Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 Team coach Brian Williams selected a 23-man squad stuffed with south-based schoolboy talent for Caribbean Football Union battle in Curaçao from 21-30 October 2016.
Twelve of the 23-man squad either played for or still represent one of the country’s south-based schools including team captain and playmaker Jabari Mitchell and key striker Nicholas Dillon—who both represented Naparima College—while left back Keston Julien is a former Presentation College (San Fernando) standout.
The remaining nine players with southern links are: Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Kierron Mason (Marabella Family CC), Rondell Payne (Naparima College), Isaiah Garcia (W Connection), Kori Cupid (Presentation College, San F’do), Kareem Riley (Presentation College, San F’do), Shane Sandy (Naparima College), Jarred Dass (Stony Brook University—USA) and Isaiah Hudson (Naparima College).
Mason and Dass are former Naparima players while Garcia is a Shiva Boys past pupil.
Sandy, Riley, Payne, Smith, Cupid and Hudson are among nine local schoolboys in Williams’ squad, which also includes: St Anthony’s College winger Kathon St Hillaire and goalkeeper Jabari Brice, and East Mucurapo Secondary attacker Micah Lansiquot.
There was no room for the Shiva Boys Hindu College duo of Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney, who were blanked by Williams after they controversially withdrew from a recent tour to Guyana.
Another more famous Shiva Boys alumni, Levi Garcia—who is cousin of full back Isaiah Garcia—misses out for another reason entirely, as he has his hands full at present with the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team. Williams was keen to include Garcia but conceded that he could not get the winger in time for the Curaçao competition.
Still, Williams, a former Strike Squad standout, is happy with the players who will accompany him to the CFU battleground.
“We’ve selected what at this time we believe is the best selection of players for the tournament,” Williams told the TTFA Media. “We’ve seen some new players since the last tournament and the majority of the squad has been recalled and we have a couple additions…
“The preparation has gone on quite well and I am looking forward to this training camp in Panama, which I believe will be a really critical and much needed time together for the squad before we go over to Curaçao.”
The young Soca Warriors are scheduled to play training matches against unidentified clubs in Panama on 13 and 17 October before they open their campaign against Cuba on 22 October. Trinidad and Tobago will then tackle St Lucia on 24 October and Haiti on 26 October.
The top two teams advance to the semi-finals and gain automatic passage to the CONCACAF final round—which will be played in Costa Rica in February 2017—while the best third place group team also progresses as the Caribbean’s fifth team.
CONCACAF’s four top teams will represent the Confederation at the South Korea 2017 Under-20 World Cup.
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Jabari Brice (St Anthony’s College), Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys Hindu College);
Defenders: Taryk Sampson (Ma Pau Stars), Kierron Mason (Marabella Family CC), Rondell Payne (Naparima College), Jacob Sooklal (University of Ontario IT—Canada), Isaiah Garcia (W Connection), Kori Cupid (Presentation College, San F’do), Keston Julien (San Juan Jabloteh), Andrew Rullow (University of Charleston—USA), Noah Powder (New York Red Bulls II—USA);
Midfielders: Kareem Riley (Presentation College, San F’do), Shane Sandy (Naparima College), Jabari Mitchell (W Connection), Morgan Bruce (KRC Genk—Belgium), Jarred Dass (Stony Brook University—USA), Isaiah Hudson (Naparima College), Kathon St Hillaire (St Anthony’s College), Josh Toussaint (St Ann’s Rangers), Micah Lansiquot (East Mucurapo), Moses Jaikaran (Cengem Harlem Strikers);
Forwards: Nicholas Dillon (Central FC), Taofik Lucas Walker (DC United—USA).