Cooper hails attitude of National U-17s as squad whittled down, still no friendlies announced

Trinidad and Tobago Men’s National Under-17 Team head coach Shawn Cooper has credited the work ethic and competitiveness of his pool of players, as they come to the end of a residential training camp at the TTFA Home of Football in Couva.

The young Soca Warriors are preparing for next February’s Concacaf Men’s U-17 Championship in Guatemala where they are grouped with the United States, Canada and Barbados. The top three teams in each group advance to the Round of 16 knockout stage, while the four Concacaf semi-finalists qualify automatically for the Peru 2022 Under-17 World Cup.

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 head coach Shawn Cooper during SSFL duty with Presentation College (San Fernando).
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

In the past month, Cooper has trimmed his training squad from 61 players (43 local-based players and 18 overseas-based trialists) to 38 players (28 local-based and 10 from abroad).

“We are in a period where we are emphasising on physical conditioning while including other aspects of how we want to play,” Cooper told the TTFA Media. “Generally the home-based players have been competitive because everyone is aware that places are up for grabs and the overseas guys have been pushing for inclusion also.

“The attitude and approach has been good but we still have other aspects of our overall team preparation that we will be focusing on in the sessions ahead.”

Fatima College defender Jaden Williams, the St Benedict’s College duo of defender Lyshaun Morris and midfielder Josiah Ochoa and San Juan North Secondary attacker Lindell Sween are among the players who caught the eye in scrimmages, along with the overseas-based duo of Crystal Palace flanker Rio Cardines and Concorde Fire attacker Jeremiah Cateau.

“We’ve been doing double sessions during the camps and the players have responded positively with some encouraging signs,” said Cooper. “They have shown that they are willing to go the distance. The players who have come in from overseas have definitely fitted into the program and the style and approach of our set-up as well.”

England-born Crystal Palace midfielder Rio Cardines has looked the part for Trinidad and Tobago on the right flank.

National Intercol champions Fatima College and Premier Division Big 4 champions St Benedict’s College remain the dominant reservoirs of talent, as they account for exactly half of the local-based pool.

Fatima College have eight players in the current squad while St Benedict’s College have six.

The ongoing national training camp ends today while Cooper will invite players to return to the Home of Football on 29 December for another three-day stint at the Couva facility.

Thus far, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has not announced any international friendlies or an overseas camp for the Cooper’s squad.

The National Under-17 Team play their first competitive match on 11 February when they face Canada in Guatemala City.

San Juan North Secondary attacker Lindell Sween (left) runs at Arima North Secondary defender Ezekiel Ramdialsingh during East Zone Intercol semifinal action at the Larry Gomes Stadium on 15 November 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy)

(Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 training squad)

Goalkeepers: Jaden Ottley (Fatima College/ QPCC), Jayeim Blake (El Dorado East/ Ginga FC), Thane Devenish (St Benedict’s College/ San Juan Jabloteh), Makaya Taylor (Scarborough Secondary/ Brother Ry’s Academy), Samori McKell-Jeffers (Delta High School/ FC Pride);

Defenders: David Hospedales (Trimont College/ QPCC), Lyshaun Morris (St Benedict’s College/ Point Fortin Academy), Joshua Figaro (Trinity College East/ Trendsetter Hawks), Kyron Joseph (Naparima College/ Club Sando FC), Jaden Williams, Yohance Atherton, Darius Jordan (all Fatima College/ QPCC), Josiah Connell (St Mary’s College/ QPCC);

Fatima College defender Jaden Williams (left) drives the ball past a Speyside High defender during SSFL Premier Division action at Mucurapo Road on 12 October 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Midfielders: Josiah Ochoa, Jeremiah Niles (both St Benedict’s College/ Point Fortin Academy), Darrel Garcia (St Benedict’s College/ Cox FA), Malachi Webb (St Benedict’s College/ Premier FC), Vaughn Clement (Presentation College, San F’do/ Cox FA), Raul Perreira (Presentation College, San F’do/ M12 Academy), Kade Collier, Seth Hadeed, Logan Maingot (all Fatima College/ QPCC), Nathan Quashie (QRC/ W Connection), Aydon Caruth (QRC/ Police FC), Tau Lamsee (QRC/ Pro Series), Elijah Hicks, Ezra Hicks (both FC Cincinnati—USA), Isaiah Dove (Maret Washington DC/ Bobcats Academy—USA), Rio Cardines (Crystal Palace—England), Armani Rowe (St Benedict’s Prep/ Cedar Stars—USA);

QRC captain Aydon Caruth (right) tries to hold off Chaguanas North midfielder Nikosi Foncette during SSFL Premier Division action at QRC grounds on 21 September 2022.
(Copyright Daniel Prentice/ Wired868)

Forwards: Lindell Sween (San Juan North Secondary), Michael Chaves (Fatima College/ QPCC), Andell Fraser (St Anthony’s College/ Trendsetter Hawks), Jordan Ferdinand (St Augustine Secondary/ San Juan Jabloteh), Tyrell Moore (McEachern High School/ Nashvile FC—USA), Jeremiah Cateau (Hillgrove High School/ Concorde Fire—USA), Matias La Motte (Skedsmo Skole—Norway), Brandon Dhanoolal (Irvington High School/ World Class Academy—USA),

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  1. Time is running out to February.
    I hope we can make it as we narrow down.

    • I think two practice games in early January and three in a two week spell before the tournament would be a big boost–at least in terms of squad selection and fine-tuning. That alone won’t compensate for the late start. But it would help.

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