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Jan-Michael summoned to strengthen U-20s for Guadeloupe friendly

2012 Caribbean Cup captain and Central FC goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams will be one of five over-aged players in action with the Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 squad from 4 pm on Saturday when the teenaged “Soca Warriors” faces the Guadeloupe senior team in a friendly match at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago.

Photo: Central FC and Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams established himself as one of CONCACAF's top goalkeepers in 2013. (Courtesy Mysanantonio.com)
Photo: Central FC and Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams established himself as one of CONCACAF’s top goalkeepers in 2013.
(Courtesy Mysanantonio.com)

Williams, who was on a shortlist of CONCACAF’s top ten goalkeepers for 2013, will help strengthen the team for a Guadeloupe assignment that was initially scheduled with the senior team in mind.

After being invited for a senior international clash, Guadeloupe was asked to play the Trinidad and Tobago under-20 squad instead as the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) due to the complex financial issues in summoning the senior players.

However, the national under-20 team, which is led by head coach Derek King, must share playing time with five footballers who are ineligible to line up alongside them when the Under-20 Caribbean Championship kicks off from September 12 in Trinidad.

Along with Williams, King selected Central FC midfielder Leston Paul, Mid-Continent University striker Keegan Bacchus and the DIRECTV W Connection pair of defender Mekeil Williams and midfielder Keron Boucher.

“We are bringing Jan in because of his experience,” said King, who is also assistant coach for the senior national team. “The number one goalkeeper (from when this team was competing at under-17 level) Johan Welch will be coming in late because of school (in the United States). He will be joining the squad on the eighth of September.

“Jan, with his wealth of experience and leadership, will help assist our young goalkeepers in the training sessions and so on. So, I think he will be a plus.”

King declined comment on the decision to use over-aged players in the first place, especially so soon to the under-17 competition.

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 winer Akeem Garcia and his teammates have a meeting during an under-20 training session. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national under-17 winer Akeem Garcia and his teammates have a meeting during an under-20 training session.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

There was the suggestion, from a source who preferred to remain anonymous, that the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), which is footing the bill for the friendly, was displeased with the switch from an advertised senior Warriors team. The five drafted players were allegedly considered as a compromise.

Boucher, who recently joined Connection, is one of the Tobago’s brightest talents and a hot prospect for the 2014/15 Pro League season. Head coach Stephen Hart, who is assisting the under-20 squad, also had a hand in call-ups for Bacchus, a former Vessigny schoolboy, and the 24-year-old Paul, who captained Trinidad and Tobago in two FIFA World Youth cups but is uncapped at senior level.

They will reinforce a youth team that includes Central teenagers Levi Garcia and Nicholas Dillon, St Ann’s Rangers attacker Kadeem Corbin, Guaya United right back Marcus Ramkhelewan, United States-based midfielder Andre Fortune and new Connection recruits Akeem Garcia and Shannon Gomez.

The young Warriors are without former national under-17 captain and midfielder Brendon Creed and defender Leland Archer who left for scholarships in the United States while former free-scoring striker Brent Sam failed to keep his place after concerns about his work ethic.

King said the pre-tournament preparation has been good and the team produced decent results in friendly games against Super League and Pro League opposition.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Levi Garcia (right) takes on a Costa Rican opponent during the 2013 Under-17 CONCACAF tournament. (Courtesy CONCACAF.com)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Levi Garcia (right) takes on a Costa Rican opponent during the 2013 Under-17 CONCACAF tournament.
(Courtesy CONCACAF.com)

“There is a good mixture of players who are eager and the vibes in the camp is nice,” said King. “We are stressing on them that this is the future of Trinidad football. They have to perform and qualify for us to help get sponsors on board for not just the under-20s but also the seniors.

“Personally, I feel it is a good bunch. There are some mature players for their age and they are picking up quickly and are willing to work.”

King admitted that the under-20 team is short on talent from Tobago as the technical staff was never able to hold screenings there. He explained that he and assistant Dale Saunders tried to arrange sessions in Tobago but, due to late bookings, flights were unavailable while efforts to have handpicked players sent to train with the squad in Trinidad did not bear fruit.

The national under-20 squad leaves for Tobago on Friday and there might be insufficient time to look for new talent. However, King hopes the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is able to keep the team in the sister isle until at least Monday so they can screen eligible Tobagonians.

Trinidad and Tobago squad to face Guadeloupe:

Goalkeepers: Jan-Michael Williams*, Javon Sample (both Central FC), Akeem Awong (W Connection);

Defenders: Josiah Trimmingham (San Juan Jabloteh), Martieon Watson, Shannon Gomez, Maurice Ford, Mekeil Williams* (all W Connection), Marcus Ramkhelawan (Guaya Utd);

Midfielders: Neveal Hackshaw (North East Stars), Kevon Goddard, Leston Paul*, Levi Garcia (all Central FC), Kishun Seecharan (Defence Force), Andre Fortune (Unattached), Matthew Woo Ling, Jabari Mitchell, Keron Boucher*, Akeem Garcia (all W Connection), Aikim Andrews (San Juan Jabloteh), Keon Joseph (North East Stars), Akeem Humphrey (Club Sando);

Forwards: Kadeem Corbin (St Ann’s Rangers), Nicholas Dillon (Central FC), Jamoul Francois (North East Stars), Keegan Bacchus* (Unattached).

About Lasana 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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35 comments

  1. Nina Cruickshank, your son might be very good. The problem is the national team does not have much time to prepare and blood its players and that means the coaches would be tempted to go with players who already have the experience.
    One goalie, Javon Sample, played pro with Central last year. The other, Johan Welsh, was the first choice at U-17 level.
    I think it is a situation that was stacked against your son. He should not let himself get too discouraged. There are many players who didn’t play much national youth football but were diamonds at adult level. Kerwin Jemmott and Dennis Lawrence come to mind.

  2. Nina Cruickshank can he look to play overseas in college? He can try to get a degree while playing football

  3. I do not know about the football system but my son Christian Attong (19 years) was relisted and not chosen, maybe he is not good enough but I think he has skills and could be developed. There is no training school for Goal keepers, you join a club and hope there is some God father who will push you to be recognized. Now my son while he love the sport is losing interest. Guess this was not to be, to me he had a great intercol session representing CIC as their goal keeper in the last school intercol. To me our country is not ready for professional football. If a few get through we feel proud but our Country have so much talented boys that can be developed, and if our past stars can give back and pull out the talents, we may move from a few to many. I have no money to pay anyone and neither have any god parents in the football arena. So goodbye to football for my son. Guess his talents and skill is not enough for him to move forward in football.

  4. That’s true Kester. Good idea.

  5. It is a bit of both Kester. When you play loads of games against players as good as you or better, you improve. I know one thing that existed in the past was zonal teams.
    You made your zonal team and then your national team. So players were always being grouped off into special squads to play with their best colleagues and then being challenged to progress even further.
    That would make it easier to find talent too. Because each zone already assembles its best 20 players.
    I think the higher calibre of youth competition in the past and the fact that youth teams competed with seniors. And talented youths had several rungs before getting a national shirt. All those things probably contributed.

  6. @ Prince Borde, colleges league only inherited good players and provided a conduit to showcase their talents. The players you mentioned would have come out of some environment that got them to where they were. Russel, Marvin, Clint, Rock were out of Jean Lillywhite, Dwight, Puny Davidson, Colvin Hutchinson were from the St, Clair CS, the others would have had their beginnings with some youth program. Colleges football did not produce them.

  7. So doesn’t the above make out a good case for the present Board of the TTFA to be fired pronto and replace them with visionaries and a sense of direction as to where we see ourselves as a footballing nation in the future?

  8. So I’m at a Super league meeting couple months ago and the FC Santa Rosa coach is insisting (‘gangstering’ might be the appropriate adjective) the NSL introduce a U16 league for its teams. Yes another U16 league. Even after I insisted that my team will not participate (can’t too) and suggested that if NSL teams wanted to play they could every 2 or 3 months invite 4 or 5 teams to their venues and do a tournament type thing. 4 or 5 games every 2 months is is 24 or 30 games a year. But the essential technical development is what would be done during the rest of the time. This was not considered and they have decided to move ahead with theu U16 league with only the teams without some teams.

  9. Lasana, in the past there was no pro league and super league and reserve league and pro league u14, u16 and u18 but there was the Latapys, Faustin, Marcelles, Leo, Sterns, Ancils, Flashs, Anguses and the ones before them just too many to mention. Did they all happen by guess or was that a result of systematic approach that enabled them?

  10. I agree, i was a product of the the thing. Had to 1st achieve the honor of being called to the east team then to NT. I think what I’m trying to say even with that system the players would have come out of a program or team somewhere. Can we not investigate what, where etc the players mentioned in the trailing post originated? WHat we’ve been doing over the last 10 to 15 years has not worked out too good for us. And even though we can blame bad administrators for many things, they’re aren’t responsible for producing the players and from what we’ve seen there is a shortage of quality.

  11. Prince Borde I don’t know for sure whether the schools football is worse off. I might do so some schools football this season.
    But I know players started adult football between 14 and 17 just over a decade ago. Now they start between 19 and 22.
    Alvin Jones is a top prospect. But he is 20 and only has one full senior season under his belt.
    Our players are not developing quickly enough for the outside world where players join senior teams at 16.

  12. Cheyenne Hector, Jan can train with team without playing. There are two goalkeepers with the squad who might have been able to get 45 minutes each.
    Clearly the dynamics behind this are complex. It might be that the move was not made by the technical staff at all.
    It is unfortunate because this is the only international friendly the boys have before the competition starts.

  13. Joan, things so bad they might have ended up in a kayak.

  14. Do we have a strong coaching system to develop the youths, I have seen some good players just got shortlisted after a trial, and I am sure if some efforts were placed in development, not just picking from a bunch and shortlisting, we might see a great team being developed from young. Can someone list the school of football development in Trinidad and Tobago, as compared to the European school of football development.

  15. Why do we continue to behave as though Tobago is in Mars and not a twenty minute flight away? Have they never heard about hiring a light aeroplane if they cannot get a commercial flight?

  16. What about the striker from Speyside Secondary who blew up Chaguanas North Sec last year in Tobago?? What about St Augustine Sec striker who blew up the SSFL league 2013?? The youths are doing their part where are the national coaches??

  17. Levi Garcia on the national U-20 is 16, with the right guidance he can play anywhere in the world, he is big strong talented, missed U-17 by a month I think.

  18. So the next time the national team plays (and given the selection logic) we will expect to see the return of Clayton Morris etc?

  19. So this going down as an international cap for Paul, both Williams and co. ? Total disarray but let’s go again. I am not going to post my views on the seniors in the “U-20” team.

  20. Great opportunity for the U20 keepers to train with the Starting senior goalkeeper and learn from his experience. I know Sample does it already but the other goalkeeper, Awong will benefit too. Also not only the keepers but the entire squad can learn from the training habits of a senior team regular, especially Jan as he is a natural leader.

    You could look at it that way… The other 4 players are relatively young and maybe on the fringes of the senior team, good time for Hart to have a look at them and see their training habits and how the adapt to a challenge of becoming leaders for the u20 group ?

    Positive Perspective could make it all look so different.

  21. In fact, if I had to draft in players I would have drafted in the five top Under 17s.

  22. Never followed football at that level especially as things change with players so young. If you have information to add this convo as to why the present crop of players who are in the college league have not done the same as the past players mentioned…… who make a gr8 contribution to our National team well I’m all ears.

  23. I am giving you 24 hrs to check your facts on jnr national teams and their upward mobility to snr teams!! Only then will I tell you why jnrs are not making to snr teams!!

  24. Eh they came from the college league bro and stepped up to the National team.

  25. Wrong!! check your facts Dwight was 10 yrs old when he made his first national team , Russel was 11 yrs old both were in primary school, don’t believe me check it yourself!!

  26. Dwight Signal Hill – Marlon Belmont Sec – Hutson Mucurapo should I go on?

  27. I continue to have a serious problem when Tobago is left out of the national conversation for any sport!!

  28. Brian Dwight, Hutson, Marlon, Marvin, Russel, Which school were they playing for when they made their first national team??

  29. Not many that I know but I am not down there

  30. We had for sometime a very vibrant college league and we turned out players such as Dwight Yorke, Hutson “Baba” Charles, Marlon Morris, Marvin Faustin, Russell Latapy. How many young players do we see now making that step up?

  31. Prince the talent pool seems to be shrinking. I bet no one including you or Lasana can point out any of our young players who would be able to make it in the EPL…..

  32. Why? Is this so we win at all cost?

  33. Really sickening to read this cant get any worse under this administration