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New-look T&T U-17s get pre-W/Cup camp in Panama

The Trinidad and Tobago National Men’s Under-17 football team will head to Panama tomorrow for a 10-day training camp, which has been funded by the Ministry of Sport. The excursion serves as preparation for the 2015 Under-17 CONCACAF Championship in San Pedro Sula, Honduras which will decide the four qualifiers for the Chile 2015 Under-17 World Cup.

The junior “Soca Warriors” will play four practice games in Panama including two against Panama’s National Under-17 team. It will be the first time that a national youth team has managed international warm-up games in almost two years and head coach Shawn Cooper is grateful for the opportunity to fine-tune his squad.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 head coach Shawn Cooper.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 head coach Shawn Cooper.

“I think our chances are good,” Cooper told the TTFA Media. “We know what is ahead of us and we’ve been able to compete against these teams in past tournaments.

“We’ve worked very hard in the build up so far and this camp in Panama will give us an opportunity to get some much needed match preparation and allow us to do some fine tuning before we head off to Honduras.”

Cooper has overhauled his troops, which qualified fifth from the Caribbean stage, with nine changes from the squad that started the qualifying process including the addition of five overseas-based players.

Striker Jerren Nixon stands out from among the pack, albeit for the accomplishments of his father.

Nixon Senior started all three matches for Trinidad and Tobago in the country’s maiden World FIFA tournament at the Portugal 1991 Under-20 World Cup while he was also a Caribbean Player of the Year and played professionally in Scotland and Switzerland.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Jerren Nixon (centre) tussles with Costa Rican players Mauricio Wright (left) and Jafet Soto during the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal. Trinidad and Tobago won 2-1 in extra time. (Copyright AFP 2015/Hector Mata)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Jerren Nixon (centre) tussles with Costa Rican players Mauricio Wright (left) and Jafet Soto during the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal.
Trinidad and Tobago won 2-1 in extra time.
(Copyright AFP 2015/Hector Mata)

His international career was cut short, though, after a fall-out with then FIFA vice-president Jack Warner over the controversial sacking of coach Bertille St Clair after the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup in which Trinidad and Tobago reached the semi-final round for the first time. He was 27 at the time.

The younger Nixon, whose mother Kathy-Ann Nixon was also a Trinidad and Tobago international player, is 16 years old, six foot five and a member of the Philadephia Union youth team in the United States. He can also represent the United States and Switzerland on the international stage but has chosen to wear red, black and white.

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team’s other four imports are London-based Stevenage FC midfielder Morgan Bruce, New York Red Bulls midfielder Noah Powder and the US Players Development Academy duo of midfielder Joshua Burnett and Chaz Burnett.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team player Jerren Nixon Jr (centre) towers over (from left) Derek King, Kenwyne Jones, Hutson Charles and Cornell Glen during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Nixon was just 14 years old at the time.
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team player Jerren Nixon Jr (centre) towers over (from left) Derek King, Kenwyne Jones, Hutson Charles and Cornell Glen during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Nixon was just 14 years old at the time.

“We’ve added a few players from North America and one midfielder from England, Morgan Bruce,” said Cooper, who led Trinidad and Tobago to the 2013 Under-17 CONCACAF quarterfinal round and also coaches Presentation College (San Fernando). “These additions I believe will add a lot to the team and I expect every player to give it their best shot in the tournament.”

Among the players who miss out, though, are Trinity College East striker Dareem Daniel and St Benedict’s College utility player Anthony Herbert who were the two top scorers from the qualifying rounds.

East Mucurapo Secondary utility player Tekay Hoyce, Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kareem Riley and Naparima College attacker Isaiah Hudson are among the players who have retained their places in the youth team.

Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary player Tekay Hoyce (far left) and the Mucurapo East Secondary school celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in the 2014 Coca Cola National Intercol final against St Benedict's College. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: East Mucurapo Secondary player Tekay Hoyce (far left) and the Mucurapo East Secondary school celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winning goal in the 2014 Coca Cola National Intercol final against St Benedict’s College.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago plays its opening World Cup qualifier against Guatemala on February 27 at the Francisco Morazan Stadium before facing fellow Group A participants the United States, Honduras, Jamaica and Cuba—all in the space of 13 days.

The group winner will qualify automatically for the Chile World Cup while the runner-up will enter a Play Off against either of Canada, Haiti, Panama, Mexico, St Lucia or Costa Rica from Group B.

The full Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 team comprises of:

Goalkeepers: Levi Fernandez (Naparima College), Tyrek James (Presentation College);

Defenders: Isaiah Garcia (Shiva Boys HC), Darnell Hospedales, Keston Julien, Shirwin Noel (all Presentation College), Kierron Mason (Naparima College), Tekay Hoyce (East Mucurapo);

Midfielders: John-Paul Rochford (QRC), Joshua Burnett (Players Development Academy—USA), Isaiah Hudson, Kareem Riley, Shobal Celestine (all Naparima College), Noah Powder (New York Red Bulls—USA), Morgan Bruce (Stevenage FC—England), Shakeem Patrick (St Anthony’s College), Kishon Hackshaw (Trinity College East);

Forwards: Jerren Nixon (Philadelphia Union—US), Jeankeon Alexander (San Juan North), Chaz Burnett (Players Development Academy—US).

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 assistant coach and ex-Defence Force head coach Ross Russell. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 assistant coach and ex-Defence Force head coach Ross Russell.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The technical staff includes: Shawn Cooper (head coach), Muhammad Isa (technical analyst), Ross Russell and Gilbert Bateau (assistant coaches), Christopher Gouveia (manager), Devin Elcock (equipment manager) and Roger Ryan and Michael Taylor (physiotherapists).

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37 comments

  1. So no Shiva Boys players were good enough??

  2. The problem in this tournament, as with all, will be their ability to maintain intensity for the full 90, and worse, over several full 90’s in 13 days.

    I don’t understand how the two top strikers were dropped, while another, who apparently wasn’t as effective, was retained. I would imagine, their form in the previous rounds would warrant them keeping their places over fringe players. I don’t get that move.

  3. That is real failure…so you cannot make the team once u not playing for pres cooper

  4. favoritism needs to stop in all Trinidad youth football please COACHES

  5. This team in its previous incarnation BARELY scraped thru to this CONCACAF stage…an overhaul was badly needed!!! I hope the new additions bring much needed improvement.

  6. Let’s be realistic though. Ten days won’t compensate for months or years of proper preparation.
    Hopefully it helps the coach and team just a bit though.
    Adrian Romain, I notice Dareem Daniel was not playing by the end of the season for you. Are there problems with him?

  7. This is a well balanced team Kishun hacksaw 14 years of age is a great addition to this team I think cooper has realized that structure and discipline is the only way he can’t qualify for this World Cup .

  8. Lasana Liburd dont remind meh 🙁

  9. Fabio, we struggle to even boast to people in the Caribbean now. Even our supposedly dynamite under-20 team couldn’t beat Jamaica and our under-17s lost to Haiti and St Lucia.

  10. Panama is the most consistent central american country in terms of youth teams qualifying for youth world cups the last 6 to 8 yrs

  11. Drop your top two scorers. Way to ruin a youth career!!

  12. Panama will win a CONCACAF tournament. They have now lost on penalties in finals at senior, under-20 and under-17 level.

  13. Also seen Panama U17 play a few times. Arguably d best U17 team in Concacaf.

  14. It is a great option to have. I look forward to seeing these guys play. They don’t have huge expectation so that should take some pressure off.

  15. Good point Prince. That can only get you far in truth. Although it is a nice option to have.

  16. Kendall, I hope they are doing extensive work on set pieces and crossing from open play. Nixon Jr isn’t much shorter than Zlatan. What a strength if we can use it properly!

  17. Thanks for the input Fabio Luis. That Under-17 team did not seem to have much individual flair in the earlier rounds and most of the players did not distinguish themselves in the SSFL.
    If they are not willing to run through walls, they will not go far. Hopefully the additions help.

  18. No way he can dribble like his dad! Agree Lasana! Pace at that height. Only bolt can claim that. Haha I hope he’s an all round player. Because we can revert to playing balls into his head and hoping. That’s what we did with Kenwyne Jones in the Caribbean cup finals

  19. I dont know the two names you mentioned Lasana Liburd but sean cooper give them young stars long rope. I witness first hand on many occasion men sitting out becuz training get hard, complaining about this n that, showing up late, coming with wrong footwear. …and cooper simply try to correct them everytime. Again, I dont know these two players but if they are in fact one of the players who was carrying on with that nonsense, they dig their own grave.

  20. The boy is almost as tall as Zlatan Ibrahimovic! Stunning height. I would love to see him play. I hope the U-17 team is doing extra practice in crossing from open play and set pieces.
    It won’t be easy to defend against that boy. And I hear he is very fast too and his dad was a terrific dribbler!

  21. Time will tell. I would think that you would want a proven goal scorer in your squad. Seems odd to get rid of both leading goal getters at the same time.

  22. Kendall Tull, I agree in principle although I don’t know the specifics of the case. Dareem Daniel was booked often during the SSFL season and seems to be hot tempered but he was one of the better school boy players. Anthony Herbert is very versatile because he played in central defence too for his school when injuries and suspension forced it.
    So I don’t know if there were other issues there. Or if the new additions were simply that outstanding.

  23. What’s he like Fabio? I heard he is very fast and clearly he is about six foot six. Wow.

  24. I saw Jerron Nixon Jr play a few times last year. Good addition to the T&T U-17 squad.

  25. Nixon might want to take up basketball if he grows anymore lol. U20 coach should be part of the staff heading over there. This team will represent us well I think. Can you slow down growth? 6-5. Stop growing!

  26. I am always wary when a team drops the leading scorer in qualifying, far less to drop both top marksmen. How is it that they are good enough to get you there but now suddenly they don’t even merit a place in the squad?

  27. So you leave out the top scorers?

  28. Something must be going on in training

  29. I don’t really know the story there Cornell Glen. I tried to get on the U-17 technical staff tonight and I will try again tomorrow.
    I know Dareem Daniel had some behavioral issues last year. Is that correct Adrian Romain?
    I don’t know about Anthony Herbert. Maybe the coach just believes the new additions are that much better…

  30. Ive seen Panama go from a baseball country n in recent times, world cup contenders…Costa Rica from not qualifying for 2010 world cup to now top 15 in world n having sold the most young players to top European clubs from Central America in the past 4 yrs or so….Honduras & Mexico who consistently remain top 4 in Concacaf. I miss boasting about Trinidad to my colleagues. 🙁

  31. Why leave out your top scorers