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Star struck: Wired868 selects its Pro League players of the season

There were six trophies at stake in Trinidad and Tobago’s top flight this season but DIRECTV W Connection and Central FC were not into sharing. Connection grabbed four while Central pocketed the other two.

Photo: W Connection midfielder Joevin Jones (left) outfoxes San Juan Jabloteh defender Nyron Jones during a Pro League contest. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection midfielder Joevin Jones (left) outfoxes San Juan Jabloteh defender Nyron Jones during a Pro League contest.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Similarly, the two Couva-based clubs hogged much of the space in the second Wired868 All Star team.

Last week, Connection’s 19-year-old right back Alvin Jones picked up the Wired868 Young Player of the Year award, which comes with a courtesy dinner treat at Ruby Tuesday.

Let us examine Wired868’s picks for the top senior Pro League performer this season:

Goalkeeper: Jan-Michael Williams (Central FC)

Williams again stands out as much for his competence as for his leadership qualities and personality. Central could not have done it without him.

Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (centre) fires at goal while Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams takes guard. Looking on are Central players Rundell Winchester (left) and Yohance Marshall. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (centre) fires at goal while Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams takes guard.
Looking on are Central players Rundell Winchester (left) and Yohance Marshall.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Right back: Alvin Jones (W Connection)

His enthusiastic overlapping runs, booming right foot shot and tiger-ish defending were vital in Connection’s million dollar Pro League chase. He is one for the future; but he might be one for the present too.

Central defence: Daneil Cyrus (W Connection)

Cyrus had a troubled season with breaks for trials, personal grief with his ailing grandmom and a suspension for minor league football. He even skipped two international fixtures after missing a flight to Saudi Arabia.

When he does get on to the field, though, Cyrus is the best defender in the country and his departure to Vietnam is a loss to the Pro League.

Central defence: Andre Ettienne (Point Fortin Civic)

Photo: Big truck passing! Point Fortin Civic defender and captain Andre Ettienne (left) forces Defence Force midfielder Curtis Gonzales (centre) to take evasive action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Big truck passing!
Point Fortin Civic defender and captain Andre Ettienne (left) forces Defence Force midfielder Curtis Gonzales (centre) to take evasive action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

There were probably relieved sighs by strikers all over the country when Ettienne missed a few weeks of action this season. Fast, tall and aggressive, the Point Fortin defender is a throwback to no-nonsense defenders like Marvin Andrews and Dexter Francis; after 90 minutes with Ettienne, you know you were in a game.

Left back: Kurt Frederick (W Connection)

When Frederick pops up in the final third, you know you are in trouble; and he shows up there often. The swashbuckling St Lucian defender was almost unrivalled in his mastery of the left flank.

Midfield anchor: Gerard Williams (W Connection)

It is easier to destroy than create. All the same, Williams, a St Kitts and Nevis international, has turned destruction into an artform. His levels of consistency, stamina and tactical discipline were eye-catching and few playmakers in the local game are capable of getting the better of him.

Photo: W Connection captain Gerard Williams (right) tracks Central FC winger Jason Marcano during the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield final. Williams is the Wired868 Player of the Season. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection captain Gerard Williams (right) tracks Central FC winger Jason Marcano during the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield final.
Williams is the Wired868 Player of the Season.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Wired868 has selected Williams as its Player of the Year and popular restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, has agreed to reward him with a meal fit for a king.

Right midfield: Jason Marcano (Central FC)

In truth, there has been a shortage of proper wing play in the Pro League this season. Marcano gets in ahead of North East Stars’ Kennedy Hinkson for his crucial goals, earlier this year, that eventually helped Central to its first Caribbean Club Championship berth.

“Nelly” can be erratic; but he is a handful when he is on song.

Central midfield: Marvin Oliver (Central FC)

Photo: Veteran Central midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) hits the ground after a dread tackle from North East Stars ball winner Jeromie Williams. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)
Photo: Veteran Central midfielder Marvin Oliver (left) hits the ground after a dread tackle from North East Stars ball winner Jeromie Williams.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/ Wired868)

At 38, Oliver is old enough to be Alvin Jones’ father. He remains the “big daddy” of the Pro League though. Mister “Pass and Move” is invariably behind most of Central’s best attacking moves and he was as good as ever this year.

Left midfield: Joevin Jones (W Connection)

Joevin was as good as he was last season, which is saying something. And yet we feel he can be even better. He can pass, shoot, dribble and tackle; in short, he will be as good as he wants to be. So we hope he aims high.

Second striker: Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic)

Photo: Point Fortin Civic attacker Marcus Joseph prepares to unleash a free kick against Central FC. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Point Fortin Civic attacker Marcus Joseph prepares to unleash a free kick against Central FC.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Joseph has a good claim to have been the Pro League’s outstanding player this season. After a decent start in a variety of midfield roles, he came alive when pushed upfront alongside veteran Andre Toussaint.

He is a lively runner with a deceptive change of pace; but it is when he uncocks that left boot that you really sit up. Lionel Messi might have the most cultured left foot on the field when Trinidad and Tobago meets Argentina; but Marcus Joseph will have the most violent one.

Striker: Willis Plaza (Central FC)

Plaza caresses the ball as if he were wearing gloves on his feet; he can strike the ball with either boot and is as crafty as they come in the local game. At 26, he is nearing the peak of his powers and might be the bridge between the 29-year-old Kenwyne Jones and the 22-year-old Shahdon Winchester, who are the present and the future respectively.

Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (right) volleys to goal while Police FC defender Anton Hutchinson looks on. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Central FC striker Willis Plaza (right) volleys to goal while Police FC defender Anton Hutchinson looks on.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

It was not easy to select an XI and the following players have every right to be annoyed to have missed out a first team spot:

Cleon John (North East Stars): He is not the flashiest; but he rarely makes errors and organised the best defensive unit in the Pro League.

Joao Ananias (W Connection): The first Brazil first division player to participate in the Pro League and the right back offered a wonderful internship to Alvin Jones during his six-month loan spell.

Yohance Marshall (Central FC): An intelligent reader of the game and unflappable under pressure.

Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force): Combative, intelligent and ruthless; the Pro League’s answer to Roy Keane.

Photo Defence Force midfielder Curtis Gonzales (centre) advances alongside teammate Jerwyn Balthazar (right) while Caledonia AIA playmaker Densill Theobald looks distraught. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo Defence Force midfielder Curtis Gonzales (centre) advances alongside teammate Jerwyn Balthazar (right) while Caledonia AIA playmaker Densill Theobald looks distraught.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Kennedy Hinkson (North East Stars): He played everywhere but in goal and central defence and he excelled in every role he played.

Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA): His passing and leadership qualities are as valuable as ever and he even added a couple goals for good measure this season.

Akeem Redhead (Point Fortin Civic): We are not sure what the best role for this versatile, teenaged midfielder is yet; but we are pretty sure he is going places.

Josimar Belgrave (Defence Force): He was “Mister Clutch” for Defence Force near the finish line; a solid, unpretentious attacking midfielder with an eye for goal.

Photo: Defence Force midfielder Josimar Belgrave (centre) curls his shot around St Ann's Rangers defender Tevin Gilkes and into the far corner. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Defence Force midfielder Josimar Belgrave (centre) curls his shot around St Ann’s Rangers defender Tevin Gilkes and into the far corner.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Trevin Caesar (North East Stars): Probably the most dangerous striker in the Pro League; Caesar was a one-man wrecking crew with his pace, low centre of gravity and fierce shooting from around the opposing penalty box.

 

Editor’s Note: What Pro League players caught your eye? Let us know. Also click HERE for our Young Players of the Season and look out for our upcoming Photos of the Season!

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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14 comments

  1. Good to see we got some on the reserve unit at least they are not forgotten, like the team selected hope all players send around the article so we can get more involved in the league. Come on you guys all players and staff sent to all your friends.

  2. Agreed with most of the selections, would have like to see Adrian Foncette in the goalkeeping position though. He has been the standout player for Police this season and his presence in the national team camp is well deserved. With an out of shape Jan and an injured Phillip, Foncette is not that far away from being the country’s number one.

  3. It would be interesting to see Oliver play at that higher tempo. But he remains probably Trinidad and Tobago’s most crafty midfielder.

  4. Not surprised to see Marvin Oliver picked, was pretty impressed with his passing skills every time I saw him. Coach Hart still likes veterans in the national team, as shown by his constant selection of Theobald and recall of Carlos Edwards for the Argentina trip.

    Oliver to me wouldn’t look out of place next to Hylaand & Boucaud in the Soca Warriors mid-field, despite his age.

  5. Very strong team…and I think recognizing the players in whatever small way is always appreciated. .well done.

  6. Oooooo ok I actually take it back I thought wired868 was like affiliated to the tt pro league and this was like the official awards for the year. I do apologize! Currently living overseas so kinda out of the loop with the setup…. And I actually wouldn’t mind helping with something like this.. Once again apologies and kudos to Lasana liburd!

  7. I hear you and I agree however the Wired868 award is totally independent of the league, i think instead we should applaud people like Lasana Liburd for making an effort to recognise the players independently

  8. True and as a football lover I actually wouldn’t mind doing something like that but my point is this is the professional league of Trinidad and Tobago. Rewarding players for going above and beyond in this manner doesn’t look good. If this is the incentive for working extra hard then idk.. Just my opinion btw….

  9. No problem Leonardo Reyes. The TT Pro League will do something much bigger. And Earl Mango Pierre also made a very generous award to the top scorer.
    I just wanted to offer a token of appreciation too for the Wired868 MVPs. I’m happy that Ruby Tuesday agreed on such short notice and maybe we can do something bigger and better next season.

  10. I dont see you contributing to the prize leonardo?

  11. True but ruby Tuesday meals? Come on man…

  12. R.Walcott

    Winchester definitely caught the eye.