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Isaiah wasn’t injured! Coach opens up on U-20 player’s controversial Caribbean Cup exit

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 head coach Brian Williams has cleared the air on Isaiah Hudson’s controversial departure from the national squad, in the midst of their Caribbean Cup tournament in Curaçao.

And Williams, a former Strike Squad standout, denied that Hudson was injured—as claimed by the player’s father, Brent Hudson—but instead said his exit seemed to be in retaliation to the W Connection attacker being left out of the team against Haiti, in their final group match.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 attacker Isaiah Hudson (centre) is denied by St Lucia goalkeeper Noah Didier during 2016 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 19 June 2016. Hudson is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 attacker Isaiah Hudson (centre) is denied by St Lucia goalkeeper Noah Didier during 2016 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 19 June 2016.
Hudson is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Hudson (B) told Wired868 that his son was not being properly treated in Curaçao and said the family’s decision to recall him was not affected by Williams’ decision to drop the player against Haiti—although two other injured players, Jacob Sooklal and Kierron Mason, remained with the squad for the entire competition.

“He has an injury and we are not comfortable with him having an injury and we see it fit for him to come home,” said Hudson (B), last week. “I didn’t discuss [with him] why he was on the bench [against Haiti]. We will probably talk about that when he gets home.

“Me and my wife were uncomfortable about him staying there [in his condition] because [the team] has already qualified. Taking care of Isaiah [now] will help Trinidad more in the long run.”

However, although Williams said Hudson had a sore shoulder, he denied that the player was ever declared unfit or even asked to be left out due to an injury.

“Nobody was aware of an Isaiah injury until we received the request from his father after the Haiti game,” Williams told Wired868. “The boy was training and playing as normal and was even doing pushups. I even asked Dexter Thomas, who is our qualified physio, and he said Isaiah never complained to him…

“Isaiah seems to want guaranteed playing time and I cannot give that to any player!”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams. (Courtesy TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 coach Brian Williams.
(Courtesy TTFA Media)

Remarkably, Williams, who is also a W Connection youth coach, said it was not the first time that Hudson (B) apparently threatened to withdraw his son. The first threat, according to the national youth coach, was relayed to him via players after he used Hudson off the substitutes’ bench for the first practice game of their pre-tournament tour in Panama.

“I was a bit concerned about Isaiah’s performance in the Under-17 competition but I was told that he was sick,” said Williams. “So I decided to give him some extra rest and bring him in gradually. So he wasn’t selected from the start for our first practice game in Panama.

“I understood from some players that his father said if he is not playing to come home. So I called Isaiah in to talk about it and he was giving a little attitude.

“He told me he wants to start and that a man who had just come was starting ahead of him. And I told him he didn’t have a divine right to start every time.”

Williams did start Hudson for Trinidad and Tobago’s two subsequent warm-up matches as well as their two opening Caribbean Cup fixtures. But against eventual champions, Haiti, the coach opted for more workmanlike wingers—in a bid to contain the French-speaking team’s adventurous full backs—and chose the tigerish Jarred Dass ahead of Hudson.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 winger Jarred Dass (right) tackles St Lucia defender Melvin Doxilly during 2016 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 19 June 2016. Dass was preferred to Isaiah Hudson for a crucial Caribbean Cup fixture against Haiti. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 winger Jarred Dass (right) tackles St Lucia defender Melvin Doxilly during 2016 Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 19 June 2016.
Dass was preferred to Isaiah Hudson for a crucial Caribbean Cup fixture against Haiti.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

That tactical decision, according to Williams, proved to be the last straw for Hudson (B).

“Due to how game went against Haiti [on Wednesday evening], with their wing backs coming at us, I wanted a player who worked more defensively and Isaiah is more of an offensive player,” said Williams. “On Thursday morning, we received a message from his father than he wanted his son to return immediately because he is injured and nobody cares about him…

“We received that request from his father in writing, so we had to agree… When we told Isaiah, he didn’t want to leave the camp. But we had no choice [but to send him home] because he is a 16 year old boy and there is a request from his father.”

The Warriors, who lost star striker Nicholas Dillon to injury against Haiti, went on to lose on penalties to Antigua and Barbuda before falling 3-2 to Bermuda in the third place play off.

Crucially, Williams rested Shiva Boys’ Hindu College goalkeeper Denzil Smith for the third place fixture. Smith did not concede a single goal in his first outings between the uprights.

However, the national youth coach said Dillon’s injury and Hudson’s departure was an unwelcome distraction.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Nicholas Dillon (right) celebrates one of his five goals against Turks and Caicos alongside teammate Isaiah Hudson during Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 17 June 2016. T&T won 11-0. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Nicholas Dillon (right) celebrates one of his five goals against Turks and Caicos alongside teammate Isaiah Hudson during Caribbean Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 17 June 2016.
T&T won 11-0.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“Dillon injured and Isaiah [Hudson] pulling out interfered with our team chemistry and balance,” said Williams. “We play with three attackers and we lost two.”

Williams and Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams, who is also the W Connection president, still have to decide on how to treat with the situation.

Ironically, it follows on the heels of another disciplinary breach with the senior team after star midfielder Kevin Molino left coach Stephen Hart’s camp to party for his second straight international tour.

Williams, who had Shiva Boys players Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel and Quinn Rodney shun a training camp in Guyana earlier in their preparations, said he is concerned about parents trying to hold the national team to ransom over playing time for their children.

“If parents can pull their players out of a national team camp when they want then I have to take that under consideration,” Williams told Wired868. “How can a parent just bring his child home if they are on the bench or if they are not satisfied with selection?

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College players (foreground, from left) Tyrel "Pappy" Emmanuel, Quinn Rodney and Yohannes Richardson pose after securing the SSFL Premier Division title in Pleasantville on 22 October 2016. All three were National Under-20 members but Rodney and Emmanuel pulled out of a pre-tournament tour while Richardson was not selected. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College players (foreground, from left) Tyrel “Pappy” Emmanuel, Quinn Rodney and Yohannes Richardson pose after securing the SSFL Premier Division title in Pleasantville on 22 October 2016.
All three were National Under-20 members but Rodney and Emmanuel pulled out of a pre-tournament tour while Richardson was not selected.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“I cannot guarantee any child on the national team playing time or selection… I cannot tolerate parents’ interference because I am working in the interest of the national team.”

Hudson (B) was ambiguous when asked about his son’s future with the National Under-20 Team.

“If the [national] coach feels to pick him and he is fit and feels like playing, I would let him play,” said the parent. “That is if he feels like playing of course.”

Williams retorted that he would have to be mindful of the potential issues which came with selecting the Naparima College schoolboy.

“I want players who have a hunger to represent the national team,” said Williams. “How his father might think about me is not my problem; because I cannot have a 16-year-old questioning selection all the time.

“You don’t have a divine right to play and I will have to consider how I will deal with you. Because if every time you are upset your father takes you out of the team, then we have a problem.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team midfielder Isaiah Hudson (right) tries to hold off Bermuda captain Zuhri Burgess during 2017 World Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 September 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team midfielder Isaiah Hudson (right) tries to hold off Bermuda captain Zuhri Burgess during 2017 World Cup qualifying action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

At present, the National Under-20 Team is the most successful men’s outfit in Caribbean competition during a lean period for the TTFA. The National Under-17 Team were eliminated in the Caribbean Cup’s group stage, despite playing at home, while the senior Soca Warriors were eliminated in the qualifying round in Martinique.

Williams said his troops benefitted from the Panama pre-tournament camp and insisted that there is better in-store. He plans to head to Tobago for a second scouting mission before he resumes training while he also hopes to have Netherlands Eredivisie winger, Levi Garcia, for the CONCACAF round in Costa Rica from 17 February to 5 March.

“The Panama tour was a real plus for us because of the exposure at international level,” said Williams. “The players responded well and there was an improvement in terms of our defensive discipline and attitude… I will continue to look for offensive players and try to improve our goal scoring and mobility in the final third.”

Ironically, Hudson, Rodney and Emmanuel are, potentially, three of the country’s best offensive talents. But Williams would need to be convinced about their commitment to the “Red, White and Black” before they allowed back into his fold.

“I am not creating a clean slate for people who are not committed to the national team,” said the National Under-20 coach. “I cannot call back men who are just walking out on me. I want players who will honour national team duty. I take a very firm stance on that.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) leaves St Vincent and the Grenadines defender Shawn Benjamin for dead during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016. Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0. Garcia has declared his interest to represent the National Under-20 Team. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago winger Levi Garcia (right) leaves St Vincent and the Grenadines defender Shawn Benjamin for dead during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain on 29 March 2016.
Trinidad and Tobago won 6-0. Garcia has declared his interest to represent the National Under-20 Team.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

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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285 comments

  1. Maybe my choice of words are poor

  2. Jamaal, if you think about it, you will realise that nobody here has any reason to be against DJW. People were not trying to sabotage his campaign. Quite the opposite in fact.
    Then ask yourself what might have changed. And why.
    If you start off by assuming “all of allyuh doh like him” then you will never hear what we are saying. And there will be no improvement.

  3. And in electoral politics there are allies and opponents . If Ramdhan had won Terry Fenwick would have been His Imperial Terry and who knows if you Lasana might be a happy camper today

  4. I am not saying that you said we must not speak but telling someone what to say and how to say it is in fact censorship

  5. If fact I will save it but I am never about censorship of free thinking viewpoints. In my defence of DJW you guys mistaking it for me saying doh tell the king nutten.

  6. No you know me I cool I see humour in everything but let me give an example eh.

  7. There will be some emotion, some picong and more besides once you hold public office. You have to take some of that too. You as a national coach would know that. So explain such to DJW.
    Or maybe Brent Hudson will us DJW is injured and has to go home! Hahaha. Just kidding Jamaal. Lighten up nah man.

  8. And I not thinned skin because I know for Lara to make his record he had to bat and bat and bat. Against all kind of bowling and yes I know some men does stone. This is the way of the world. I all for the healthy debate because at times my view differ from yours

  9. As I learned from an early age as a yute watching Sesame Street on #TTT “QUESTIONS ARE A GOOD WAY OF FINDING THINGS OUT”…..if we the public don’t ask questions we will never know anything about the plans and policies of our administrators…. So Keith let’s continue to be the voices of the people and Jamal I respect you too much to see you trying to defend a mad man by censoring the public opinions

  10. I have never not will ever suggest for anyone to stop asking questions or demanding accountability but maybe it’s just me but I see at times ridicule not Qs

  11. Jamaal with God as my witness, I will never stop asking questions or expecting that the TTFA president should be answerable to the public on his plans.
    I am happy to hear your views and I would definitely encourage you to share. We want to hear.
    But don’t tell us not to ask questions. You will be wasting your time.

  12. ..I does lash back. Jamaal know dat..

  13. Whenever we ask for information, Jamaal comes to boff us or Gordon Pierre comes to scream at us or insult us.
    Allyuh want to have us like abused spouses in this place yes. ???

  14. ..And the assessment is not good. I don’t care WHAT corporate TT wants to give, you need to have a plan first. Consultation with TTFA members was promised by the DJW campaign in the campaign for the presidency, i.e. BEFORE being elected. A year has passed and NOTHING serious has transpired in that regard, i.e. concerning the overall direction of the local game. I will support ANY TTFA initiative I consider to be worthwhile. But this administration is stumbling in the dark and its minions are comdemning those who are calling for light..

  15. I did media relations are always punctuated by caution and even distrust moreso in office rather out of office. It is built up as admins grow in confidence or reduces if they grow in arrogance.
    On the budgetary point Keith you will know that where Corporate TT are concerned your projected figures have very little bearing on their output. They give what they feel they should give. Your proposals are not as important as who you know, who feel sorry for you or as in the case of a Caledonia whose arm you could wring. I know you do not share my optimism but I feel certain Godwilling that communication and overall participation will improve. One year is a good moment to review and reflect .

  16. ..Nice try Jamaal. Good administration requires the development of a plan – VIA CONSULTATION – and thereafter, the budgeting of said plan. Then comes implementation. And monitoring. The consultation I refer to is a BROAD process involving all those who work in the areas covered bt the plan and who will be affected by the plan. Come nah man. You know that. Does W Connection FC start the season and then start to plan and budget for it? Come nah man..

  17. I think of the 4 persons who contested the TTFA election only one had experience before of being in the job. One year into the job he is a work in progress. He is told on Wired go get sponsorship and leave the coaches alone….ok fine…he goes and gets sponsorship 8 million highest I have seen….then he is attacked for not consulting or shown a youth development plan….has anyone considered that he has taken a good first step and he may be formulating a program to consult with the Keith’s and Tervors of the country and others who have the know how ? And that time will reach. Or do we think he DJW do he own development plan ?

    • How would we know if your president boasts of operating in silence Jamaal? Do you know how many press conferences he has had to address his term in office in the year since he was in charge? Zero.
      You’re saying we should hush and wait to see what happens?

  18. I honestly would like to hear what really one exoects. For e.g the coach acted properly the parent acted as all parents who believe their kid is the best thing since slice bread. How does that involve the Club owner who simultaneously is the TTFA President. What is expected of him in this regard ? On the one hand when a president acts autonomously we cry dictatorship yet on the other hand he is blamed for a loss or a 4th place. If the buck stops with me then I want Executive Authority .

  19. One question , so if the son goes abroad to play I wonder if the father will be making call ,when his son is on the bench.

  20. ..We have called for such a meeting from Day One of this administration..

  21. Well I don’t see the relevance of the fact that Hudson belongs to the club owned by the President. I think Brian has articulated and conducted himself well in these two potentially controversial issues. Moreso since he is not a blabbermouth like me. I think we must be careful not to demonize the President and see ghosts nor go to sleep with him on our minds

    • Nobody demonized the president Jamaal. But if you don’t see a potential conflict of interest in a situation where an irate parent, player, national coach and football president are all from the same club…
      Jamaal be honest with us nah. Everybody tries to be straightforward here. So you don’t see any potential for a conflict of interest there?!

  22. We would have gotten somewhere when meetings designed to advance our beautiful game are published so that stakeholders can participate and when coaching opportunities are advertised weeks and months ahead of them being convened. Same nonsense, different leader on a different date.

  23. And again they are going back again with the Dutch Coaching license eh, Holland ever win any World Cup eh, steeeupps. Look alyuh try alyuh best and stop fogging the beautiful game eh. Them really good yes.

  24. How can we be ever ready when the corrupted TTFA doesn’t have any policy in place with respect to our brand of playing the beautiful game eh, they recently had a Coaches meeting with Anton Corneal trying to put things in place with respect to the youth developmental program eh, and when asked about what policies that will be put in place eh the Technical Director couldn’t even answer the question steeuppss and where on Earth do we ever hear that Coaches who are coaching professional teams eh are also Coaching the school teams in our sweet country eh and last but not least the Coach of StAnns Rangers FC eh how many times he got fired as the head Coach eh only to be rehired again and again and again eh, are there not other professional Coaches in our sweet country eh, and they want to know why our football is in the state that it is in and still they still believes that they will one day dominate my second sweetest country at all levels eh, Brian Harry. Them really good yes.

  25. But this is the nature of our society and football, innit? LOL They put we so. Order demands clarity of vision and purpose; respect for the unit and the mission..

  26. Why can we just have simplified governance? Why all these conflicts and innuendo? We are really not ready for the big times or the big leagues

  27. Too much conflicts. ..real and apparent

  28. Carlos Lee, did you consider that the coach might be under an unusual sort of pressure too since the TTFA president is also head of his club team and Hudson appears to be the jewel of the said club?
    Maybe that might have something to do with the responses from all side. What do you think Jamaal Shabazz?

  29. If Hudson demanded to be sent home because he was left out, then he also disrespected Jarred Dass.

  30. If tactically a change is made to fit the opponent u r playing…thats what coaching is about….so if we hav 2 players plaguing the Coach’s mind and he chooses one based on what he observed the opposing team doing…. that trickles down to very good coaching tactics and we have to understand things from the Coach’s viewpoint…..it must also furthur trickle down to the mind of the player… where he must have the understanding of being happy for a team mate in a National team set up….if he is chosen i am happy for him…if i am chosen be happy for me…we r both young players in part of a National set up….so the maturity of the kid can be hindered in this case bcuz of outside interference…..that in turn doesnt end well for any of the parties involved…..if u r not chosen to play a game….have some respect for the Coach’s decision..whether u like it or not….when u r chosen…someone else is not chosen…should that kid’s parent pull him from the team….bcuz this can open a can of worms if not handled properly

  31. Some of these bootleg Coaches are not even head Coaches at club level eh but they are nominated to Coach our national youth teams and then blaming the players when we are eliminated eh and hence the reason why we are always struggling to get results steeuppss. Them really good yes.

  32. ..Yes. But players must ALWAYS be clear that the coach is fully prepared to proceed without them.. ONE boss..

  33. It is amazing how these coaches who are supposed to be exemplars for these footballers are so willing to tarnish the name of young people just to hide the truth or save their job, it is sad that Brian Williams has gone the way of trying to give Hudson a bad name when the child has done nothing wrong. Hudson is one of the most disciplined players I know and many will attest to that, whatever Brian Williams and they are trying to do to this sixteen year old is very unfortunate but the truth will always emerge.

  34. How has he thrown him under the bus? He hasn’t ruled him out of future selection. He is making clarifying statement and I dare say, the parent now can humble himself and have a reasonable dialogue about his concerns. I totally believe that coaching isn’t all done on the field of play and I would beg to differ on your interpretation. Let’s agree to disagree

  35. Diva behavior or tt football at its best???

  36. The only ‘ victim’ here is football

  37. ..Brian is clearly the victim, yes victim, of an unconsciously developing group of players who feel they can call shots in this U20 team. First the Guyana set. Now this. Leave all of them home if they cannot accept that players must be there for the team and not vice versa..

  38. The coach has to rise above the parent and be the adult in the situation though. He’s got to keep details private even though he feels an obligation to respond.

    • Every coach decides when to go public and when to keep things quiet. And there are reasons for it.
      Keeping everything quiet is not always the right thing and the opposite is also true. If you think of it, I’m sure you can think of situations where either might work.

    • Not disagreeing with you totally but you get into a he said/she said situation. If as the coach the player leaves and I simply agree that he was injured and let it go would it be an issue? Why do we always have to respond. Dad says he was hurt, OK I agree he was hurt. When it comes to team selection for the next tournament he is not selected. What’s the issue?

    • The parent said he was mistreated by staff. And a player leaves in mid-tournament. I don’t see how the TTFA can avoid making a statement personally.
      I hear what you say about avoiding a he said/she said. I don’t think Brian dived in the gutter personally.
      But I think, as a body responsible for children and who just raised millions to develop more children, the TTFA couldn’t just ignore the allegations that were made here.

    • Trini coaches aren’t trained professionally to deal with the media. Sure we like the drama but he could have handled it differently. I agree that the TTFA failed him by not providing a statement to the press though. They basically left the coach out to dry

    • And the staff was hung out to dry too. It is a serious accusation, particularly levelled at a youth coach. Brian Williams works at Petrotrin. For all I know, those accusations might even cause discomfort for him with the company that actually pays his wages.

  39. Full support for Brian Williams. No player is bigger than the team. Also, anybody with football sense would understand that there are tactical changes. Yes hudson may be a better player than jared dass who replaced him in certain aspects of the game… but the coach needed something for that game so he replaced hudson with dass. Thats the purpose of having a squad of 18 and not 11. Absolute nonsense by the parent… If it were some foreign club and he didnt see the field for 12 games straight it wouldnt be an issue. But in Trinidad we allow players to become “bigger than the team and the game” and these things happen.If this continues Hudson will reach NO where in football and does not deserve to represent our country. If it is about you as a individual getting minutes then you are not for the team or your country.. I could identify a situation similar to this on the National Under 17 team and that player did not wlk off the team. His parent did not encourage him to leave the team and that player continued showing full support for the team and the players even in a time that was difficult for him as an individual.

  40. ..No. I am saying once the parent goes public then the coach may feel the need to respond. BOTH should have dealt with the matter privately but a parent has no cause to evacuate his son from a team abroad unless there is a dire personal emergency..

  41. I get that the comment that they not cherishing him can hurt but hey… its par for the course.. put on your big boy drawers and deal with it professionally…

  42. So you telling me that this could not be thrashed out in a better manner?

  43. . OR it could become a matter of self preservation if the coach believes external parties are making him look bad by claiming he is using an injured player. Then it is HIS career that is in potential jeopardy?..

  44. No coach should put out there for the WORLD…that a young player wants guaranteed time and feigning injury… it can destroy his entire future…

  45. The most convenient option is to leave him out. That is more so urgent than important .Those three(3) are to much talent to just leave out form the scheme of thing . Coaches in this country needs to have more players management skills , to compliment their Technical and Tactical abilities. Manage the young players , manage the situation , out the fires at the team level. TTFA, DJW, must insist on all teams; from the secondary colleges league up the ranks to the national have a structured communication plan, inclusive of KPI’s , feedback analysis and recommendations. Pick up anomalies early. Another idea worth considering is the setting up of career guidance officer attached to each youth team, similar to the academic career in the secondary school. What coaches putting out in the public domain must be responsible , connotations, interpretation can have disastrous long term effect on young talent when they themselves may have deficiencies

  46. I love what Spice man is doing with his son… many a talented youth has fallen by the wayside because of improper handling and internal politics. Dexter i am certain you know how difficult it was for you, Brent doing his best to protect his son