Twenty eight year old Jason Devenish has some laden trophy shelves from his days as a youth footballer.
Devenish, a former Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team player, won the North Zone crown with Queen’s Royal College in 2004, the Pro League Youth Cup with San Juan Jabloteh in 2005 and was also a schoolboy champion in the United States with the University of South Florida.
These days, Devenish’s career path looks more conventional as he is a manager at digital advertising firm, Click Media.
“After a certain age, when you’re not playing for Real Madrid or one of the big clubs,” Devenish told Wired868, “you have to be realistic and realize that you have to make money and provide for yourself.”
But, with just one match left in the Championship Division of the CNG National Super League (NSL), Devenish still has the burning desire to lift another football trophy with his current team, Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) FC. QPCC face Prisons FC from 7 pm on Tuesday December 15 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Prisons are atop the standings with 41 points from 17 games while QPCC are one point adrift with 40. Prisons will win the title and earn automatic promotion with a draw. QPCC need a win.
Wired868 caught up with Devenish at the Queen’s Park Oval to hear more in a one on one:
Name – Jason Devenish
Date of Birth – 30 October 1987
Current team – Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) in the Super League.
Home town – Diego Martin, Trinidad.
School attended – Queen’s Royal College.
How was the experience playing for QRC?
We did very well. We won the North Zone and, in the Intercol finals, we lost to St Anthony’s College. It was great, it was a fantastic experience. We had a great team. Some of the players played with me after on the National Under-17 Team.
Real Madrid FC.
Isco, number 22. I enjoy watching him play. He is smooth and skillful. He is very entertaining to watch, calm and collective on the ball.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I think I am very passionate, determined. I am driven in certain areas in work nowadays and football, so I try to do things to the best of my ability but I also like to have a good time like everybody else.
What is something that most people do not know about you?
I always wanted to be a professional footballer but I guess people already know that. I enjoy surfing and cooking a lot.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Going to the beach… pretty much relaxing, surfing and cooking.
Does your family support your football?
Yes, definitely. From a young age they really supported me in everything, taking me to practice, sending me away to play football. There was a lot of support from everybody.
What pushes you to succeed?
Honestly motivation is—on the football field in particular—is the team and how you get along with your teammates, the relationship with your coach and then everybody there fighting for the same goal, being on the same page and working together. My personal success honestly is based on my love for the sport. I love the sport and I want to play at the highest level. Even though I may not play at the highest level, whatever level I play it at I will play to the best of my abilities.
How did you start playing football?
I started playing when I was around six years old with Dion La Foucade coaching clinic, I played there until I went to QRC. Then after QRC I really explored and played all over the country, met new people. I played for the National Under-17 and I played for San Jabloteh for a while; we did well at the Under-18.
What is your earliest football memory?
Getting picked for QRC team in form three was a big achievement for me; getting to play InterCol at such a young age. That was the biggest accomplishment for myself at that time.
What is your most memorable moment playing football?
Winning the Big East Championship with my university team. We won two championships, the first one we were underdogs and came and won the entire thing, got a nice big ring for it. That was a great experience at the University of South Florida.
Who was your most important coach and why?
Probably Dion La Foucade to be honest, That’s where we learned our foundation, all the important things, the skills, the discipline and that foundation really allowed me to experience a lot of the things I experienced in football. So he was definitely one of the most important figures in my football career.
What makes you stand out as a player?
I think I like to experiment and try new things sometimes. Sometimes it may not work, sometimes it does and looks great but I am not afraid to try different things and to be creative and do things some players will not do.
What is your ambition in football?
I always want to play to the top level, if QPCC makes it to the next level I would obviously want to win the league and get to the next level. Even in the Pro League if there is an opportunity to play professionally while being able to work I would do that as well just to play at the highest level as long as I physically can.
What is the quality of players like in the National Super League?
I was very impressed; I thought the quality was fantastic. Every team we played against is very competitive game. All the players are on an equal level. I think it is very competitive; there is no team that is lesser than the other. The difference in the team at the bottom of the league and team at the top is very small.
What do you think is the biggest difference between the NSL and the Pro League in T&T?
I think financial backing. In the organization there are obviously a couple things missing that you wouldn’t get in the lower leagues. Some of the grounds could be better along with the facilities. Typical things. Probably if we had more sponsors in the Super League it may help out, make things better.
How does QPCC treat you as a footballer?
The institution is fantastic; they do a lot for their players. There is a lot of support and the facilities are fantastic. They allow the facilities to the players which is something you don’t get a lot of. The coaching staff and management look after the players in a very good way. They are open minded and try to help players that may be less fortunate so it’s an honour to be part of Queen’s Park to be honest.
Do players get any financial contribution from the team?
They give incentives in different ways. They provide full uniform kit, travel expenses; they do give stipends for certain games. When we go somewhere, they provide food, boots, and medicine.
What is the team’s target this season?
The team’s target is definitely to win the league. We want to gain promotion obviously by winning and also to do well in the FA Cup. Definitely the league is our main focus.
What is your personal goal for this season?
I am not really trying to be top scorer, but some goals and some assist, maybe some personal accolades. MVP of the league maybe. (He smiled).
What do you do for a living off the field?
I work for Click Media, which is a part of Label House. I am a manager over there. Advertising and Marketing as well as the signage, we do are a lot of digital stuff. We develop a lot of content and do a lot of video production. I oversee a lot of the projects.
In terms of priorities where does football rank?
It is definitely secondary to my career. You know after a certain age when you’re not playing for Real Madrid or one of the big clubs you have to be realistic and realize that you have to make money and provide for yourself. So football… It’s not a hobby because I still take it seriously. But it is secondary in the grand scheme of things.
What was your biggest factor when choosing between going pro and the NSL?
For me, it wasn’t really a choice. It was (about) being a part of QPCC and choosing to play for this club at the highest level possible. I think it’s a good idea for young players who haven’t reached that (professional) level to start at a lower level and get experience playing in this type of league that may be a little below the Pro League and gradually build yourself up. Once you’re a standout performer in this league, then you graduate. You can always go find another team and play at a higher level once you think you can play at that level.
Where do you think the NSL should improve?
Maybe some of the facilities, financial backing and some of the grounds. The officiating sometimes is poor. But otherwise (the NSL) is good.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read about Prisons FC star Ricardo Alleyne.