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Look Loy: Schools football is hurting the Soca Warriors

“When we have boys who should be fighting for a place in W Connection or Central’s first team at 17, 18 and 19 choosing to play schools football,” said CONCACAF technical study group member and FC Santa Rosa coach Keith Look Loy, “where they can do what they want and where they keep all their bad habits and still be stars. It is a joke.”

Photo: San Juan North's Josiah Trimmingham (centre) is tackled by St Anthony's College defender Isaiah McIntyre while St Anthony's captain Mawasi Charles (far right) and San Juan captain Brent Sam (far left) look on in SSFL Big Four action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: San Juan North’s Josiah Trimmingham (centre) is tackled by St Anthony’s College defender Isaiah McIntyre while St Anthony’s captain Mawasi Charles (far right) and San Juan captain Brent Sam (far left) look on in SSFL Big Four action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Look Loy, a former national player and coach at youth and senior level, covered the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Jamaica alongside Wired868 and offered his insight on the tournament in general and Trinidad and Tobago’s showing in particular.

The following is the second in a three-part interview that touches on the performance of the teenaged “Soca Warriors” but also discusses the merits of the local school and professional game, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association’s (TTFA) responsibility to football development, exactly what fans should expect in the short and long-term future and a CONCACAF model for success:


Wired868: The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team leaves for CONCACAF battle next week. What should fans brace themselves for after their disappointment with the under-prepared Under-20 Team?

Keith Look Loy: This Under-17 team is also unprepared and I won’t say I don’t expect much from them but I am saying if they come home after the group stage it won’t surprise me. No doubt they have talent and I have a player too in that team (FC Santa Rosa midfielder John-Paul Rochford) who is 14 years old. But when we look at the best players in these tournaments, we are sending schoolboys to play and they are sending professional players.

Photo: United States striker Romain Gall scored five times during the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship. Gall gave up a scholarship at the University of Maryland to play with the FC Lorient reserves in France before joining MLS team Columbus Crew. (Courtesy CONCACAF)
Photo: United States striker Romain Gall scored five times during the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
Gall gave up a scholarship at the University of Maryland to play with the FC Lorient reserves in France before joining MLS team Columbus Crew.
(Courtesy CONCACAF)

Yes, they may not be all be professional players who are starting in first division teams although some of them are. (The Mexico Under-20 team had two first team players in Liga MX and the United States had a starter who got extensive playing time in the England Championship).

But we are doing the reverse. (Our Pro League is) already at a lower level than the clubs I am talking about and they are electing to leave that and go and play schools football. This is a joke.


Wired868: What role do you see the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) playing in the local game?

(Look Loy is a former national title winning coach with Malick Senior Comprehensive).

Look Loy: There was a time when the colleges’ league, which transformed to become the secondary schools league, played a very important role. I played for St Mary’s College in the 1960s and early 70s. It played a role because there was no organised youth football in Trinidad and Tobago at the time. You couldn’t find the youth football that exists today. A lot of the youth football today remains disorganised but at least it exists. There was nothing then. The only organised youth football was the colleges’ league…

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) defender Kori Cupid (right) tries to keep up with Shiva Boys HC and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 attacker Levi Garcia in SSFL Premier Division action. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) defender Kori Cupid (right) tries to keep up with Shiva Boys HC and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 attacker Levi Garcia in SSFL Premier Division action.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Today, the secondary schools league is an obstacle to the best youth talent in Trinidad and Tobago. The standard is low regardless of what the media might write. You know it and I know it and anyone who goes to the game knows it.

When we have boys who should be fighting for a place in W Connection or Central’s first team at 17, 18 and 19 choosing to play schools football where they can do what they want and where they keep all their bad habits and still be stars. It is a joke. We saw how Levi Garcia looked (in the CONCACAF Under-20 tournament). He was terrible. He had no impact on the tournament at all. He couldn’t even hold a first place team.

He was lucky to have been seen here (in the Caribbean cup) and get a contract because if he had been judged on the CONCACAF tournament in Jamaica he wasn’t getting a contract. Tell me I’m wrong. For a player like that what does it do for your football development to play against schoolboys…

And I know the political pressure (student footballers) are put under by school principals and what not. But a boy doesn’t pass his exam and enter school at form one to play football, he enters as a student. I think it is absolutely incorrect for some principals and coaches to tell students we wouldn’t let you repeat or we wouldn’t give you a form six place unless you represent the school. They don’t have the boy’s best interest at heart. Because that boy should be allowed to come to school and do his school work but play in the environment that does the most for his future prospects as a player.

Photo: W Connection and Trinidad and Tobago national under-20 winger Akeem Garcia (right) takes on WASA FC captain Akil Harley in 2014 Toyota Classic action. (Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 winger Akeem Garcia (right) takes on WASA FC captain Akil Harley in 2014 Toyota Classic action.
(Courtesy Sinead Peters/Wired868)

Wired868: So you think the schoolboys’ league has outlived its benefits?

Look Loy: I will tell you a story. In 1992, I went to Brazil for two months to do a course at the Brazilian football academy and (Sebastião) Lazaroni was one of the instructors in that programme. And one day we were talking outside the formal context of class and I asked him tell me about school football in Brazil and he said what do you mean. And I said football among schools. And he said ‘I don’t understand.’

I said when the schools have a representative team and they play a league against other each other. And he said: ‘Oh, okay. But that is for the boys who don’t have talent. Any boy in school who has talent is in a club.’

If we are serious, we have to get past the emotional attachment we have with school football for developing boys. Let the boys who cannot get in a team play for their schools… For the best talent, playing school football is a waste of time.

Photo: St Anthony's College playmaker Matthew Woo Ling (centre) looks for space between San Juan North players Hakeem Wilson (right) and Josiah Trimmingham (partially hidden) during a SSFL Big Four match. Looking on is St Anthony's College midfielder Jules Lee (far left). (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: St Anthony’s College playmaker Matthew Woo Ling (centre) looks for space between San Juan North players Hakeem Wilson (right) and Josiah Trimmingham (partially hidden) during a SSFL Big Four match.
Looking on is St Anthony’s College midfielder Jules Lee (far left).
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Wired868: The stated mission of the SSFL’s Premier Division is to create a more concentrated pool of talent. Do you think that would lift the standard of the schoolboys’ game?

Look Loy: I don’t buy that. It will ensure that there will be promotion and relegation and teams will fight for that. So it will have the best teams in the top division, which is quite apart from the best talent.

There is no guarantee that the good players from Chaguanas when they are demoted will all transfer to St Benedict’s College. (Those players) will be forced to play second division football. But that hypothetical boy doesn’t need to be playing in a second division league with Pleasantville. He should be fighting for a place with Connection or Club Sando or whatever and be in a tougher environment for his football development. That is when Trinidad and Tobago football will go to a top level.

‘Gally’ Cummings and them were not playing for Fatima College beyond 14 or 15 years old. Ask them. They were not playing school football. In the football world, that is for boys who cannot make a good club team.

Photo: Naparima College midfielder and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team defender Martieon Watson (right) advances with the ball while St Anthony's College midfielder Shakeem Patrick looks on during the SSFL Big Four competition. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College midfielder and Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team defender Martieon Watson (right) advances with the ball while St Anthony’s College midfielder Shakeem Patrick looks on during the SSFL Big Four competition.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

But we have to ensure that the clubs are structured and provide a proper environment and the TTFA has to introduce requirements for clubs depending on its level to ensure that if a boy says he is not playing for St Mary’s College (and) he is going to play for Maple, there is an environment there that is proper to ensure his football development.


Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read part three of the Wired868 interview with Keith Look Loy on Wednesday in which he discusses the foreseeable future of the “Soca Warriors” and suggests a model worth following to revive the football fortunes of the two island republic.

Click HERE to read Part One of our three-part series when Look Loy opined on the recent performances of the National Under-20 Team.

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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  1. Lasana I was saying the same thing years ago in conversations about football. And that was before we had a professional league. Schools football while it has history and sentiment it is not a place that will prepare youth players to be competitive at the required international age appropriate competitions. That is a fact. The only way j can see that working is if the school teams play in a pro-league youth and reserve league set up in order to develop them.

  2. Look at the present Under 17 team eh who is the coach of that team is he a qualified coach eh, which team did he coach in our sweet country be it in the professional league or even the Super league in order to prove himself eh, and I wonder what kind of coaching certificate does he have to do so and this is the madness that the TTFA continues to do and I don’t know by whose advice eh, and the only time our players can make our national team is that the players have to be playing in the professional league at home or abroad. Them really good yes.

  3. Oh lawd the only main thing that needs changing is getting our national teams prepared in a timely fashion when participating in the World Cup tournaments both men and women by playing friendlies against foreign base top notch countries to raise our standards not against the caribbean teams and when last did we play the America senior team in a friendly eh and it is time that our real qualified professional coaches and players are selected to represent the national teams the corrupted TTFA have to stop their madness and we shall rise again.

  4. But to answer your question more directly, I think our football is marking time and on thin ice to boot.
    And I think that we have to make changes and quickly. Ask any national coach or present senior coach in the country and I’m guessing they will say the same thing.
    We are trying to put our heads together to discuss what needs changing, what needs tweaking and what is fine as is.

  5. Well, I think we know that our football structure had many flaws. But having said that much bigger and more successful countries than ours have stopped to reevaluate and change focus from time to time.
    And that means looking at what is in place and asking yourself what could be kept and what could be thrown out.
    All I see here is a conversation about that.

  6. Lasana Liburd from all your interviews and stats,are we as a country starting to make positive changes to compete successfully,or are you just showing us as a country that these people that were in charge of us were also lacking in ideas up to this day?please respond in good faith

  7. AHEM!!!!!!!! that is the same thing that I am trying to say before you all just come lately even born as yet this was the same set of talk, talk, talk and more talk the past sports writers and individuals all who attended CIC, Fatima, QRC, the UWI always talking about eh changing our football eh, and nutten has changed because trinis just like to talk, talk and more talk and doing nutten and on the other hand it was never the corrupted Jack Warner and his cronies plans to get things done the right way it was all about the millions of monies that he made to be where he is today and you think that with the millions of monies that passed through the corrupted TTFA and our sweet country eh our football should be in the state that it is in today but I will be waiting very patiently and looking forward to see our sweet country once more rise again and I am hoping that it doesn’t take that long until Mr. Live Wire is in a rocking chair and still writng his satire stories eh hahahaha

  8. Thank you Naaytteb Etsitpab. It is just about looking forward with open minds. That’s all.

  9. I’m glad to give you all a laugh Mango. Thanks for the feedback. No need to clutter the thread for people who want to read and talk though.
    Haven’t you thoroughly explained yourself yet?

  10. But Nwadiki, Lasana is right on this score though. So he getting a yellow card for responding, typical referee behaviour lol lol lol.

    But anyway, there are a lot of things we have to throw out and a lot we will have to keep, that is just life. Life is about progress not about looking at the past and drooling about how good is used to be, that doesn’t help. The past has its purpose, a source of learning, good or bad. Things were different then and things are different now. Each era has its strengths. They all served their purpose.

    In my opinion and again I say MY OPINION, why the backward thinking of what was? What do we want now? What we had then served its purpose, what do we need now? Things will need to change for it to get better, and believe me, change is one of the most difficult things for us to accept, expecially the older ones. I say forget the past (maybe not all of it) and hold tight to the future and let’s come together to see what the ride has to offer. I know there will be fear, screaming, belly aching, nervousness and tripdation like most rides are but the excitment of the roller coster ride is most times worth it all. ALL ABOARD!!!

  11. No I am not saying that and the reason the past football writers stop publishing is because they got tired nothing wasn’t changing and will never change it seems and some folks that read some of your articles does really laugh because you don’t have a clue what are you are speaking about it is real satire it is like some of alyuh who just come lately and is always saying that your drug addicted Maradona was better than meh King Pele. Alyuh really good yes.

  12. Aye! take a yellow card each, cool it. The solution is coming, almost finsihed with renos then all will be addressed, life mission #GoTT #destiny

  13. So I should stop publishing ideas because past football writers did?
    If you are saturated with knowledge from past stories, then stop reading Mango. There might be others who appreciate it.

  14. Well I guess the coaches that you are speaking about eh, they stopped nurturing our players for some reason ent because I know for a fact that their football academies are still up a running after 40 yrs, and you think that it is now folks are trying to bring ideas to the fore eh, look how long now my sport writers Brian Lewis, Andre Baptiste, Hugh Henderson, Alvin Corneal, Jamaal Shabazz,Gregory Trujillio, (R.I.P.) and Keith Shepperd (R.I.P.) have been writing about the problems with our sports especially our football eh and alyuh just come lately are still trying to bring ideas eh, as you and I know our people just like to talk, talk, talk, and more talk and don;t ever listen and do the right things and nothing is being done to correct all the madness that is happening with our football. Them really good yes.

  15. I don’t know that our coaches feel they know everything Mango. But you seem to.
    For those who care to know, there are in fact local coaches with UEFA B and A licenses although there has been a shortage of courses for locals over the last decade.
    And some of those same coaches are responsible for nurturing the talents of Yorke and Latapy and many others.
    But that is not the point. This article isn’t about slamming individual coaches but about considering how to ensure we are creating the best environment for our players.
    We are trying to bring ideas to the fore not egos. Calvin Palos Garcia, please monitor this thread to keep everyone honest. 🙂

  16. Furthermore the coaches that coaches Real Madrid youth academies have the real professional coaches licenses the “EUROPA PRO” (Europe ) and in my sweet other country Brazil ( The Professor ) which is equivalent to the EUROPA PRO compared to some of our bootleg and fly by night coaches who have certificates and feel they know everything and I am not blaming them solely we in our sweet country have to hold the administrators and coaches accountable there are no system in place for our coaches if Jamaal Shabazz and Stuart Charles Fevrier didn’t go abroad eh to get the real coaching licences eh you think that they would have been top notch coaches now eh even the SCOUTS have the (Europa licenses) because they have to know the game and players because they are getting big monies to do so, our coaches have the D and C licenses and feel they reach look leh meh stop trying to educate you Lasana Liburd because as I have always say you are a just come lately and you really need to do your homework eh. I done talk. Them really good yes.

  17. And of course the coaches are the reason Trinidad and Tobago is in its current predicament and our drinking of a set of rum and party culture and again I will ask this question why is it taking so very long for us to see another Russel The Magician Laterpy in our sweet country and why is it that we are not seeing our players getting real professional contracts in the EPL because the football academies has been failing for a very long time now because of the lack of some of the coaches ability to really coach it is only about making a dollar at the end of the day the coaches in the real football academies abroad have qualified coaches coaching their young players hence the reason the players gets big contracts in real professional leagues abroad compared to our sweet country where some of our coaches are baby sitters. I remember some years ago a player who said that he and his team mates were fooled into thinking that they were really great players until they went for the first time to a youth world cup tournament and got a set of beat up by the other teams and they returned home to our sweet country in tears and you are speaking about the 16 yr old that is in the Champion league with Real Madrid eh, what do you think that they don’t also have them in school while they are in the academies well you need to find that out Mr. Live Wire if it is only football, football alone, or they do also have to beat some books so in case the football doesn’t work out for them they have their education to fall back on.

  18. By the way, Real Madrid just named a 16 year old in its Champions League squad. The article didn’t mention what high school he plays for.
    Personally, I’m concerned that Trinidad and Tobago is falling behind in the development of young players.

  19. Kurtwyn Baird, Trinidad and Tobago coaches were expected to win Caribbean tournaments in those days. We didn’t. And the TTFA decided to make a last minute coaching change.
    It isn’t a slur on the coach that Look Loy replaced. It is just a fact to put the results into context.
    I didn’t see this article as one about blaming coaches at all. So don’t see the point of that.
    Are coaches the reason Trinidad and Tobago football is in its current predicament?

  20. if pro league wasnt so much shit, this wouldnt be an issue, ofc they would pick school football first.

  21. Mr. Live Wire talk nah. Them really good yes

  22. Lasana Liburd when you used the words scraped through,do you mean qualified for the next round,how do you know that taking the team in a much difficult group was not the plan all along?In the business of professional football your first objective is to win silverware and avoid relegation,All those who held the reigns in the past are very much to blamed for the present situation even the man been interviewed.

  23. Mango, the figures you attributed to Look Loy’s teams are like 66% wrong. And national coaches cannot sign players.

  24. I’m 18 and i’m a footballer, School Football gets you more famous in schools and that what these guys are playing for, they are playing for fame among schoolers.

  25. And I guess that they will get the right paycheck now because we boy Brent Sancho is in charge. Them really good yes.

  26. And what are you talking about every team isn’t in any competition to win eh and of course he wasn’t a selfish coach hence the reason himself ,Anton Corneal and his father is where there are today because of meh uncle Jack Warner and as we all knew the right coaches are never picked to coach our national teams especially if you wasn’t part of a certain clique and like some players they will work and play for free and a box of chicken and chips while the corrupted TTFA officials went to the bank smiling and last but not least eh. our present coach King who also said that he was ready to take on the World going to the under 20 tournament eh, and when he wasn’t successful eh, he asking the big shots in the corrupted TTFA that they must start doing the right things with respect to our football eh. Them really good yes.

  27. That is a very poor example because if Jose Mourinho took over St. Anns Rangers you and I know that he will get new players that can win the pro league plenty monies, a car and living quarters just the same as when Fenwrick arrived there and became the coach of San Juan Jabolteh and was very successfull because Jerry Hospedales believes in the foreign base coaches vs the local coaches.and gave him everything compared to when Earl Spiderman Carter was there coach and you know what they told him when he asked for everything eh to be successful the same way like Fenwrick , what he needed those things for. Them really good yes.

  28. I don’t see how any of those points reflect on his analysis Earl. If I remember correctly, he took over that CONCACAF youth team you are referring to at the last minute after they scraped through the CFU rounds.
    If he was a selfish coach, he would have said “no” and kept his reputation intact so no one would have to throw it at him in years to come.
    And teams don’t get promoted from the Super League on performance but on bank balance.
    And not every team is in a competition to win. You can only judge a man based on what he was to work with. Jose Mourinho could not win the league if took over St Ann’s Rangers tomorrow.

  29. Keith Look Loy got 8, 6, and 5, when he was the coach of the youth team back in the days eh, and when he was a part of the TTFA eh he along with the other Jack Warner disciples and he Jack couldn’t do nothing wrong eh, and now you is taking about the problems with our football in our sweet country because he is a CONCACAF analysis and that what he is speaking about there in meh sweet country Brazil eh, is because they have real youth academies eh so it will always work there for them, in our sweet country apart from W Connection who has there own development program and now Central FC is doing the same thing both who have to be selling players to create revenue eh, no home fields eh and you want to put my players through this madness when they come to training they are hungry eh they have no money to travel to return to practice the next day eh, then the other teams in the pro league uses other teams clubs to represent them they don’t have their own youth teams and development programs. If Keith Look Loy has all this coaching badges eh why he didn’t know what to do when he got 8, 6, and 5 eh, he spoke about the goalkeeping eh, when Earl Spiderman Carter wanted the goalkeeping job in TTFA eh did he help him eh, we have two real professional goalkeepers Eroll Lovell and Clayton Ince eh, that has been residing back in our sweet country long time now eh and they are not part of the TTFA goalkeeping staff eh, there is a system here in the America that the players must play for the schools at age 13 to 17 yrs old because after that they goes to college before they can play professionally and on national senior teams Seeing that he is so knowledgeable how is it that he cannot bring Santa Rosa FC to the next level and when he is training his team in five rivers eh he is lost for ideas while coaching his team in five rivers but now he has all the ideas to solve the problems in our sweet country we need a more prudent approach to solve our football problems in our sweet country not the way ward thinking of the CONCACAF analysis. Them really good yes.

  30. Come to think of it…I doubt there is another country in the world where the pro league gets less publicity and fan attendance than a school league. We really in a quandary

    • On a slightly divergent path, I heard people say the school boys play for the crowd?…what crowd? have you all been to a school football match recently? Its the same problem all sporting teams have in this country and that is a lack of support, so i really cant see what the incentives are for “school Football” anyway i agree with Mr Look Loy 100% but i also believe that clubs can do better in seeking to form educational partnerships with the ministry of education and perhaps the sports company and regional corporations to set up proper academies. Yes money answers all things but it does not solve everything, planning does.

  31. Las players opt for what is missing in ‘PRO’ league football and that is crowds, fans ;for example at Naps when we played in Tobago we had students and supporters coming over ,if a pro league team were to go to south much less Tobago would they have traveling fans? The whole structure of the pro league has to change ,clubs need to have a ground in their ‘communities’ not north east playing a home game in couva etc etc. i also disagree with my good friend Look-Loy the problem with schools football is the coaching or lack there of and what is imparted to the lads,and the win at all cost mentality and not development which would contribute to players not focusing on their education ’cause coaches don’t care they want to win win win no matter what. But then there was a hurray about ‘professional coaches’ coaching in school ,so damed if you do damned if you don’t.

  32. Kevin. I agree with a lot of your views. But I. Base my emphasis on education. Simply because don’t matter how skillful you are at the end of the game. When they put that. Microphone in your face and you can’t speak. That can also ruin your career

  33. I strongly agree with Mr. Look Loy, I am based in the US with a 16 year old son currently starting for the New York Red Bulls Academy U16. He attends secondary school but it is understood that he will not play for his school. This is a tough decision because some top secondary schools with tuition in excess of $35,000/year offer a full scholarship but in order to proper develop him as a footballer we had to choose whats best for his football development. At first, I questioned the approach but after viewing the level of secondary school football and understanding the investment Red Bulls is making with my son I agreed 100%. I have also had the benefit of speaking with several Jamaican internationals that firmly believe that Jamaican secondary school football is killing national team development. In no major football country is secondary school football the place where the most talented players develop or participate. In America, 20 years ago secondary school football was where colleges looked for players, today if your child is not playing for a U S Soccer Development approved Academy whether MLS or other club its virtually impossible for a top college to recruit him. The Academies have showcases where all the college coaches come to see the best talent. America established the academy system to mirror Europe for player development. Secondly, the US has a residency program for national team players in Florida where you leave your Club and reside, train and attend school with your national team mates. Even with these two programs, many top American players who want to maximize their development join professional teams in Mexico, England and Europe at 15, 16, or 17. The point of me sharing all this is to say that what worked in the past will not work today in TnT, it didn’t work for America and it will not for us. One thing I realize in sports is that you have to be playing with the best players, receiving the best training, have proper nutrition and coaching to develop to your potential. If a boy is on a team at 15, 16 , 17 or 18th and he is the best player on the team; someone better get him off that team because he is on the wrong team. How and What can he possibly develop and learn?

  34. Oh lawd you know how long now I am trying for this to happen eh, but trinis like to talk, talk, talk, and more talk and no action, yuh remember when the corrupted Sports Minister had that forum about what is to be done to fix our football and plenty folks attended and gave their views eh, and what happened after that eh, it was business as usual did the corrupted TTFA folks who also attended change anything eh, hence the reason why the senior team the women team, and the under 20 lost in those tournaments because of the lack of the right preparations and of course the same thing will be taking place with the under 17 team that is also trying qualify as everyone knows that I grew up in the America and I am a man of plenty action and getting things done in a timely fashion I am 1000% very patriotic and love my sweet country to death but I really only enjoy returning home at the end of the TT Pro League and blessing up the top goalscorer with cash incentives and the boots of their choice and the same to be done for the SSFL in a timing

  35. Earl let’s see how we can do it together.

  36. And of course there is no comparison between the TT Pro League and the SSFL league but some players who once played in the Pro league choose to play in the SSFL league and for the other reason is the crowd support that is there compared to the pro league. If that corrupted Sports Minister was still supporting the Malabar team eh Hayden Tinto one of my other prolific goalscorers would have never returned to the TT Pro League .

  37. Naaytteb well alyuh better hurry up and consider it for what it is worth yes because I see many players that are playing in our pro and SSFL that was never developed properly hence the reason why when they go abroad to try out with the top notch real professional leagues and they are sent right back to our sweet country. Why is it taking so long for us to see another Russell The Magician Latapy eh representing and also our players representing in the EPL league abroad. Them really good yes.

  38. I covered Pro League and the SSFL. There is absolutely no comparison between the two, the Pro League is miles better.

  39. Earl this is a different topic. But one worth considering for what it’s worth.

  40. And I eh dun talk yet nah what about some of our bootleg coaches who don’t have a clue and don’t even know that they don’t know eh. imagine since the so call professional league started 12 yrs ago eh, the same coaches are coaching some of the professional teams eh so what are they trying to say there are no more coaches that can be hired that can do better and raise the standards of our football players eh, and this also goes for the colleges league to eh, hence the reason I like what meh boy Brent Sancho is doing by hiring meh real professional foreign base coaches all who have been in the trenches in real professional leagues abroad and of course they are given everything to accomplish the Championships in the pro league and when we stop exploiting our local players and coaches eh, things will be surely get better and we shall rise again. Them really good yes.

  41. Richard, until and unless we try to be objective about this situation we will get no where. Playing with the local clubs in the DPL is better…..at leat better than playing at the SSFL level and that is all the gentleman is saying. At this juncture it is better like it or not. If we want to move forward it must be a consideration. Simon, outgrown or outsource, out is operative in both words. Lyndon, we are speaking about soccer and what Mr. Look Loy is saying is not that there should be no school football but that in the national interest the best players should play with the professional clubs and the others play for their school. Schools don’t develop players we need to understand that and understand that for us to do better nationally players need to be developed. No sense getting sentimental about it….we just have to face the fact and deal with it in the best interest of national football.

  42. I played in the T&T colleges league and I won everything there was to win in all completions over a three year span, playing with Trinity College and John Donaldson Technical Institute. Now that does not mean that I have all the answers, but here’s some of my observations. In a footballer’s formative years, which would be during his or her college playing years, the more time they could spend mastering and refining their technique, the better they would be and be better prepared to compete at international level. I was fortunate to a Brazilian football coach at club level (Carib Peterborough), straight out of the college league, and I will always remember a conversation I had with him, while waiting for practice to begin. Everything was ready for practice, and we waiting for a couple more players to be ready, so we could start. He pointed out to me, a situation that still exist today. There was guys strolling up to the Savannah, some coming from work, some coming from far away, they would then sit, take their time getting ready, I guess maybe decompressing from a day at work. When practice got started it would be almost 5:00pm, then the sun goes down at 6:45, so in effect we would have one hour 45 mins to train which for him was unacceptable. He referred to it ad our amateurish attitude. So then we started training every day including weekends, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we’d have a morning session. The result was we were an all conquering team that season. Now what I learned from that, when you’re not trading or working on your craft somebody or the competition is getting better. All of this applies directly to the young players now

  43. A rose will always be a rose, even if planted in a garden of daffodils.

    I ask honestly, who is the ‘raw talent’ that we so love to speak of?

  44. Or and I almost forget some pro teams are asking for $ 50,000 thousand dollars US = to $ 300, thousand TT dollars and my players are being paid for the most $ 8,000 TT a month eh and when these players go abroad they ends up right back in our sweet country because the real professional teams and coaches realizes that they don’t worth the amount of monies that is being asked for them to get a real professional contract abroad, for some reason we stopped developing real professional players and now we are only sending cinderella players abroad. Them really good yes.

  45. The TTFA had this discussion a very long time ago and it was stated that our sweet country never had the infrastructure for no professional league because professional or any type of sports should be played in the communities to get the support. The only reason why there is a professional league today in our sweet country is because of the same Jack Warner and his cronies who said back then that it couldn’t happen but it happened 12 yrs ago because the only way youth World Cup tournaments can be hosted that country must have a professional league so it was only about business for Jack Warner and his family and cronies making big bucks hence the reason he had to destroy Arthur Suite football program in PSA and make certain that all football was controlled by the corrupted TTFA . This professional league was financed by JW . I am certain, and we really shouldn’t call it a professional league because it is not by any standards of real professional leagues abroad where my players should be making enough money to take care of themselves and their families without any worries and I am positively certain that it wasn’t sanctioned by FIFA either . why did MA PAU and Joe public dropped out of the league because the owners realized that they was spinning top in mud putting out plenty monies and not getting back any returns and I agree with Keith Look Loy to a certain point but if these professional clubs cannot facilitate and pay my players the monies they really deserves let them continue their education in schools make certain that they get a scholarship and attend schools abroad because this shouldn’t only be about football but also getting their degrees so that they can fall back on them if the football doesn’t work out and also tryout for the MLS teams because the league is expanding .

  46. I am talking about american sports not soccer

  47. There is a huge amount of lack of understanding in many of these comments. Patrick Silverthorne Sr., “let the kids get their education”? Many of the guys playing in SSFL do not attend classes. By the time they finally leave school and play professional football they are TOO OLD. Yes, at 18, they have missed their chance. It will take at least 18 months to coach them out of their bad habits and at 19, most of the worlds under 20’s have had 2-3 years of professional football. I agree that those kids who are academics should follow the path of Kelvin Jack, Brent Sancho, Sean deSilva etc and take scholarships in USA, then progress to professional football, but those who have difficulty with basic English and Maths need to focus on football as their way out. People talk about lack of money, but before that, their is a lack of motivation and vision from both corporate T&T and govt. Companies spending millions on fetes and govt wasting $5 million on Machel albums when a fraction of that could fund a proper youth development programme. Priorities are all wrong!

  48. There was actually only one school player in the entire US under-20 team. The US national teams have outgrown NCAA players.

  49. In the US High School football, basketball or whatever sport pose no obstacle to their development.

  50. Keith always admired you as a player. But this is very. Selfish on your behalf. Let the kids get there education. And they can go from there. You got yours from Vic and you did well

  51. Probably Prince Borde, hence the reason it was said…your comment Since the 70s and 80s …but I believe we have the money, we just don/t have the personnel with the motivation and ambition to pursue the progressive and professional path, then the answer is simple..continue limping as we are until we get crutches.

  52. Interesting but is playing for the local clubs any better?

  53. A lot of this seem to boil down to money! I was watching a preview of West Indies World Cup chances on cricinfo. And it was said that since the 70s and 80s the facilities haven’t improved while the other countries have improved and stayed up with the times. The question is do we have the money on Trinidad to find academies, pay coaches, improve infrastructure?

  54. Gentlemen, permit me to interject with some of my thoughts which may be irrelevant (1). I firmly believe education should be a part of sports so that the athelete may understand basic to advance training/coaching instructions,. therefore there should be a transition from school to college to semipro/pro league ..(2) We look at training facilities which are literally non existantt throughout the country, forget Cof E, that serves those in the east/north areas.(3) do we have the support of the governing body in the training/grooming of players with the potential of advancing to the pro level (4) Which brings us to coaching, do we have a pool of coaches where we can access and appoint to the east, west,north and south, and I am not talking about fly by night coaches, I an talking about qualified personnel, which brings us to another important factor in the scheme of things (5) A coaching academym where participants are coached how to coach, techniques, planning, strategy etc. with this comes (6) physical fitness, attitude, mental preparedness, education (understanding strategy) and the ability to make decisions on the field apart from specific instructions,…..SO WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO BEFORE WE SERIOUSLY THINK PRO…There are so many other aspects of sports administration which we lack (I am not pointing fingers) that we first have to organize at the initial stage in order to look further down the road. The above is only a whisper of the requirements of a successful organization. Thank you but we are far from being anywhere near perfect.

  55. Hannibal Najjar

    Dear all, I totally disagree with anyone that makes a carte blanche statement as did Lookloy, that, student-athletes would better serve their National Teams’ causes if they would abandon the high school football and experience altogether. This, I consider to be an absurdity of monumental proportions. His suggestion that the quality and all of the other dynamics of classroom learning, socializing, and identifying with school colors, mottos, and that unifying community spirit, and the likes, are tantamount to NAUGHT; ZILCH! He is citing that playing for one’s high school is not as good as vying for T&T Pro-league teams. Well, here are a few questions – if this is a recommendation for success, what of those players as per the much flaunted Matthew Woo Ling, who has done just that when at his Alma Mater, Fatima, but chose to play for W-Connection? He wasn’t even a starter at the U-17 level nor was he in this U-20 team! Furthermore, nations that can afford an academy also garner sizable benefits by way of increased IQ and understanding within these young and budding minds. In this youth academy setting their abilities to learn from many different teacher styles help lay the foundation for the different coaches and styles that they are destined to meet. This learning exposure also assists for better football understanding and creativity.
    Important to see too, is that this school environment continues for these U-17 student-athletes, especially in the US, as they head off to four years of college and a near real-life experience. There, these future stars benefit from a holistic experience only made possible by the three-prong learning-teaching environment – academics, athletics, and social interaction. A fourth prong is sometimes included and this, the spiritual, often adds to further emotional stability which in turn, tends to further add to the whole-person development. And, it is here that I challenge Lasana too, when he says that, “it is almost impossible to have a degree and become a football star. So we should be realistic there too.” It is being done every day in every sport in the US.

    We have the next-door proven example of this in the US? Save a few Labron James, Dywane Wades, and so forth, all go through the high school and college teaching-learning “rituals” ensuring that they do not fall to the mile-wide, inch-deep, mentality.

    While I can however, argue for what Keith is implying, I have to continue with my view that our players need to remain in the secondary and where possible, tertiary learning settings so that we can be better guaranteed of a more rounded, holistic-thinking, resilient, and emotionally stable, student-athlete.

    Sorry for any redundancy, but I have to remind that I argued these points several years ago when Anton Corneal leaned on this Lookloy purview. Today, my view is unchanged. The SSCL presents a most suitable learning and growing experience for the nurturing of our young student-athletes’ minds and bodies and for preparing them for their lives on and beyond the playing field. Our responsibilities as the caretakers of our nation and preparers of our youth, include helping develop healthy faith, family, and work patterns – we have that ultimate responsibility to prepare them this way. Besides Keith, what was your experience like as a student-athlete? In hindsight, what would you trade? You were a very good high school and college player did not follow the path of your current recommendations. In our day, we did not enjoy the easier passages to play the game at the top level as it is today. But I assure you, what you were as a player in your younger days, had you the mannnnny opportunities to be “bought” as it is today, you would have been and would have shown up many of today’s candidates. Yes, the more, well-rounded, school smart, and very good playing Keith Lookloy would have had a far more “rich” football experience. So I encourage all that we let them exist where they are in their school setting and if anything Keith, let us use our minds and exhortation to help the high schools better channel their developmental strategies and energies. Maybe, we can also talk about a bona fide University athletic scholarship program and league where these teams can engage in games against Super-League and Pro-League teams. This would not only help the student-athletes, but the general school population and ultimately, our plummeting nation.

    So much to think and pray about! So much that can really be done if only we consider our Motherland and its future, our youth.

  56. But we are not a society that takes care of ANYONE anymore…. so who will take the interest if these kids to heart?…. the clubs dont do it…the TTFA had consistently told them FU*K you… and society at large is not equipped to make that investment in our sons and daughters of our soil…. so right now, even with our best players, the schools have it…. you have to remember some of our best talent don’t always reside in areas where there is no social structure to help them make decisions…. they have people around them who understand TRINIDAD and some of these kids are getting advise that IS in their best interest….. Let’s not kid ourselves here, until our football powers that be show that they care, in trinidad, stay in school, or Leave and try to get into an academy outside…..

  57. You can’t get rid of school football. The top players shouldn’t play in it though.

  58. In some ways, I think the first move lies with the clubs to set training schedules and so on that cater for student athletes.
    The school body is within its rights to let ALL students play if they want to. It is not their job to ban anyone.
    So it is up the club and national teams to be more enticing.

  59. Keith had valid points….. but I still believe , because Trinidad does not have any type of academy structure that takes care of talented players, then school football has a place. It is unfair in many regards to compare Trinidad to any country that has established professional football. School football is still the safest way for a player to leave Trinidad (via scholarship). It also helps kids maximize the best of what Trinidad has to offer (education and playing time)…. Our football structure is 100% fragmented with no plan and based on present observations, will continue to be so until probably 2186…. And our professional football setup is Mickey Mouse at best… Until there is a comprehensive overhaul of how we in Trinidad view football and create a comprehensive footballing structure that incorporates ALL age groups, we will continue having these types of conversations with no real end product…. We are a ALL talk no Action society… and our football reflects it…..

  60. I agree and understand Mr Look Loy’s frustration but I must say that in addition to what he indicated I have ALWAYS felt that we wait too long to groom a National Team. Yes my attachment to primary school may cause me to be a bit biased but I stand by my sentiments. I remember Yorke, Latas, Marcelle and others playing against the USA in an U-14 tournament at the Haseley Crawford Stadium and being defeated on penalty kicks. I remember hearing my elders saying that if Alvin Corneal had been the coach they would have won, but the thing is these players formed the core of our National team in years to come and had a very good understanding of each other. I remember laughing to myself when we were busy preparing to host the U-17 World Cup and going to Primary school games four years prior there was NOT ONE official from the TTFA to look at potential players. I understand what Mr Look Loy is saying but if these players are left to believe that playing for their school and reaching a National Final is the ONLY way they would be seen and invited to train with the National team then we CANNOT BLAME the players but THE SYSTEM!!!

  61. Concacaf and FIFA have their own agendas.

  62. The TTFA and what army of lawyers?! Lol.

  63. The TTFA has the locus standi to claim the Centre of Excellence for elite player identification and development. Mandatory participation of secondary school players identified as prospective national team players in Centre of Excellence player development programmes will go a long way to preparing them for the discipline of professionalism.

  64. It’s true lasana…but if clubs had proper facilities and their own …maybe training at night on certain days would facilitate much more with players

  65. In part one of this series look loy stated that d team should have played five games in 14 days to mirror what happened in tournament! I will go further and ask if d panama u 20 team can beat a full strength connection, defence force or central fc? If d answer is no y are we not using d resources we have to get where we want to b?

  66. Football is about structure now. Gone are days you make a World Cup on raw talent or our girls and 20s would have made the World Cup. Some coaches run SSFL as professional as they can. But that’s the minority. These kids need to learn the structure early on. And what it takes to be a pro. Only academies can do that

  67. I am force to put in my two cents!! All Mr look loy has said in nothing new and has been fact for about 20years now. In fact it was during d time that he was national u20 coach that d standard of d ssfl started to drop badly! This being said national coaches need to find solutions! Anton corneal banned players from ssfl when his team qualified at d u17 and d u20 that when to d wc played as a team in d superleague if we are not creative in solutions we will b having these same conversations for d next 20 years

  68. Because our Centre of Excellence is used for flea markets, car shows and political rallies!

  69. Imagine we qualify for a snr WC and 3 youth WCs and we don’t have a football academy in this country which is full of raw talent it just goes 2 show that we don’t take football serious in this country

  70. Lasana Liburd there are always exceptions.

    If you revert to my very first comment im sure u will find lots of similarities to what you mentioned here. So I guessed we agreed with each other?

    Never did I say that goin to high school/college is better than turning pro. But there are ways to make it work/become better.

    As you mentioned, in football countries around the world, kids at 16 years old go to football academies. In these academies they also go to school/study. Which is exactly what I mean by finding a way to make it work.

    It can be done but just need all organizations involved to be on same page (which is an entirely different topic).

  71. Good point Lasana Liburd because I use to train in the evening.

  72. Therein is the other problem Fabio Luis. The ability of the Pro League teams here to attract young talent and to cater for school boys.
    At Connection, the time of the training sessions (I stand to be corrected) make it impossible for a student to attend school and play pro ball. And it is a big ask to have a boy quit A levels to join a Pro League team here. So I think that is something that should be addressed.

  73. If they are doing well as a youngster it’s very hard for pro club agents to ignore.

  74. At 16 or so, players in most football countries head into the academies of professional teams. I think it boils down to the players’ ambitions.
    The other thing Fabio is some of these players immediately try to turn pro when the school season ends. And that makes the whole school work thing a farce.
    They just have to decide what they want and, like Jason Scotland said, make a rationale decision.
    At the Caribbean tournament, Levi Garcia was the established winger and the other three were rotating. Four months later after Akeem Garcia and Aikim Andrews played Pro League football, they were the undisputed starters and the guys who returned to school were largely trying to fit in where they could. Martieon Watson was the exception.
    I don’t know if Josiah Trimmingham and Brent Sam considered what went wrong.

  75. Jason Scotland point taken. But who is responsible for helping these players grab the opportunities that you are referring too?

  76. I had to comment on this as I been true it. Most of the youngsters now from what I’m seeing are playing for the fame girls etc. They not serious about getting as far as they can. And the funny thing is it have more opportunity there than before for the young players.

  77. Lasana Liburd received with thanks. There are many more players who took the college path then turned pro. But I get your point.

    FYI, not all players will be a super star footballer. Few will get to that heights. But if u improve ur high school and college system you can get a bigger pool of players that will be below super star level.

  78. National caps might be a more useful standard for elite player development than becoming a football star. NSO’s in a country must have ownership of their talent development facilities.

  79. Fabio Luis, as a counter-point, of the players you listed who have college degrees and went on to play as professionals only Shaka Hislop had a top level professional career. And that might be because goalkeepers mature later.
    Stern John never did college football and quit at junior college and turned pro.
    I’m not saying that your argument has no merit. But it is near impossible to spend three or four years playing US college football and then go and realise your professional dreams.
    Apart from Shaka and David Nakhid, I doubt there is a single Trinidad and Tobago player who has ever done it and that cannot be by coincidence.
    Would Anthony Sherwood have enjoyed a career like Jerren Nixon if he went pro earlier? Might Leston Paul and Sean De Silva have been closer to Kevin Molino or Khaleem Hyland?
    Having a top education is a great thing and it is wonderful that football can help you get one. But it is almost impossible to have a degree and become a football star. So we should be realistic there too.

  80. The Centre of Excellence is supposed to be the facilitator of elite player identification and transition.

  81. It’s the same fame professional footballers get all over the world.

    SSFL need to teach the boys how to deal with it.

    All part of player development.

  82. It’s about changing the paradigm. Can we do that especially with teams in a Pro league that is not really a pro league, I don’t think so. Trinidad really cannot sustain no pro league because we don’t have enough talent. In all honesty the reality is their must be a Caribbean Pro league. If we had that there would be greater competition for spots and greater competition leads to better development. If we really understand how deficient most of our youth players are we would be surprised

  83. The SSFL has long outlived its usefulness in terms of its role in the development of national players. That being said, it’s a hard sell to convince the better players that they should seek an alternative route if they harbor thoughts of being a professional one day. The thing is you have to catch them earlier, probably from the Primary School level.

  84. i said this since i came to Trinidad

  85. I don’t agree fully. School football simply has not reach the level where it can help the boys further develop. Its certainly not totally an obstacle, IMO.

    If the TTFA, Ministry of Education, and SSFL can have an alliance to help structure the school league to be more developmental (for example, have a longer league, 2 seasons – one in the 1st term, other in 2nd term, impose license requirements for coaches, create curriculum that all schools must follow, have some school teams form an additional league where they can continue school and participate not only in SSFL but also U20 national league, etc – almost like an academy).

    Jurgen Klinnsman told the US that NCAA college soccer is an obstacle. There is college basketball, correct? A big % of NBA players come from there. How long is the basketball season?…….October – March. There is college baseball and a big % of players that turn professional, playing in NBL. There is track and field. Some of the fastest runners in the world come from US, attend these very same colleges. Even our very own Ato Boldon went to UCLA, if im not mistaken?

    Its not an obstacle they just haven’t figured out how to make it more developmental, or implement the right measures to make it more developmental. But soon, imo, they will.

    What Jurgen and Keith have in common is that they don’t understand and/or accept the fact that we can only work with what we have. Every country/culture is not going to be as good a set up as Europe. Ghana have a high school league which I understand from a close friend is very big. You see them in every world cup over the recent years and their players all over the world.

    All out success Trinidad players have what in common? They are all educators – holding college degrees. Shaka Hislop, Stern John, Brent Sancho, Leslie Fitzpatrick, just to name a few. Btw, they all turned pro after playing in that very same high school and college league.

    The high school league also helps with the psychological development with our player.
    They always got something to look forward to each game (i.e. the fans – which comprise of their close friends, family, love ones, coach, etc). They get a chance to play on TV at times, watch themselves in the sports highlight segment, see themselves in papers, hear people talking about them on the radio, on the streets etc. If we have not figured it out by now, our professional league has no money, no fans and no structure in place to help players move on. Players quit after 2 seasons or so, because of lost of interest and love for the beautiful game. We have lost so many potient world class players through the professional league system. So tell me, is high school totally an obstacle in our players development?

    IMO, we need to find a way to make it more developmental, relative to being better footballers AND being more success in school.

    • Stern John did a year at junior college but never got a degree or went to college. It is very difficult to start your professional career at 22 or 23 and the other players you mentioned were more journeymen than top flight players. Maybe it would have been different if they started earlier.
      As for Shaka Hislop, goalkeepers mature later and he might have been fortunate that way. He also had the benefit of a British passport then.
      It is great to get a degree based on your sporting ability. But it is really, really difficult to have that degree AND the dream career in sport.
      David Nakhid is an exception though. So it isn’t impossible. But really, really hard and maybe implausible.
      You only need to compare the paths of Leston Paul and Sean De Silva with Khaleem Hyland and Kevin Molino.

  86. The local clubs have 2 be more professional and work along with other stakeholders 2 put forth a better brand that would entice a young footballer 2 seek professionalism at an eralier age but until their is a proper youth structure in place with all parties involved SSFL will always be the #1 outfit that these kids will always choose. 1 main reason also professional teams needs 2 offer youths academic options at their club so the emphasis is not on football only but on a well rounded athlete

  87. I agree with Keith that Schoolboy football is doing nothing positive for the ?National effort. One must recognize though that the objective if the SSFL is not to develop players, the parent football body and it’s technical staff used the SSFL for their purposes , wether they unable to or unwilling to set up their own system if elite prayer recognition and development perhaps Keith nay be able to tell us.
    I think too that we must see the emperor naked , saying the league or the TTFF or A is responsible is not totally valid ,we must look to the quality of Coaches. The coaches in the SSFL and the ProTeams and the ?Coaching schools are alle the same people. Keith must look at the quality of these coaches ,not their qualifications only , I have seen some of these coaches at these courses and I am not suprised at some of the performances I see.
    Many of these coaches can recognize talent but Are unable to recognize potential,hence we see all the rush to transfer from school to school and the creative repeats.
    the boys therefore play in an environment where their technical and skill abilities are not enhanced by the coaching staff. We need to just look at the repetition of errors year after year.
    We cannot keep blaming the players and the officials and not recognize the quality of coaches in the formula..

  88. Whatever your standpoint, this debate needs to continue. It’s clear from all of the comments that there is no discernible structure in place. Just like the young players, clubs, associations, schools etc need to know their place in the development structure, what their responsibilities are and how they interact with each other. This can only be done by TTFA implementing – and enforcing- a football pyramid just like most other countries. Now, everybody does what they want as there is no one to police their actions. Everyone will cry out “funding” but there is money there if things are structured. As Look Loy and Sosa say, no overseas club will take a player seriously if he’s only played school football until 18. By that age, he should have played 20 Pro League games. Players can’t transfer overseas until 18, so from 16 they – and the clubs etc – should be preparing them. Say what you want, but Pro League is better preparation than school football. We seriously need to resolve this quickly or the 2022 WC will be another failed experience. Add to that the bacchanal that FIFA player passports and developmental fees will bring to the local game, the time for restructuring is NOW!!

  89. A very valid point from Mr Look Loy. The fame and attention of the SSFL by the media, fans and girls is a serious problem according to Sosa. As many of us have said in the past, the issue here is the lack of proper programs initiated by the TTFA along with the Pro League. The more talented boys at the junior secondary level (under 14 and lower) should be identified and placed in a program. Probably the Pro League Reserve League can be looked at. It will allow the boys a natural progression into the Pro League 1st team and still give the student amateurism status if they decide to accept a NCAA athletic scholarship in the future. As Look Loy said…it’s really boys vs men out there

  90. I agree with most of the things look loy is saying but knowing tnt nothing is going 2 change cause the ssfl is a adrealin rush 2 them young boys 2 be adored and sanctified by thpusands of students chased after by young girls and 2 be lauded by the media weekly those young boys are not willing 2 give up that 4 hard work hot sun and a crowd of 25 strong in a pro league game