Home / Volley / National Football / Williams invites 33 players for U-20 squad; but SSFL stars miss out on preliminary list

Williams invites 33 players for U-20 squad; but SSFL stars miss out on preliminary list

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach Brian Williams selected a 33-member squad to begin training today but there were startling omissions from the list of invitees.

Photo: Shiva Boys HC playmaker Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel (right) tries to avoid a challenge from St Anthony's College defender Brent Joel during 2015 SSFL action in Westmoorings. (Courtesy Kerlon Orr/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys HC playmaker Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel (right) tries to avoid a challenge from St Anthony’s College defender Brent Joel during 2015 SSFL action in Westmoorings.
(Courtesy Kerlon Orr/Wired868)

Most notably, Shiva Boys Hindu College midfielder Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel, who was among six Caribbean players selected for a Manchester City clinic earlier this year, and his fellow student and dynamic winger Quinn Rodney were both overlooked.

Emmanuel and Rodney were identified by “Soca Warriors” coach Stephen Hart, last month, as two of Trinidad and Tobago’s most gifted teenagers.

The Shiva duo were far from the only talent who did not get on to the initial national training squad, as St Anthony’s College winger Kathon St Hillaire, Queen’s Royal College (QRC) goalkeeper Jadel Poon-Lewis, Naparima College midfielder Shane Sandy and St Augustine Secondary playmaker Jesse Joseph also missed out.

The common thread is that they are all schoolboys who are not attached to any Pro League outfit.

KFC Munch Pack

Williams explained that his 33-man training squad was made up only of players attached to the country’s 10 Pro League clubs, which does not include a Tobago outfit. However, he said the list would be modified quickly and he already has plans to scout in Tobago.

Photo: St Anthony's College winger Kathon St Hillaire (left) crosses beyond St Mary's College defender Jerome Dempster-Babb during the 2015 North Zone Intercol final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. (Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)
Photo: St Anthony’s College winger Kathon St Hillaire (left) crosses beyond St Mary’s College defender Jerome Dempster-Babb during the 2015 North Zone Intercol final at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

“This is not the final list but this is the list to start our preliminary training,” Williams told Wired868. “Because I (was only just selected as national coach and) wasn’t scouting all the time. But seeing as I only have two months to prepare the team, I needed some base to start with.”

Williams said his current training list includes all the players involved in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-17 Championship as well as the under-20 players currently attached to Pro League clubs. His initial criteria excluded 17 of the 21 players named on the SSFL’s official 2015 all-star team.

Ironically, several SSFL players who did not earn picks on the 2015 all-star team made it into Williams’ squad simply because they are attached to Pro League clubs.

The only exception was First Santa Rosa and QRC midfielder John-Paul Rochford, as he represented North East Stars in the Pro League Youth League season and was announced as a Stars player on the TTFA shortlist.

Photo: QRC attacker John-Paul Rochford (centre) takes a crack at goal during 2015 SSFL action against St Augustine Secondary. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: QRC attacker John-Paul Rochford (centre) takes a crack at goal during 2015 SSFL action against St Augustine Secondary.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

To be eligible, players must be born on or after 1 January 1997.

“I might have to include ‘Pappy’,” said Williams. “What happened is he wasn’t on the last Under-17 squad with Shawn Cooper… I will be moving through the Pro League youth league and reserve team games and everywhere else I can find to scout players now. And I will take recommendations from other coaches too.

“I am also trying to go into Tobago this month’s end. I will select 23 or 25 boys to take to Tobago to play a Tobago XI back to back games. And I will then select about 30 boys to continue after that game.”

Omissions apart, Williams did have some notable talents on his initial training squad, which included Central FC striker Nicholas Dillon and W Connection playmaker Jabari Mitchell—who were both members of the previous National Under-20 Team—as well as 14 year old North East Stars and Trincity College East midfielder Kishon Hackshaw, 18 year old Central and Presentation College (San Fernando) midfielder Kareem Riley and the 16 year Rochford.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 midfielder Jabari Mitchell plays the ball around a Curacao player during the 2014 Caribbean Cup. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 midfielder Jabari Mitchell plays the ball around a Curacao player during the 2014 Caribbean Cup.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Overseas-based players Joshua Burnett (Players Development Academy—USA), Jerren Nixon Jnr (Philadelphia Union—USA), Chaz Burnett (Players Development Academy—USA), Morgan Bruce (Stevanage Borough—England), Noah Powder (New York Red Bulls—USA) and unattached former National Under-17 utility player Anthony Herbert were also pencilled in to be included in the training squad at some stage.

Nine of the 33 National Under-20 trialists—more than double the quota of any other club—are attached to W Connection, where Williams serves as under-16 coach. However, the “Savonetta Boys” have been a frequent supplier of talent for national youth teams in recent years, even before Connection chairman David John-Williams was  voted TTFA president last November.

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team are due to start the Caribbean phase of their Korea Republic FIFA World Under-20 Championship in mid-June.

(Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team trialists)

Photo: Naparima College forward Isaiah Hudson (right) fires past Presentation College (San Fernando) goalkeeper Ishmael Salaam during the 2015 South Intercol final in Marabella. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Naparima College forward Isaiah Hudson (right) fires past Presentation College (San Fernando) goalkeeper Ishmael Salaam during the 2015 South Intercol final in Marabella.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

T&T: Tekay Hoyce, Kareem Riley, Levi Fernandez, Nicholas Dillon (Central FC), John-Paul Rochford (First Santa Rosa), Shawndell Augustus, Jamaal Roach (Morvant Caledonia United), Kerry Daniel, Hakim Baird, Taryk Sampson, Kishon Hackshaw (North East Stars), Nicholas Thomas, Darnell Hospedales (Point Fortin Civic), Shakeem Patrick, Jankeon Alexander, Dominic Douglas (San Juan Jabloteh), Josh Toussaint, Rasheed Simon (St Ann’s Rangers), Isaiah Garcia, Shirwin Noel, Tyrek James, Shobal Celestine, Kierron Mason, Kori Cupid, Isaiah Hudson, Jabari Mitchell, Keston Julien (W Connection).

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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  1. Sean Powder

    Trinidad and Tobago to HOST GROUP STAGE
    June 15-19
    Group 2
    Turks and Caicos
    St. Lucia

  2. Tell Me,,,1 Of the Best Utility Players Not Their ,,,,,Same Shit Different Coach.

  3. Keep in mind, inviting a deserving 14 or 16 year old and having them in final squad are different things. Particularly, if they are not otherwise engaged with younger age group team training. Some would argue that it can be motivational. However, generally, i do agree that only an exceptional (technically and physically) kid at a younger age should be in final u19 squad.

  4. ..And pray tell, why is the broken TTFA hosting anything? To look good? They don’t even have funding to properly prepare a team never mind hosting the tournament. Oh. I forget. The M.OS say they doing a good job. SOoooo..

  5. Sean Powder

    At the risk of inviting criticism by commenting while my son is one of the 33 players mentioned for the team. I will offer the following:

    1. Keith Look Loy is 1000% correct that we can NOT sent 14-16 year old kids to play against professional players from Mexico,Costa Rica, and Honduras U20, etc regardless of how talented. Some of the many negatives are that the boys rarely play, their presence takes away the opportunity from an age appropriate player to gain much needed international experience, physically, emotionally and technically they are not ready. Lastly, it weakens not only the U17 or U15 teams but also that player because he does not get the much needed international playing experience, leadership skills, bonding with teammates to develop. There will be that one player that is the exception, this is rare and should not lead us to make it the rule.

    2. As I understand it, we have been selected to host CFU Men’s U17 Finals therefore we will not go through the first stage of CFU qualifying. Our U17 boys will not have a competitive match until the finals(August/September) unless friendlies, competitions, etc are organized. In my opinion, this should be viewed as a chance to keep these boys together to properly evaluate, train and prepare. What’s the rush to push some of them up?

    One general observation regarding our football. The speed of play of our football must increase, by increasing the speed of play we will increase the speed of thought of our players. The international game is played with fast thought and action in order to correctly evaluate our U15, U17, & U20 players we need to see their first touch under pressure not with the acres of space being afforded. The faster ball movement will allow us to capitalize on 1 v 1 opportunities where we do have technical and pace advantages.

    For those interested, you can view Noah Powder playing with his New York Red Bulls II team vs. Bethlehem Steel(Philadelphia Union II)


  6. He still has a good core there when you add the foreign players. But the truth is the last under-17 team was very uninspiring. So any coach would need to refresh that squad.
    Another absence that shows how bad his intel was is Jesse Joseph from St Augustine. Jesse was one of the U-17’s key players but broke his leg and missed the tournament.
    He then went to have a terrific season last year. And he still got left out.

  7. Looks like Brian Williams gonna end up with some loses next to him name, unless he pulls off a miracle.

  8. This coach must be smoking something and its affecting his brain. I cant understand why playing in the pro League is the only criteria to make the National team.There are talented players in the SSFL and the Super League who are quite capable of at least getting a call-up.Quite a few has already been mentioned but I understand Shane Sandy is the captain of North East Reserve/U18 team so it begs the question did he the coach attend any of the Pro League Youth games or was he picking a side from his brain.It would be interesting to know if Jared Dass who is on scholarship will get a call-up. Can anyone tell me if Tyrek James is starting for Connection or Pres because when I went to Connection and Pres games Salaam is the starter.Therefore what is the criteria for selection???Is this a blue eye boy selection??Jadel Poon-Lewis I saw you when Naps played QRC and I as impressed but this coach seem to have his favourites and you ent one.Can Mr. Brian Williams tell us from his extensive knowledge of Pro League players when as the last time Josh Toussaint and Rasheed Simon play a game for any of the Rangers teams,it is my understanding these boys don’t even train far less play with Rangers so what is the criteria for their selection. Mr.Williams if time is against you, take Keith Look Loy advise and call Angus Eve the back to back SSFL” champion” coach and he could tell you about some players because you seem to lazy to go and scout players yourself.

  9. The top player in the group is the kid from England, strong, technically good and makes really good decisions…couple of the US kids look further along as well…Keith’s player Roshford (?), also seems way advanced…

  10. I saw that kid training with the U17s yesterday…that is probably the appropriate level for him…

  11. I read it already … i am not the coach so i dont pick the team

  12. Jadel Poon-lewis habe a read bro think about it.

  13. …Waste of time. I have already advised that he should focus on the U17s and not chase an opportunity to sit on the bench for the entire campaign as he did with the last U17s when he was fifteen. Look. I sent him to the U17 training. At that time I advised him he should not worry if he didn’t play and that he should see that campaign as preparation for THIS U17 campaign. As an INVESTMENT in his international future. Now, he is in the frame and should focus on the team that he has the opportunity to lead and influence..

  14. ..And for that matter, sixteen, seventeen and even most eighteen year olds. While he could impact this championship, Levi Garcia had virtually no impact on the last U20 tournament in Jamaica. Lasana will verify that..

  15. ..Including fourteen and fifteen year olds in a U20 team for CONCACAF qualifying is a waste of time. Who do you think they are playing? They not going Dallas Cup. The last U20 champion, Mexico, had starters from Liga MX in their ranks. Open the training pool but let”s be realistic..

    • Yes, I agree once they have to choose between the two. Although I don’t mind them training with the bigger boys.

    • Lasana Liburd he’s not going to be picked! Just let him kick around with the guys for experience. He’s not the concern. It’s the ones left out. Why not have a week of big try outs

    • ..What? It’s a national team. Not a coaching school. The coach has to focus on the players who are in his plans. Time is very short. Brian should call on other coaches for top recommendations. If the team survives the first round of qualifying then open trials would be in order..

    • Yes. He clearly needs to speak to more coaches. Funny that Stephen Hart personally identified two talents, for instance, and neither were called up.
      But, sure, call youth team coaches and other football persons who have been watching teenaged players over the last few months.

    • that doesn’t mean it’s a coaching school. How does it hurt seeing him up against the big boys. Besides he must have done something right to earn selection. What’s that young fella from Norway that was getting looks at 16 on his national team. His age shouldn’t be what keeps him back. He will grow with this experience

    • and last time I checked this group struggled in u17 qualifying. But I not in Trinidad eh.

    • I think Keith was referring to the open trial Prince. Bad time for an open trial. I don’t mind Hackshaw training with the big team at all.
      Jabari Mitchell and Levi Garcia were 16 and 15 when they made the under-19 team at the time. And they both did well at Caribbean level too.
      But I’d agree that if their priority should be under-17s unless they are guaranteed playing time with the bigger boys.

  16. A 14 year old on the U-20 training squad? I hadda check him out. Even Latas do that? Or he skipped from u-14 to senior team one time?

  17. The pool really should be widened to accommodate some SSFL standouts. Having said that though, shouldn’t Rochford and Hudson be used to bolster the U-17 team?

  18. levi will not be on that squad talk done

    • I think Levi might have enough football on his plate. In the case of Dwight Yorke, the Under-21 World Cup came around when he was a squad player for Aston Villa and the senior team was not active.
      But Levi is a first team player for AZ and looks like he will be a key player for our ongoing 2018 World Cup campaign too.
      Brian would obviously love to have him. But I feel it might be too much football for the young man.

    • he can’t cause cfu is june which is his preseason or his time 2 rest before preseason and once the league starts he will be busy with games for club and snr team so playing u20 unless its the the youth WC he won’t be available at all

  19. But none of the foreign players are included here. It is just the local based players.

  20. Nobody can include Levi in anything. Youth tournaments are not held on FIFA dates and there is no obligation to release him. And European clubs don’t prioritise youth football over senior football.
    Khaleem Hyland was in a similar position and was not released by his Belgium club until we had already qualified for the World Youth Cup without him.

  21. true I was just stating to those who did vote for him

  22. this a training squad levi will b included in the final squad

  23. Thought coach said he was going to try to include Levi in the squad. What happened with that?

  24. Everywhere at all levels if society from government to sports there is nepotism and curry favor

  25. real talent back home. talent for days…and in foreign plently youth players with Trini blood…these next few years TT teams ain no joke, eh

  26. ..Dion. Not everybody voted for DJW. And even those who did voted for good governance. Not, I am sure, an administration that is reeling from one disaster to another..

  27. why anybody surprised the W has 9 players on the u20 team come on man the man going 2 use ttfa predency to elevate his club and his players at all national levels cause he looking 2 showcase and market thenm for transfer fees to foreign clubs well you got what you voted 4 so suck it up and take licks for the next 4 agonising yrs

  28. ..Look. There is no calculus involved here. For decades I, and others, have called for a permanent technical structure to be installed, including a national scouting structure. Let’s see what the current administration will do in this regard. Concerning this team, even if time is tight and the coach was not scouting, a few well-directed telephone calls would have gone a long way towards identifying players and widening the pool. “Hello Angus, two time SSFL champion coach, who you have?”..

  29. I have a problem with national coaches at ant level limiting their selections to only Pro League teams. Is there no talent elsewhere in T&T? This shows a lack of foresight as talent can be foubd anywhere.

  30. Hmmmm a think a good old fashion two day screening session or combine as its called in the US can help solve that too many loops holes here. Not the coaches fault though because youth scouting should have a separate committee that advises the coaches.

  31. Easily one of the top 3 midfielders in the league last year…

  32. While I fully agree they should be training together for a long period. I think believe for the short term selection going with only pro league playing kids is the best choice with that said I still believe our best under 20 team may comprise of all the kids out on scholarship at the moment at top universities playing as close as possible to pro level ball. Ssfl stars are not enough.

    • I think you’re wrong Narada Anthony. Some of the Pro League players were less illustrious than the SSFL players just three months ago.
      And the Pro League is just 10 clubs and miss out all the rural areas like where not only Pappy is from but Levi Garcia as well.
      Quite a few players who excelled in the last U-20 squad were not Pro league players at the time.
      And Pro League players were on the bench to SSFL players for years. Because they were not as good as they thought.

    • It can’t be a hard and fast rule at this level because clubs do not scout far and wide for starters. And some clubs make it difficult for young men to study their school work.
      You are ruling out large sections of the country here. At least when they are adults, they can use part of their tiny salaries to get to training.
      How many school boys from Mayaro or Santa Flora can pay to go to Couva three or four times a week to train?

    • While I see your point. Let’s us not forget the battle between Ssfl and clubs. I personally had to make the decision to choose club over school at a point and I’m sure that is a decision many others make. The idea is that clubs philosophy is all football. School is recreation and you play in an environment where guys half your skill level are on the field as well. A few months good football is never netter than a guy who is playing move constantly even if he isn’t as good. Too many players across the world live 50 70 km away from clubs. I believe the kids you mentioned are great players but if they aren’t being seen constantly should the coach really take a gamble. We are taking under 20 here our competitors are pros.

    • Narada Anthony, you have the wrong idea. The Pro League youth competition is only just about to start. A few of the players are playing first team football. Many are not and are in active competition either.

    • And there is no youth competition in the country that runs for more than three months Narada.

    • Very true. I may be thinking in an ideal situation. With that said, although the competition has now started im sure they have been training. the kids not at pro clubs have been training elsewhere? and what standard, the random person may believe a named club may have a particular standard of training being offered.

    • Well, there happens to be club football outside the 10 Pro League teams. A Real Madrid player might be just as fit as a Bournemouth player in the off-season.
      If the boy is talented, call him up and observe him.

    • Agreed and I would say pro league and super league and universities are where OUR players are to come from. But by under 20 level I think we should not be thinking about ssfl only playing players or a ‘sweating’ type player. Structured football has to be in his system by 16. Prior to that we can still work with the raw talent type

    • Disclamer lol:I don’t mean these lads you mentioned. I like to see them play just my views relating to the coach’s position.

    • I agree. And I’d say to look primarily at top flight players at adult level. But not here.
      I’ve seen Pro League star boys go on youth teams and end up on the bench by their decisive game. What does that say?
      You would be doing a coach a disservice by shortening his player pool in that way.

    • I’ve seen some really capable players at school level who are keeping their distance from the Pro League because they want to get a scholarship.
      It means we might lose them eventually. But why not use them now? Makes no sense to intentionally leave them out just for that reason.

    • Fact: I was home about 2-3 weeks ago when I went to see one of the top SSFL player not called up train for this U20 team. He was in fact training with one of the Pro League teams getting ready to participate in the yet to start Pro League youth competition. I’m sure a number of the said not called SSFL players are training with Pro League youth teams as well, thus the criteria/excuse of saying “only Pro League players were considered for selection” doesn’t seem to hold water in my opinion.

  33. This is what happens as a result of poor preparation. I doh understand why year in year out we does only want to select a player pool when it have ah competition. To me, these age groups need to be together in some form or fashion year round.

  34. What about Adrian charles,Daniel Sandy Joash Romain

  35. 17 of SSFL top players left out.. were all 17 left out due to not playing pro league Lasana Liburd? Not sure if you know

  36. Another National Team where Shane Sandy was left out of……smh