Inside the chest of Fyzabad Secondary school football captain, Sharkeel Louison, beats the heart and soul of a true warrior. His dream is to put his small home town of Moruga on the international map, which he hopes will entice scouts to come and see the many sporting talents of the area.
Wired868 chatted with one on one with the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) standout:
What is your date of birth?
I was born on 16 July 1998.
What is your home town?
I hail from La Lune in Moruga, which people like to call the “the country”.
Who is your favorite player?
My favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo.
What is your favorite team?
(Smiles) Real Madrid of course!
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I am a very focused, serious person. I don’t like being around people who on foolishness, so I only like to lime with people who could give me good advice. Because I grow up with my mommy alone, I don’t like anybody to turn me away from the right path.
I like to be the leader. I don’t want to be the follower because I always like people to have my back. I know what I want in football, so I not allowing anybody to pull me off that path. I want to help my mommy, I just love my mommy.
What is something most people do not know about you?
That I am from a single parent home and I live with my mommy, Bridgette Charles, and my two little sisters. We are very poor but not because I am from quite Moruga and is only bush [means I don’t have anything to offer].
I want people to know the person that I am. I love to be with my friends, I love my mommy and my family. I am a real cool person who loves to play football and I just want to express my talent so that I can reach far in this life.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love to train. I like to keep fit and to go hunting with my friends. Otherwise, I have a schedule because I must keep up with my school work so that I can keep playing football.
So I train for half hour running and jogging, then I come in and study for an hour to an hour and a half. Then I have to assist my mommy with chores like washing the wares, bringing water inside and cleaning the yard. I like to help [around the house].
What do you hope to do when you finish school?
I want to put Moruga on the map, so I hope to capture the eye of one of the football scouts so I can gain a Pro League contract. I played [Youth] Pro League with Central FC and was [a member of] the Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team.
We qualified in 2014 for [the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship in] Honduras but I was not chosen as one of the players to go, even though I scored the goal to make us qualify. I would like to play [in the] Pro League and then play for a team in another country. It doesn’t matter where.
Do you know why you were not chosen to go to Honduras?
I missed a lot of the practice sessions which were at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva because I live in Moruga. At times, I had no money to travel to practice and getting transport to and from Moruga is hard. I told them that whenever I was late or did not come to practice.
Sometimes the physical therapist, Ryan, would give me a drop to Couva or San Fernando along with a little money to help me [get to or from] practice but that was it. So I believe this was the reason they didn’t pick me.
What would be success for you as a player?
I believe going to school and passing my exams, taking my training serious so that I can get a Pro League contract and play for the Soca Warriors. And if none of these work out, I have a plan. I want to be a soldier, maybe even go into the Air Guard.
Who was your most important coach/coaches and why?
My Under-17 National coach, Shawn Cooper. He encouraged me to be the best that I can be. I am always first on the field and ready to play. Coach always encouraged me by telling me that if I keep up that attitude and discipline I will go far.
On the field they call me Balazs, he is from Hungary, cause they say I play like him.
What makes you stand out as a player?
Like I said, I always love to be on the field first and I like people to follow me. So when I get on the field, I set up the play for others to follow. And considering my background and where I come from, I am very serious. So when I have the ball I am a different person. [Also] I can kick with my both feet so that makes me unique.
What was your best and worst moment in football so far?
Making the Trinidad and Tobago Under-17 National Team to go to Colombia and Haiti and getting on that plane and seeing the pride on my mommy’s face.
My worst experience is not having my both parents together and my mommy never seeing me play. She has never come to any of my matches and I don’t know why. All she says is do my best and bring home a win.
If she ever came to one of my matches that would make me play even better.
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And I just read Carlos Lee statement with respect to what others and himself from the country had to also go thru back in the days and the TTFF/TTFA didn’t even have their own bus to always pick up these players to make certain that they always have the best players. Them really good yes.
I think the kid’s best chance in the short run is the Defence Force. And thankfully he is good enough. Hope he can change his life starting there.
And these parents who doesn’t support their children by going and watch them play the football. I know maybe she has to work as a single mother with three kids, but oh gosh just at least one time and see him play nah, and this is what the American/ foreign parents have over the parents in our sweet country eh and they will never understand by just doing this how far in the sport their kids will finally reach just being there for them.
Every single game Earl Mango Pierre. Make it happen somehow. I do.
I know because I see you all the time Timothy Rochford and thumbs up man keep up the great work that you are doing with your boys.
Thanks Earl Mango Pierre. Will do.
I am now just reading the story and it really hurts my heart that our young footballers who really needs help and the TTFA doesn’t have nutten in place to do so and they are getting all the millions from FIFA for our football eh, and Mr. Live Wire you see I am always pelting our monies for this and for that so nutten is wrong with contacting me and with all the satire and bacchanal that I like eh I will get things done you know and this is the reason why it is very important to really get the Players Association up and running eh Gordon Pierre and when you yourself knows any players that really needs the help , need boots, monies to represent our national teams contact me nah nephew, Alyuh really good yes.
Sorry eh, I shoulda called you to give you a heads up
or or so it is you who is also sticking eh. hahaha
It’s crazy and sad sometimes how the youths who are passionate about their game are the ones who suffer and miss out albeit for different and sometimes frivolous reasons.
Tremendous young talent.God bless.This place could do with more like you.
Good good player saw him play on many occasions
Just catching up on this one Lasana. Fantastic story. But sad to say it’s not unique. Similar crap was occurring during my time, back in the early 80s. Talented players from the “country” have been suffering for years. First challenge was lack of opportunities to be seen/scouted by national team coaches. If you were lucky to be scouted and got called for the national team the next challenge was getting to practice. Practice sessions were usually scheduled for 8/9 am on Saturdays and Sundays and during my time it was nearly always in POS – national stadium, Police Barracks, Army Base, etc. Players coming from as far as Mayaro, Rio Claro, Point Fortin, La Brea, and me from Valencia had to leave home in the wee hours of the morning to make these early morning practices. Some of us had passage/money for transportation by only bus, while others were fortunate to have enough money to travel by taxi or maxi. And not just one, but sometimes 4-5 different taxis/buses depending on where you were coming from. And by the way, after practice on Saturday we all returned home, then repeated the journey the next morning. The TTFA promised us bus passes to help ease the transportation challenge, and 30 plus years later we still waiting on them. But you know what, those challenges didn’t affect us back then. We were excited about the opportunity for a call up. Most of us were pioneers in our village. We were often the first from our village to receive a call up for a national team and that brought a tremendous amount of pride in the community and within the family. We were hungry to do well, not just for ourselves, but also for our family and for the community. Our hunger sustained us, and motivated us to work harder. We were prepared to succeed in spite of our challenges. Sharkeel, the boy from La Lune, will persevere. He will succeed in spite of his current challenges. He will continue to make his mommy proud. We will help ensure of that.
Spot on my brother! Yes those early and mid 80s days. I remember borrowing a bike and riding to St. Augustin from Arima for training because of no money. Perseverance as you mentioned. We dreamed bigger than our obstacles. Bless up.
For real Junior? You rode from
Arima to St. Augustine? Lol. Then trained and rode back? No wonder they’re couldn’t get pass you back in the day. Lol
Dedication finds a way. Riding back hope meh chain slip out and ah fall down in front of a bus by where Chief Brand factory is around Macoya. I remember that like it was yesterday. Man coming from where we came from, you couldn’t miss a day like the youth said otherwise you sure to get dropped from the team.
for real. Lol
The same happened to me
Lasana.. I kid you not. I just read about this boy and it caused my eyes to water. A young man focused and I mean focused on his craft. I’m angry now.. I’m just fed up fed up of the incompetence of certain elements in football..
And maybe we need to congratulate the writer/interviewer as well. She must have some special talent to elicit such complete candour from her subject, who apparently held nothing back.
So, congratulations, Carlotta. You did a really good job on this one.
Well, this story has set wheels in motion, it seems; individuals are promising to help. But – and both the Editor and Brian Harry make the point repeatedly – the problem is really that there’s nothing systemic in place.
Maybe with Local Government Elections around the corner and talk of reform in that area in the air, the time is right for Wired868 to suggest what can be done to improve the infrastructural support we provide to our talented sons from rural communities.
And perhaps we need to make the discussion wider than just football and/or sport.
Kelvin, you should have a read.
That guy to the left in the caption photo equally as good and talented.
Darius Gill to the left also from Moruga and Alleric “shanto” Williams from Erin
You coaching down there Devon ?
Used to up until mid season 2015 but I have decided to go back into refereeing this year ……. However next season I will be joking the staff of my Alma mater fyzabad Anglican sec who just qualified for the championship division after 26 years or more
How do u rate Gill ?
GILL IS A FANTASTIC PLAYER………… REAL TALENT BUT A BIT LAZY AT TIMES ………….A GENERAL ON THE FEILD A REAL CLOWN OFF THE FEILD AND A SCHOLAR IN THE CLASS ROOM
Lasana Liburd I’m sorry for the wrong info the player to the right is actually Gregory ‘Pompey ‘ Charles….. Another fantastic young man I had the pleasure of scouting during my time on the technical staff…. Nice nice player who is actually a utility player…… Can play in any part of the defense be it center back or wing back or defensive midfielder …….
He is also excellent at making the overlapping runs and crosses…. A great passer of the ball……
Another hard working scholastic clown…. Rate him 8/10
I remember Alleric. He has talent too.
Lasana, these are some of the issues that we need to fix. This guy is good and I’ve heard that from many coaches. Here are two issues that stand out (1) no money so misses practice (2) his vision is to play in the local pro league.
Why should he miss practice for money reasons. Really? Who is psychologically preparing him and helping Jim to see beyond the local pro league. I wish that I can have time with players like him.
Yeah. Your ambition is limited by your vision. But he is young enough to have to time to thing further afield. And he did say he would love to play abroad too.
Lasana Liburd let’s discuss this offline, I will call later after I return from voting
When our U17s and U20s qualified for the respective World Cups in South Korea and Egypt, for the training sessions the TTFA had transport provided for the players, Players from Point, La Brea, Penal, Siparia, Vessigny, they were all provided with transport. Training sessions would be as far as Larry Gomes in Arima. In addition to transport, the players were given a substantial enough meal before their journey back, after practices. I am saddened that this is not still in place for these players. Managers and staff need to fight more to ensure their players are taken care of, and given a fair chance. I stand ready to assist in whatever way I can to ensure that this young man is given the opportunity he deserves, he and the others like him.
I have a good friend in Fyzabad so will hook up with her tomorrow and she may be able to talk to him after school and give me more info. Will report tomorrow.
Where there’s a will there is a way
Mad mad talent from that whole cross section of the country.
Sad to say only one notable person ever really made it recently, and that was women’s football.
Lewwe do something nah
There’s also a tantamount culture barrier to get through…not that easy…but yuh could try ah ting
I nearly cry with this story oui
Will take at least 1 hour and 15 minutes
So they have to leave home about 5ish..for traffic etc
To reach for 7 ? About 5:30 – 6:00…not sure how bad the road is and traffic situation
Traffic is bad thru that road from Siparia, the road is okish, was better a few months ago. Went down that way 2nite. And maxi aint going my speed. Took me bout half hour to Siparia
Ok…well to reach for 7…he hadda leave like 5:30 from La Lune
Through Penal Rock Road, to Penal, to Siparia, to Fyzabad
Ok..I din think of the Rock Rd…was thinking more Debe side
you can go rock road to peanal to siparia then fyzabad or through barackpore to debe / penal or through princess town to sanfernando then to fyzabad
Yeah I know the Debe and Sando route Devon
Through Debe too long
Kirwin whats the journey like from Moruga to Fyzo in a maxi, how long?
Is he going to school in Fyzo? If so, thats a long way to come.
School in fyzabad and lives in Moruga.
Lasana Liburd the boys sacrifice day and night even on Saturdays to make 7am training sessions
Training where Devon?
School in fyzabad
Just today I was there witnessing one of their sessions and he Incas humble as can be
How long does it take him to get to school Devon? How many taxis?
Is that the school on the Fyzo-Siparia Road? Through the teak etc?
Actually there are both male and female players from the greater Moruga area who come to fyzabad and the school tries to assist by hiring a small Maxi and paying half the cost for them….. How long will it last u really can’t say
Yes it is Savitri Maharaj
Ok..I know it
Wow! I had no idea
Any body wants to see him play it’s fyzabad Vs pleasantville @ mahica oval in point fortin on Wednesday @ 3 pm…. The first of a double header…. Lasana Liburd I hope to see you there especially
Yuh telling Lasana to come south..look trouble now Devon
Lol. I have been to Mahaica Oval twice in the last month already Savitri. And once each to Siparia and Penal.
That’s impossible this week though Devon. I’m preparing for the national game on Friday and I have related work to do. Hopefully they will advance.
Lolol..I know how that bridge is a bother nah..jk
Lol when we’re you in SIPARIA Lasana Liburd
AHAHA I DID REMEMBER HAVING TO TELL A CAMERA MAN HE EWAS TOO CLOSE TO LINES AND THEN SHIVA BOYS SCORED THE FIRST GOAL
Devon, for the SSFL opening.
I hope this kid fulfills his dreams…he sounds like an outstanding young man…the notion of not being able to get to training because of a lack of finances is disturbing in this day & age! That said it doesn’t surprise me because I know of a couple who dealt with these same challenges…actually it’s ridiculous and the powers that be should feel embarrassed about this young man’s revelation!
This kid embodies hard work and dedication. I remember Dwight telling my dad one time, if only his dad supported him the way my dad supported us he would reach far in football. Look where he reached. Keep your head up young man, people are watching and will help you along the way. Amazing story of perseverance really….
And trust me Brent. The boy can play. I really hope he gets the opportunity to make something from himself in the game.
At the worst, I think he will make a fine Defence Force player.
Cool Droggy, he might be giving you some goals to score in a season or two. 😉
Find out if he has good grades…. Let’s see what we can do…
He actually does and is dedicated to education
Hopefully Lasana Liburd lol
Anyone surprised why talent falls by the wayside in Trini? Imagine this dude has to fork out his own money to go to national team practice; money that he doesn’t have.
That means we are excluded dozens of talent from the chance of representing their country. We have got to find a way around that.
If anyone has his number, please send it to me.
Hi just sent you a message.
Thank you very much.
Joan, what are you planning? Inbox me, let’s see how I can assist
I have some friends who like to assist cases like these so I want to get in touch with this young man to find out more about him and his family and to offer assistance for his transport, gears etc. This is because sometimes a little can go a long way in ensuring that he is given a good chance to fulfill his dreams and for his mom to surprise him by attending some of his games. A lot of times it is easier than we think. We just need to ensure that there is no influence that will take any money given to assist and use it for the wrong things. I will talk to him and keep you posted. I may even take a drive and find his mom once she will take it in the right spirit. I will feel him out.
Sure…if you need company or any way I can help, let me know.
Thanks, Sav. Will do.
I can have it for you by tomorrow
You guys are awesome.
…the human within…
I sincerely hope that someone who reads this article takes charge of this situation. I get very angry when I hear stories like these where you have a young man with a level head on his shoulders eager to make a difference but simply cannot afford and there is no system in place to ensure that he gets the
Good read. Young fella is very clear and focused in his thinking.
God blessings Ballack. Very humble and gifted kid. Your Mother is doing an excellent job and you will make her and the Community of Moruga proud. Keep focused .
I know this young man personally and watched him grow from his early years in football to where he is presently but when youths like him come from these far distance in these remote areas their chances of making it is very slim to reach far because they have to perform at 100% daily after having to leave home from as early as 4 o clock in the morning to reach training for 8am and reaching home late at nights barely getting a good night rest. The ones who live close by have the advantage because they are rested well and get chosen in front because their performance remain constant. And not to mention the cost on a daily basis. This is really sad because I had my experience with this as a single parent where my son had to go to Arima from Moruga daily for training on a daily basis and got selected for the National under 20 team only to hear that they were sorry he did not make it because they selected someone else in his place the very last minute when we bought every single thing they told us he had to get and getting disappointed. These young people are emotionally and psycholocigally battered seriously from these experiences.I wish something could be done to help our young talented people in this country where money talks and favouritism exist denying them their opportunity to shine.
Awww! This was such a nice read. He sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders. If only there was some means to help kids like him who want to make something of themselves. Missing out on a trip because you don’t have taxi money to get to training is heartbreaking. I hope he gets the support needed to realize his goals and keep making Mommy proud!
Surely Social Development could have even provided a bus pass or something. What hurts is I find this was a fixable problem. But he still has his life ahead of him and I wish him the best.
Hope this youth attains his dreams wi
He is a talented midfielder too. I spotted him when Fyzabad played St Anthony’s. He bossed the midfielder and St Anthony’s were lucky to escape with a draw.
That Fyzabad team is one of the few teams that actually played a good brand of football – for some reason they got rid of their coach midway through the season and they faded a bit…the boy upfront is also a very good player – quick!
Bachanal was on d horizon when that happened
Yeh, it was disturbing to read that. I know for a fact that this has been going on for decades. It should not still be happening in this day and age.
Nigel, I am concerned that we do not have a system that allows talented young players an equal chance to represent their country.
Is the national team the domain of children with solid financial backgrounds now?
The TTFA can and should find a way to help these players get to training. I’m certain that they can partner with the government to get this done if they care about it enough.