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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.

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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 managing director and chief 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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102 comments

  1. 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!

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

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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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…..

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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…..

  14. 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!!!

  15. Concacaf and FIFA have their own agendas.

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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

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

  23. 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

  24. 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).

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

  26. 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.

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

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

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

  35. 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.

  36. 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

  37. 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.

  38. i said this since i came to Trinidad

  39. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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..

  42. 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!!

  43. 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

  44. 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