refused to be part of the Elite U 14 Programme. The only person who is spewing crap is your good self as you are obviously your good self as I made a general comment as is my entitlement.
      Just saying.I am prepared for further questions or proper deliberation on a serious issue.

    • Please read my first statement ,think about what I said and address the points i made before you seek to attack the messenger and not the message. Think carefully before you talk.I want to respond to sensible commentary……please

    • Must able to question policy with regards to national sporting teams selection. Constructive criticism is a good thing. The test is coming.

    • Kester Lendor let us examine my original statement…..I ask people to follow youth football so as to be aware of the talent on display….what is wrong with this ?
      If you follow it we will realise when the final team is or is not consistent with what is on display ? What is wrong with this ?
      I mention the Stern issue with the Jack Warner issue to focus our minds of an era where there were selection issues and to be mindful that these things exist.
      What is wrong with that ?
      I mention the issue of persons trying to influence national coaches by their presence and or influence. Am I not speaking the truth ? What is wrong with that ?
      I say it happens on both club and national level.Am I wrong ? What is wrong with that statement ?
      These things happen and are very prevalent in sweet TNT ? Am I wrong ? What is wrong with that statement ?
      Please identify where I have singled out any player and which player ?
      For God’s sake Lendor make some sense.

    • Lendor….I am at a loss to deter the relevance of your questions to the matters I raised….please help me.

    • For general information…are you aware that Stern has a son on the team who has earned his pick……yes,he has earned his pick.Are you aware that TTFA Communication Manager for the team says he is unaware that Stern has a son on the team? Is he honest in that statement or has he followed his mandate ?
      Are you aware that one unattached player whose father was a member of staff was dropped yesterday and his father was dropped from coaching duties also ?
      In light of the above I still ask the original questions.

    • Are you aware that there exists other better players who did not forfeit scholarships and politely declined as their colleges may have revoked their scholarships ?

    • Ian Brooks my sincerest apologies. I inadvertently replied to the same topic bit incorrect threat.
      I will take you up on that call however in the next hour though.

    • Kester Lendor no problem my brother…accepted .

  26. Congratulations young man. Blessings to you

  27. It is sad and does not says a lot about Stern as a coach when he has to justify the pick of one player whose father did so much for the team. A player who played In the SSFL and his name was not mentioned once as a standout. He did earn his pick by the efforts of his father.

    • Charmaine, he didn’t play in the SSFL at the top level. Or he never did in any match we covered. However he has played outside of the SSFL like in the Pro League and presumably Youth Pro League.

  28. Yuh know… I read this and could of hardly cared less bout Griffith III selection. Instead, I’m watching how we gone back to the good ole days of national teams being funded by BarB que and Bloko fete… great man

  29. He has great potential. Congratulations to him!

  30. Congrats.
    All the best to the team

  31. Lasana Liburd reading this you don’t know if to laugh or cry for .. btw who is the rest of the technical staff by portfolio.. post up some training vids… see why I say a televised public forum is needed

  32. Well done youngster go and represent well

  33. Good luck to the kids and staff. Know they worked hard in little time they had to prepare. It will be uphill battle as is the norm these days. BTW, did Stern’s son make it on the team as well? Also, would like to hear more about the player database. It’s long overdue for sure.

    • Isn’t a player database a fundamental thing? It shouldn’t even have to be mentioned in this day and age.

    • Brian Jordan not the first time we hear about this “database”

      I somehow feel it’s written on paper then tossed afterwards.

      To me there always seems to be uncertainty of players whereabouts and what they doing.

      Heard DL said they got to find out Trevin Caesar was in Tobago, seriously ?

      If your database functioning properly you would know

    • Kirwin, is not only de database have to function properly. Is de people who supposed to be using it. But yuh right, I have been hearing about this “database” throughout de years. Is like de Loch Ness monster.

  34. Nigel Myers u knew about the existence of all these foreign basef high schoolers as well or some are revelations?

  35. Nice!…Congrats young man….make the most of it.

  36. All the best to the young man. Make the best of it

  37. They do actually. Check again.

  38. Zachary Welch, Andrew de Gannes, and Gary Griffith III from North East Stars? I thought hey doh have ah youth team?

  39. I am surprised dat it doh have nobody from Naps, de winningest school last year. Unless nobody from de Premier squad is age-eligible.

  40. Lasana, how can Justin Araujo-Wilson be Canada-based if San Juan Jabloteh is specified as his club? I also ask this because the article says he goes to Virtual High School, which is an online school.

  41. Cash strapped? Aid from the parent? Oh dear..oh dear.

  42. I didn’t read the entire article, but I’ve read enough to deduce that the selection process wasn’t exactly independent.

    • The TTFA created that scenario by not being able to give the coach the necessary resources. Stern was in an awkward position as a result and so was Gary.

    • Lasana Liburd I give props to Gary’s support of the squad….in your humble opinion however do you think his kid is deserving of his pick?

    • Lasana as a follow- up to Malik’s question, what was GG’s son performance and skills like at the Intercol level?

    • Malcolm Jack The only reason why the Commish got involved in the football it is because his son is a baller and he is making certain that he represents our sweet country and as I have said before that he needs to finally fix the field on Long Circular Road in the police barracks that remains in a horrible state since about 35 years or more and finally make it our police team home field with seating accommodations and changing rooms now that he also plays for the Top Cops old men team Them really good yes

    • Agreed Earl! I haven’t been near that field at Long Circular in years. I could just imagine how horrible it looks now.

    • Malcolm Jack About 3 years ago the assistant manager asked me to come and be part of the team and I said to him with due respect that I left the service 35 years ago and now I have returned the field is still in this horrible condition no seating accommodations changing rooms and what happened to the caretakers and when I attended some of the sessions I couldn’t take it anymore watching the set ah holes in the nets on the goal posts I went into town by meh friend store Kenny’s sports store and sponsored a pair of nets yes , you know that the nets have holes again so it seems that they waiting on me to sponsor another pair so I will be bringing down a real top of the line from my second sweetest country because it seems that even the nets is bootleg in our sweet country Them really good yes

    • Guys, I’ve never seen the boy play. Brian Jordan watched training sessions and would be in a better position to judge.
      He didn’t play any SSFL top flight football as far as I know. He got minutes for the North East Stars Pro League team last year at just 15 or 16. But he didn’t play in any Pro League game I attended either.

    • Many better players exist in the SSFL, in my humble opinion, but let’s see how the coach uses him.

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