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Ex-TTFA coach ponders youth football return despite schoolboy scandal

Terrence Marcelle, a former Pleasantville Secondary and Trinidad and Tobago national youth team football coach, has a passion for developing youths and the qualifications to place him in the top echelons of local coaches in that field.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team coach Terrence Marcelle coached at Pleasantville Secondary for 18 years.
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team coach Terrence Marcelle coached at Pleasantville Secondary for 18 years.

However, Marcelle’s past indiscretion with a schoolboy is threatening to derail his effort to return to youth team coaching in south Trinidad.

Five months ago, Marcelle was removed from his posts at Pleasantville and the Trinidad and Tobago national under-15 boys team after explicit messages emerged of an alleged exchange between him and a Pleasantville school boy. In the chat, relayed to Wired868 by an anonymous source, Marcelle supposedly told the student that he wants to show him a shot of penis despite the latter’s objection.

Undeterred, the 38-year-old coach appeared to eventually send the boy the image of an erect penis. Wired868 could not confirm the age of the student.

Marcelle admitted that he had an “inappropriate” exchange with the schoolboy; although he did not take responsibility for all the messages.

Photo: One of the messages allegedly sent by former Pleasantville coach Terrence Marcelle.
Photo: One of the messages allegedly sent by former Pleasantville coach Terrence Marcelle.

“That was not my picture,” he told Wired868, about the sexual image. “The picture was a trap because I alone don’t use my account.”

So who else uses his account?

“There are times when I use the cyber café and forgot to lock off,” said Marcelle.

So did he send the image?

“The picture was sent,” said Marcelle. “Sometimes you send something and it ends up in the wrong message and you say ‘sorry’… But parts of the chat were doctored…

“I have done what I had to do and I leave the rest in God’s hands.”

Marcelle claimed to be a regular at the San Fernando Open Bible Church and said he received counselling from elders at the church regarding the incident. He insisted that it was a “one-off.”

Photo: Terrence Marcelle lost his role as Pleasantville Secondary coach after the revelation of inappropriate messages with a student.
Photo: Terrence Marcelle lost his role as Pleasantville Secondary coach after the revelation of inappropriate messages with a student.

Marcelle’s two former employers, Pleasantville Secondary and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), differed widely in their recollection of his departure.

Pleasantville football team manager and teacher Jillian Huggins insisted she never received any official complaint about Marcelle, who coached at the school since he was 20 years old.

“Under my watch as far, as I am concerned, he hasn’t given Pleasantville what we were looking for,” said Huggins. “His performance just wasn’t as impressive as it should be (and) I told my principal I think we should get someone better to bring the team where it should be.”

TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee might disagree with Huggins’ assessment of Marcelle’s coaching value. Two months before Pleasantville sacked its coach, the TTFA selected him on a shortlist of three locals to represent the country at a CONCACAF D License course in Aruba.

Marcelle’s list of coaching qualifications includes two CONCACAF high level certificates, an England FA license, diplomas from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) and Ministry of Sport and Sports Psychology I and II certificates from the WITCO Sports Foundation.

Photo: Former national youth team coach Terrence Marcelle.
Photo: Former national youth team coach Terrence Marcelle.

Pleasantville principal Phillip Allard refused to say anything at all and was unmoved when asked if his school had any responsibility to alert the wider public about the reason behind Marcelle’s removal.

“I have no comment,” said Allard. “Talk to Mr Marcelle. I suggest very strongly that you do that.”

Shawn Cooper, the national under-15 head coach, was more forthright.

He confirmed that his staff was alerted to the contents of Marcelle’s email and the national team manager and another assistant coach raised it with him. Cooper did not trust his diplomatic restraint enough to be a part of that conversation.

“I am a parent and if I had that information on a coach with my son, I don’t know if I could keep sane,” Cooper told Wired868. “They are in a vulnerable position. The coach dictates if you play or not and he can try to solicit certain behaviour from you…

“This is the modern world now with same sex marriage and, if that is someone’s preference, it is not my business. But not with children.”

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team poses before a pre-tournament tour in 2013. Shawn Cooper was head coach of the youth team while Terrence Marcelle was an assistant. (Courtesy TTFF Media)
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team poses before a pre-tournament tour in 2013.
Shawn Cooper was head coach of the youth team while Terrence Marcelle was an assistant.
(Courtesy TTFF Media)

TTFA technical director Anton Corneal sought and received support from general secretary Sheldon Phillips to have Marcelle suspended immediately.

“Youth team coaches have to always remember that they are role models on and off the field,” said Corneal. “And if they cannot carry themselves as role models then this is not the profession for them… We have parents trusting us as coaches and we have to be able to fulfil that.”

But what happens to Marcelle and his professional ambitions now?

Cooper said Marcelle was very passionate about his job and contributed a lot to his community. But he stopped short of recommending a future role for Marcelle with minors.

“In sport, there is no support group for things like that here in the way that there is ‘Vision on mission’ for prisoners,” said Cooper, who is an estate corporal at RBC. “He made a big error but we have to be willing to forgive—not forget—and convince him not to make that error again.

“Personally, I think he probably should not be involved in coaching youths again until we can feel certain that it will not happen again.”

Photo: Ex-Pleasantville coach Terrence Marcelle claimed that some of the explicit messages might not have been sent by him.
Photo: Ex-Pleasantville coach Terrence Marcelle claimed that some of the explicit messages might not have been sent by him.

After his disgraceful exits from Pleasantville and the TTFA, Marcelle, who works in a sport store, said he initially restricted himself to helping colleagues draw up developmental programmes for youth players who were trying to get football scholarships in the United States.

He said he also accepted a request to help with a youth football tournament that will be held in San Fernando during Easter holidays.

However, Marcelle told Wired868 that he is considering a return to active youth team coaching too.

“I won’t rule out coaching (boys) below 18 at this point in time,” said Marcelle. “I have my expertise in youth development and, despite the situation, a lot of people have come to me and I am not the type of person to neglect anyone from the knowledge that I have acquired over the years.”

Marcelle countered that anyone who feels he should not coach minors does not understand God’s word.

“My passion is developing players; that is my calling,” said Marcelle. “If God has a vision for someone, He will want them to continue that vision.

“Life is progressive. If people are non-believers and don’t know the word of God (about forgiveness), they will say that person shouldn’t do that again.”

Cooper sympathised with Marcelle but wondered if he could ever regain the trust necessary to handle children.

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team failed to get past the CONCACAF stage of its  World Cup campaign. It might be the last national youth team that Terrence Marcelle gets to take to a tournament.
Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 team failed to get past the CONCACAF stage of its World Cup campaign.
It might be the last national youth team that Terrence Marcelle gets to take to a tournament.

“I would never want to make a decision like that on somebody’s career, especially an individual like that who so loves that job,” said Cooper. “But, in my own judgment, we will have to find out that he will not be a repeat offender; and I don’t know how that is possible unless you are a mind reader.

“There were never any complaints about Marcelle in his six years as a national coach but then some people are good at spotting the vulnerable ones. There is an old saying that monkey knows what tree to climb.”

For now, Marcelle, whose punishment did not extend beyond his dismissals from Pleasantville and the TTFA, aims to climb back into the technical area at youth level. The jury is out as to whether he should be re-admitted.

 

Editor’s Note: Victims of abuse of persons with knowledge of abuse should call Childline at 800-4321.

On another note, the T&T Police began work on a sexual offenders list two years ago. But the Police stated that list will not be available to the public. (Click HERE to read)

Scroll down and tell us whether or not you support Terrence Marcelle’s return to youth team coaching and why. Obscene and libellous comments will not be permitted.

AboutLasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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93 comments

  1. I may have commented on this before but it keeps coming up on my feed. Sport is among the most wonderful things in the world but it can also be a place where very bad things happen. My organization did a research in the Caribbean that showed that more that 90% of people involved in sport were aware of some type of abuse in the sport environment. Whether it be verbal, physical, sexual or otherwise.
    We cannot afford to chance other children having negative life altering situations that have occured with this gentleman and other children he would have molested. There is no room for that and we must take a clear stand to protect our children.

    • Hannibal Najjar

      Very succinct and to the point Andre Collins! Please however, and I know you understand this, let us not also incorporate some the super-sensitivities that are used in the US and Canada to make us “caged up” in the Caribbean when appropriate-to-age coaching styles are employed to hasten attention and much-needed action from athletes. We cross the road differently in the Caribbean, drive differently, talk and listen differently, lime differently, reference people differently, and so forth. We even cuss out someone and their response oftentimes can be an appreciative, “thanks”. I pray that we do not adopt carte-blanche, all the eccentricities of the US.

  2. Hannibal Najjar

    What I meant in my closing line, “…… it would be interesting to see if he tries a comeback we can see if any parents would even choose him as an option, and if they so choose, then he shall have his way!” is, let crazy lead crazao!

  3. Hannibal Najjar

    I would like to comment on this more but only choose to say, ensure that he does nothing of the sort in T&T. Then, it would be interesting to see if he tries a comeback we can see if any parents would even choose him as an option, and if they so choose, then he shall have his way!

  4. this guy should be ban from coaching FULL STOP

  5. If the association want to give him back a coaching job and he wants to get back on the coaching wagon they should place hlm around the senior team where if decides to make any uncomfortable advances towards a player or staff they could floor him with an upper cut

  6. My question is why was he not charged if he was not charged for the offence and found guilty then why should he not be allowed to start back coaching, if he was not found guilty then they a just allegations.

  7. Don’t think people like this could even be trusted with animals much less for kids. Permanent ban from interacting with kids

  8. Hannibal Najjar

    We still going “orn and orn” about this matter! If this is for real, he ciant geh no job… NOWHERE! Well… a betta hush meh mouth!

  9. This should of definitely be investigated properly, and said coach should be banned from interacting with kids, he definitely cannot be trusted.

  10. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my boy or girl child with him around any team

  11. I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my boy or girl child with him around any team

  12. Allegations? Then what is it he is receiving counselling for? Am I missing something here? He seems to be a fricking predator. Whether or not he has a homosexual lifestyle is none of my business but if he is attempting to have sex with underaged boys or “tracking those little boys” in his club he needs to have NO CONTACT with kids. Whether or not he is the best coach in the world or really works hard and gives his all is not the issue. If ALL of this is fabricated then he needs to come out(no pun intended) and clear his name!

  13. Lasana Liburd the funny thing is- is not now he been accused of that eh

  14. Not if the allegations were proven to be true.

  15. Tee Zano Nathan BabyPong’ Harte ent we now play this side lol

  16. If he made the same advances on School girls, would he be considered? I say no, doesnt seem to have the maturity or responsible nature to curb himself…keep him away from our youths, male or female. Councilling is what he needs…

  17. Pedophilia ~ (in psychiatry) a psychosexual disorder in which the fantasy or act of engaging in sexual activity with prepubertal children is the preferred or exclusive means of achieving sexual excitement and gratification. It may be heterosexual or homosexual. Also spelledpaedophilia. Also called pederosis. See also paraphilia.pedophilic, adj. (Online Medical Journal)
    This coach can’t quote god and go back training kids. Obviously this has to reach the proper authorities. Instead of writing about it on Facebook someone should have already intervened. He needs help AND we’re culpable for endangering those kids he comes into contact with.
    It’s like putting a shark in water with people bleeding and telling him I trust you not to bite them. Wow.

  18. Brian, this is where I’ll be backing out.

  19. I am not judging him because of his sexual preference. Far from it. I am concerned about school children, particularly and young kids in general, on whom he may prey.
    Exploiting power relations is the issue whether the exploiter is gay or heterosexual. These types of abuse lead to confusion and trauma, which without therapy, can become lifelong challenges.

    Bear in mind, young kids also experiment…boys and girls, with same sex relations — a wholly different aspect.

    What happens between consenting adults is none of my business.

  20. Jerry Sandusky. Asst. coach. Penn State. Sentenced September 9 2012. 30- 60 years. Guilty of child molestation .

  21. You are wasting your time Brian.

  22. Not a low blow Brian – it is what it is. Every law seems to have loosened if not lessened. Be real about it – what has not loosened?

  23. I was watching the screenshots of the alleged text ….jesus put ah hand …… real sick ….. he best stay away because somebody father will put him in the hospital …..

  24. Go and coach men, do not like his insistence on coaching youths

  25. I dont think the white house laws have lessened criminal penalties on pedophilia or child porn.. Seems like a low blow against the White House

  26. Ride out into the sunset any further contribution from this clown is most unwelcome. Return ??? I think NOT.

  27. Would you give an alcoholic a drink? HELL NO

  28. There was no problem at all Chabeth Haynes. I just made my view. I was not able to confirm at the time of writing.
    After I completed the story, there were people who wanted to come forward and reveal more. I think somewhere in between there I realised the boy had just crossed the legal age.
    I spoke to another boy over the phone who quit the team because of improper advances. Poor fellahs just want to play football for their school and are being put under pressure to do it.
    And they felt that boys who were more open to the coach got into the team while others didn’t. Of course this is alleged now.

  29. The article said the age of the boy could not be confirmed so I asked because I did not know.
    The age of consent is 16 so there is a big difference legally between if someone has sex with a 15 year old and a 16 year old. People’s sense of morality determines for them whether it is right for an adult to sleep with a16 year old. But the law is the law. So if a grown man wants to sleep with a 16 year old, regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl, then the law sees nothing wrong with that. However, if a society wants to cast more stern judgement on a man because he sleeps with a boy than a girl, then what does that say about said society?
    It is never right for people in positions of power to exploit that power but I agree it is worse when the exploited party is a child.
    There will always be a problem getting witnesses to come forward in societies where sexual crimes remain taboo, people question the veracity of victim’s stories, and victims are sometimes forced to question how much blame they are to shoulder for the crime.
    But Lasana, I’m really not battling with you on this issue because I’m pretty sure we agree. I just asked questions because I did not know the answers. Not sure what the problem with that is…lol.

  30. Nothing seems to be unacceptable anymore David Austin (by the way, long time no see or hear). He could coach in the US if he wishes… the current administration’s pontificates and policies and practices, would suggest that he could find a job there – the lights on the White House can shine on him.

  31. Chandani Boodoo, different eras where Earl is concerned. You are perfectly correct Chandani.

  32. If Terrence Marcelle was coaching a girls team, would it have been okay? The answer to that is still no.
    The boy in question here was 15 or 16 so he was not a minor in terms of sexual content.
    But Marcelle was in a position of power and exploited it. And the boy said “no” and that was not respected.
    There were many other players who wanted to come forward and talk of advances towards them and inappropriate behavior.
    But, as happens, they never did in the end.

  33. I have an issue with his insistence on coaching youth players, you’re a coach, why not older boys? Why pigeon hole yourself in youth football ?. Come on, move on , go teach some men.

  34. A state Kids safe. If you have been involved in any unacceptable behavior you cannot coach and be around kids.

  35. As a coach you’re required to do a US club background check and do

  36. There’s a difference between homosexuality and pedophilia… Please let’s not conflate the two.
    Is there any indication that this happened with any of his other players?
    And we need to know how old this particular boy was at the time of this incident. How old the player was when these advances started…

  37. Given his history I’m not sure I’m liking his passion, “the youth.”

  38. I think it is vitally important to restate the fact that this has absolutely nothing to do with this man’s sexual orientation. His behaviour is clearly inappropriate, unacceptable and criminal. The fact that he not only escaped prosecution and any form of sanction but continues to have contact with children points is as I stated early not surprising. In the absence of the institutions and individuals exercising oversight, we have to do so ourselves. They are the ones who have a duty of care but they clearly don’t care unless they’re after our votes or stealing money from the public purse. His religiosity is not in question here. It’s immaterial, a red herring, he is a troubled and troubling individual. He has a sexual interest in yoing boys! This has to be clearly stated because it is obvious that that message is being missed! Lasana thanks for highlighting this. I am normally very cautious about the claims made on FB, the innocent are often wrongly accused but this time it’s different. Does anyone know what can practically be done about this situation? One step is to disseminate this information, spread it far and wide but that’s still limited and doesn’t address the problem. All he has to do is shift location, move, to escape sanction. This is so unbelievable frustrating, the only saving grace is that I don’t know him personally, then I would have been forced to do something. How absolutely frustrating and how T&T, to a T!