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T&T U-15s lose 4-0 to C/Rica; Latapy: Tactical awareness and experience made the difference

Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 head coach Russell Latapy pointed to experience and tactical awareness, as two areas in which his charges must improve after they started their CONCACAF Under-15 Championship campaign today with a 4-0 loss to Costa Rica in Bradenton, Florida, USA.

The young Soca Warriors conceded two soft goals in the first half as miscommunication between goalkeeper Jahiem Wickham and his defence gifted Manfred Ugalde the opener in the 14th minute. And Wickham misjudged a cross from Costa Rica captain Jose Tello, which he palmed into his own goal for the second item in the 40th minute.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Team coach Russell Latapy (left) likes what he sees during an exhibition match at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

A close range finish by Giancarlo Castro and a penalty by Dereck Valentin—in the 44th and 59th minutes respectively—rounded off the score summary.

But, despite the scoreline, Latapy said his troops gave a decent account of themselves.

“I thought that the better team eventually won the game [but] we had a couple opportunities, especially one in the first minute, which we should have probably scored,” Latapy told the TTFA Media, “and the game would have been a different one if we were playing from the front. The difference in the both teams wasn’t quality but instead tactical awareness.

“You can tell the Costa Rican players were playing at a high level and they were able to manage the game better at different stages. We are a team that is getting to that point, which is where matches like these will serve us well going forward.”

Trinidad and Tobago play again tomorrow when they face Canada while their final Group B match is against the United States on Wednesday. United States edged Canada 1-0 today.

Before the tournament, Latapy said he was very happy with the ability of his squad and today’s loss did not change his mind.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 playmaker Josiah Edwards (right) tries to escape from Republic Bank XI defender Nathan Guy (centre) while his teammate Keron Manswell looks on during action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“In terms of technical ability, we were right there [and] if you looked at the game, you would’t think it was a 4-0 scoreline,” said Latapy. “But a lack of playing at that level affected us… Most importantly for the players is that it’s a great experience and a fantastic learning curve.

“I am hoping that our players can see the difference between the two teams is that [Costa Rica] were a bit better tactically and played their positions better whereby we were still getting into a bit more individual play and holding the ball in the wrong [areas].”

Despite the daunting group, Latapy still believes the Under-15s can qualify for the knockout stage of the competition.

“We need to win the two games to get through to the knockout stages but we are going to go for it,” said the former Trinidad and Tobago football icon. “I was fairly happy with some of the things I saw. We are a much better team than we were earlier in the year but we still need the experience of playing international games in which this here is part of the process.”

Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-15 Team players pose before kick off against a Republic Bank XI at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 15 April 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Trinidad and Tobago (starting team): 1.Jahiem Wickham (GK); 2.Randy Antoine, 5.Cephas St Rose, 16.Marc Wharfe, 3.Darian Bradshaw; 13.Zachary Welch, 9.Ezekiel Kesar (captain); 7.Jean-Heim Mc Fee, 10.Josiah Edwards, 11.Jaiye Sheppard; 17.Justin Araujo-Wilson.

Substitutes: 18.Kernel La Fon (GK), 4.Antonio Chee Ting, 12.Rhowen Stewart-Williams, 6.Jabari Lee, 15.Adriel George, 8.Josiah Allen, 14.Aamal Julien.

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247 comments

  1. We finished off the tournament this morning with a 3-0 loss to Canada.

  2. We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water. These kids who are 13 and 14 years of age can still develop. Yes we may be behind the 8 ball but with proper coaching and development they can still improve and develop into a success.

  3. The reason why the corrupted TTFA never reached out to you my Prof Earl Carter is because of your out spoken way eh along with Jan Steadman, and a few others who the corrupted Jack Warner couldn’t have as his puppets on a string eh so hence the reason why you along with the others were all blacklisted for life ent my Prof Jamaal Shabazz. Them really good yes.

  4. The TTFA has never reached out to people who can help. I want to help, but the dishonesty, cronyism and the haphazard way in which we conduct business is very defeating the purpose to advance the game in a progressive way all round. I have to run now.

  5. And if all the Coaches was white eh, they wudda get everything that they need to be very successful in our sweet country and our football would have been on a different level today. Them really good yes steeuuppsss

  6. That is why we should be more sympathetic to our young players . Help them to grow, help them to grow , help them to grow.I have to run now.

  7. I agree with you earl that is possible in a real world not this crazy country we call Trinidad

  8. Nepotism has always been an issue since the most qualified coaches are not hired and as a result,the structure suffers because we cannot build a foundation with individuals who have not clue how to get the job done. Getting the job done means setting proper standards, facilities, in place and financial backing to motivate the players. And most of all COACHES who understand the game to instruct young minds. Take a look at what Brain said above my comment.

  9. The talent is there. The structure isn’t. Starts at the top. Once someone serious and credible is at the head of the TTFA, there can be progress in my opinion

  10. You are being disingenuous my friend . As throughout our country’s history, structure has always been the issue and still remains.

  11. We had structure especially at the youth club level / coaching school

  12. I understand I am referring to the 80 and 90 ‘s

  13. Yes you are correct about the system that was available to select players was not perfect , but it worked fairly well. What i take issue with is your suggestion about structure. Follow me here. Most of our footballers during the sixties and seventies learn to play soccer either from watching soccer on Television or watching the older soccer players . For, example, we learned to control and pass , head the ball, shoot etc, all by looking , developing an awareness as to what need’s to be done. What are you speaking about ,when you mention structure? You don’t understand what you are saying . Lasana you suggested Dion has a point about our players are not good. Think about this. 1974 our national u 19 team were in camp for ten days , we came third due to the luck of the draw with Cuba, Mexico Trinidad and Tobago. When we lost the semi final 2-0 to Cuba , the Mexican national coaching staff visited Alvin Corneal to congratulate us for loosing to Cuba .Mexico were in camp for one year. The Mexican staff told Alvin they will win the tournament , and yes they did. Where all that talent came from for us. The majority of our players were playing First Div football in the North South East Central .Where was the structure ? That was the structure, play with players who are twice time your age. Dion do you get it my friend ?

  14. Look at the quality players he produced in the 80 “s 90 ‘s for national team and school teams

  15. Jah lillywhite spent countless hours months years making sure we were fundamentally sound to be able to adapt to any environment

  16. Yeah even the development of our young ladies is in ah mess. Them really good yes.

  17. I used to look forward to playing against the star studded east zone team because it provided that measuring stick of where you were as a player if you could hold your own against the best you definitely had a good chance to impress the national selectors

  18. Earl we had zonal football where the top players were selected in their relative zones and we competed against each other which made up the national team .when it had screening if 200 players showed up 188 were of good quality now if you have screening you may get 5 to 8 good quality kids the talent pool is very small because the local coaches are only concerned with wins not development

  19. Dion La Foucade you need to stop being quiet and join this discussion my real professional coach for life to educate our want to be coaches in our sweet country before all is lost eh.Them really good yes.

  20. Sosa don’t go there. For what ever structure there was back in my time, soccer was a seasonal sport.. There was not any development for young players , because most of us at that time had to jostle for position with the older players in my community .We did not have a coach. We had one soccer ball no soccer shoes no appropriate outfit , no support from the government .We would have as much as 40 players on the field on any given evening. Many of the so called coaches were really managers . What structure are you talking about ?

  21. I just need to understand…why after 20+ years we still saying that the speed of the game overseas is so much faster and our youth teams always in shock? Is since Alcons and Jean Lillywhite playing overseas tournaments we hearing that. No coach know how to develop that at the youth level yet?

  22. What people don’t understand whether latas or mourinho pep or ancellotti coached this and other national youth teams the players are sub standard with very poor tactical and technical ability

    • Dion Sosa. I am afraid that you should not speak about our u 15 soccer players in such a tone. You have mentioned several top coaches from around the world who could not make a difference with this present crop of players. How are you sure about that? Do you have the experience and understanding about coaching to speak the way you do.

    • At age 15 i was a track and field athlete for Trincity Striders as a highly favored middle distance in the Junior division . As well as ,i played the field not only for my school, but for Five Rivers Eagles in the Eddie Heart football league.I began goalkeeping in June of 1972 .

    • What do you have to say about that? The reason why i asked is because you know what i did and where i have been ? Why are we always quick to write off our sports men , and women.

    • That’s exactly my point earl back in our time the quality was much better the structure was there

    • What if Vernon Bain thought process was similar then the world would have never seen a Earl Carter as the goalkeeper i became. Let us help these young players . Hasley Crawford was neglected as well by the ministry of sports, just before he won the goal medel in 1976. Let us give the young players hope. We have to make them important, because they are.

    • Well a good coach can probably make any team 10 percent better. Even though there is no denying our football system does have obvious flaws.

    • And just to add Dion Sosa if those top of the line real professional Coaches was coaching our U 15 or any other one of our national teams they wudda definitely have their own scouts, scouting for the better players around the world and also in our sweet country eh and not allowed the bootleg coaches and administrators to do so for them, ah set a friend thing steeuuppss Them really good yes.

    • I met meh good Coach friend yesterday and he said that Lattas told him that if he wants his player to make his national team eh he has to start going to Fatima College and that is the kind of madness that is taking place in our sweet country, so the player told his coach, “To hell with Lattas eh I am not leaving my school and go to Fatima College in order to play for the national youth team, no wonder why the team got so many goals and lost all the games, and the player is a promising future prolific goal scorer eh Them really good yes.

    • Earl that doesn’t make sense. From 18 players, I think there are just two Fatima players on the squad, Latapy didn’t attend or coach at Fatima and has no particular allegiance with coaches there either.
      Remember we don’t do libel eh. So be careful.

  23. I cannot believe that poor little children from Costa Rica are that much better than our boys. We lose at football mentally and from early o’clock.

  24. Behind you say,it’s more like the football gone thru in our sweet country eh because the wrong folks is always running the show. Them really good yes

  25. We are behind ,let’s be honest

  26. Call me a dreamer – but imagine the impact on our program it would have if Latas was able to successfully develop this U15 team to U17 and even to the U19 level. Imagine by U17 we start competing with the likes of the US and Mexico, and then by U19 we start kicking serious ass in the Concacaf and even at the youth WC level. Think about what a potential blue print like that could do to our football program. Think about the impact on our future national teams, where we would now have a productive pipeline of youth players coming through the ranks and coaches who move with their teams through the development cycle. If we had to develop such a blue print, isn’t Latas a good choice to experiment with? He’s arguably our most technically gifted player ever. He’s entered the national ranks at the U14 level, after coming through the zonal system in place at the time. He went from U14 to U16, to U19, to the national senior team and eventually went on to play at the professional level at some of the top clubs in Europe. The little magician then went on to get his coaching credentials, and after several years of apprenticeship he has made himself available to help develop the game in his home country. Isn’t he the ideal candidate to pilot this experiment? Doesn’t he deserve the opportunity to succeed (or fail)?

  27. Malik – you were a bit more wordy than I was but ultimately we’re saying the same thing. Lol. The difference is I’m saying let’s allow the brother and the team time to develop and start competing with the perennial Concacaf powerhouses. 6 months is simply not sufficient for us to suddenly give teams like the US, Mexico, and Costa Rica a run for their money.

  28. I wasn’t gonna post anything about the 2nd beat down but the mentality or rather the constant excuses we make about us being a doormat turned my stomach. Let’s look at the facts. ….. are we ever going to have or even come close to the US level of preparation? NO!! Does that mean that we will never be able to beat them? Bertil St Clairs team beat the US 1-0 Nixon scored. The US will always be one of if not the best prepared squad ever yet ….there are teams out there that can and have beaten them. So at the end of the day it’s not about what they do …it’s about what you do to prepare your team. To hear Latapys quotes about the game is a lesson in futility …we’re much better than we were after you lost 4-0 and 6-0. With the US at youth level you’re gonna get a supreme level of fitness and competitiveness a standard that can be implemented into any team (I guess we’re gonna day our structure doesn’t allow for that as well right …yeah right) and solid basics pushing overloads in attacking positions and defensive positions (support off the ball at all times) and a solid grasp of basic ball possession (rondos) …NO flair or even dynamism just discipline and a command of the basics We have been to tournaments and know our weaknesses ….. does it look like we addressed any? Instead we talk about our youth structure, the ssfl …how tough it is to coach the U-15 they don’t grasp it…. the goalie …. all kind of excuses to compensate for the fact that given the time frame and resources this team has been poorly prepared. I’ve said it before I’m not looking for miracles ….I’m looking for signs of improvement and signs of development …despite all our excuses and shortcomings we don’t need to coach a team to score 0 goals and concede 10 goals vs two teams …. we simply need to close our eyes and pick any team in our youth league. Implement a structure, a tactical plan …focus on your weakness and stop talking about what other f****** teams are doing for preparation. Maximise your talents and resources don’t envy others ….weak arguments to support mediocrity !!

  29. Let’s give the coach and team some time to develop. This is the coach’s first attempt to groom a team from scratch. Give him time to work with the young boys – to infuse his style and philosophy on the team. He’s had the team for a mere 6 months. The US, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and a few others are years ahead of us. We are playing catch up. Let’s manage our expectations and give him the time he needs. Terence – you would be asking for the same if you were in his position.

    • No it isn’t his first time grooming a national team from scratch Carlos. That’s a false statement.

    • I believe this is his first Lasana. But please correct me if I’m wrong. What other team was he afforded the opportunity to build from the start? His last team (U17) he came in 2 months before the tournament. And before that he had the national senior team, which he inherited from the Columbian just prior to the 2010 WC.

    • Carlos, he coached the team in the 2010 World Cup which he inherited from Maturana. But after the WC, he got the job to rebuild the team. He had friendlies in Trinidad, a tour in Argentina, games in the Caribbean… He moulded his own squad then. They were then eliminated in the group stage of the Caribbean Cup.

    • So he had team for a year and a half as head coach and more when you count time as assistant. And he had a free rein.
      I’m not drawing conclusions on his coaching based on that: some people might say it is a mark against him, some might say he needed more time.
      But he definitely groomed his own squad.

    • Let’s put things in context here Lasana. Let it be known that during that period our key players were blacklisted by Jack. But fair point, he did have an opportunity to groom his squad.

    • Absolutely wrong again Carlos Lee. Latapy had no blacklist. That ended with Rijsbergen. Now it seems like you are just going to keep inventing facts to defend Latapy.
      Like you have a horse in the race yes.

    • It seems that Carlos Lee is bootleg to yes get your facts right nah man and come again. Them really good yes hahahahaha

    • Lasana Liburd – Let me know what you think about this 2010 article and comments by Jack. http://www.newsday.co.tt/sport/0,121396.html

    • Buh A A like you is a walking football encyclopedia the same like Nigel Myers and mehself eh Carlos Lee hahahaha

    • Carlos, I am glad to assist you. The players among the 16 Soca Warriors suing the TTFA who played under Latapy were: Cornell Glen, Anthony Wolfe, Marvin Andrews, Chris Birchall, Avery John, Kenwyne Jones and Collin Samuel.
      The blacklist ended under Wim Rijsbergen. Any further questions?

    • And Carlos Lee in 2010, Brent Sancho was the North East Stars CEO while Kelvin Jack (after being ravaged with injuries) was a back up goalie at a lower division team and not getting minutes.
      http://m.guardian.co.tt/archives/sports/other-sports/2010/03/20/lotto-signs-uniform-deal-north-east-stars

    • Kelvin – would be good to get your take here. Did the blacklisting of players end in 2006-2007, with coach Rijsbergen? Or did it continue towards 2010ish?

    • Carlos Lee, so your argument is that a solitary player was blacklisted and Latapy’s failure to be able to use a player–who was not getting any competitive minutes–makes his team a ‘B’ squad?
      You can just give an opinion on Latapy and leave it there. That would be fine. It is the trying to invent facts part that I have a problem with. And you just won’t give up clearly.
      If I see you make incorrect statements, I would step in and try to correct readers who might be misled.

    • And all that to make the bizarre claim that a man now coaching in his FOURTH tournament never really got a chance and shouldn’t be judged based on his record. Ridiculous.
      Your loyalty to Latapy is uninspiring to me because I believe people should be judged based on merit and not on who they know and are friends with.

    • You putting words in my mouth Las. My statements are pretty clear. Not sure why you’re misquoting me.

    • Carlos Lee you’re deflecting. First you said this was Latapy’s first chance to build squad. I proved you were wrong.
      You said he inherited Maturana’s team. I proved he got chance to build from scratch.
      Then you said he had “key players” blacklisted. I prove that was incorrect and only 2006 player he didn’t use didn’t play a minute of competitive football during Latapy’s tenure…
      Now you’re saying I’m misquoting you? 🤔🤔
      Why not just say you got that wrong but you still believe Latapy would be a great coach?
      I’ve no problem with you believing that Latapy can be a great coach. Just don’t try to mislead readers with made-up “facts”.

    • In none of my comments did I say Latas shouldn’t be judged on his record. The point I have been trying to drive home is to allow the brother the time to develop his young squad. To me 6 months is not sufficient to build a team, especially under the conditions. All coaches should be allowed a suitable amount of time to succeed or fail. I was not in favor of Dennis Lawrence getting the senior team coaching job, but do I think he should be fired if we don’t qualify for the 2018 WC? No, because I believe that now that we have made a decision to hire him we need to commit to him and give him the time to do his thing. 1-2 years from now I’ll be ready to judge him. Anyway – that’s it from me for the day. Good luck to Latas and the U15 team. It’s clear in Trini we love success, but fail to understand, appreciate, and embrace the many failures that one encounters on on the way to it. We live in a microwave society where everything has to be instant and immediate. Peace out!

    • Should Saintfiet have been given a year too? You earn time pardners. There are things you can do at any workplace which could get you fired on the first day.
      So I think it is naive to think that any coach deserves a year or two years or three years.
      What you should be saying is WHY you think he deserves or doesn’t deserve more time. That would be a better argument.
      And I expect you have a microwave in your house. Not so? There is a reason for that.

    • Carlos Lee what microwave society eh, you mean “Not a real country” so anything goes eh…Them really good yes.

  30. Terry I feel sometimes that names are selected not coaches……..

  31. For clarity, while I see the U15 group was always going to be difficult my view and point was why didn’t we prepare ourselves to be a shock, a surprise!

    We have gone into a tournament knowing the opposition are better and we have not come up with a plan to create a shock and a chance? Why go? If we are just going to be rolled over, why bother?

    Coaches at these age groups must be motivational first, good coaches second and creative third? We the coaches are letting down the kids by throwing them into situations they can’t win without a plan to be competitive. Smh

  32. His dad was a boss player, so I imagine he’s going to be a good one.

  33. Lol – Brian. What timing. We were on the same page.

  34. Wanted to share US under 15 prep opposition and results to give this discussion context.
    https://www.ussoccer.com/us-under15-boys-national-team/results-statistics

  35. Terry we have always fared poorly at U15 level. The U15 team I was part of with Jean Lilly white as coach are the only ones to actually do well in a tournament 26-27 years ago.we prepared for a long long time and Jean was super patient with us. As I mentioned earlier Russell may very well be a poor coach but what I also know is that there are unrealistic expectations as we reamain terribly disorganised with no tangible development plan to progress..

    • Kelvin Jack I’m tremendously disappointed in your politically correct and sugar coated responses to Terry Fenwick’s comments. He continues his attacks on anyone hired to coach the national teams now it is Latapy, prior to this it was Dennis Lawrence etc etc. Administrations past and present have not been spared also.
      Mr. Fenwick should be guided by his coaching record as stated by Wikipedia when he decides to make condescending comments about the abilities of other coaches.

    • Kester.. one thing I’m not is politically correct.. I also think many of the coaches hired are useless.. I’ve said it countless times.. I grew up being coached by some of these guys and they’re not good enough.. I don’t know Russell as a coach.. I know him as a fantastic player with a very good footballing brain. I’m also not present at his training sessions so I can’t be too bold.. all I can say is that the age group he has are very challenging indeed and repetition would help them improve. I do know Terry as a person.. as a man and as a coach.. trust me when I tell you this..terry Fenwick is a top class manager.. I have been manger by some complete football dodos and he isn’t one.. we are very lucky to have him in Trinidad and Tobago. The man is quality. I will tell you this.. terry helped me improve dramatically just by imparting knowledge from his footballing brain.. the things he says.. how he says it.. he is a manager and psychologist and the guy made me mentally powerful.. he, Arthur Brown, john Granville, jean Lilly white, Dexter Francis.. yes Dexter Francis.. he took me under his wing when I was a young keeper.. it’s hard for me to criticise Terry when he had a huge hand in giving me the mental strength and belief I could help Trinidad and Tobago qualify for a World Cup.. his expertise has not been utilised and it’s a great shame but not a shock as we in Trinidad and Tobago have this knack of not utilising intelligence and vision when it’s right there to be utilised.

  36. There are players that are on the team that should not be there and Lataz is the primary reason. There is a distinct prejudice against players from the south and rural areas.

  37. Lataz is not made for coaching. He was a very good attacking midfielder but that is where it ends

  38. Well maybe he mean’t that it is ah set ah shit hounds that are being developed in these times in our sweet country compared to many moons ago and the other players in Central/ South American, Asia,Europe, Canada,Africa, and in my second sweetest country that is all. they cannot even score 1 goal as usual. steeuuppss Them really good yes

  39. I am curious as to what exactly Russell Latapy meant when he referred to the quality of our squad though. Hope he explains further so we can better understand what we are working with–even if it is just in his opinion.

  40. Hence the reason why the professional teams in our sweet country always getting beat up by the teams in the Concacaf club championships and my MLS teams eh, they cannot even beat up our second string teams and kill them dead they always feels that they reach, ah set ah bootleg players and coaches competing against the real professional players and coaches in my second sweetest country and Central/ South American real football countries. Them really good yes.

  41. Listen the issue of selection of coaches will always be a problem. There is no standard for selection. We have had national youth coaches without any qualifications. Some just have certificates of participation. Then there are the pro league coaches who assemble a team but do little coaching(teaching) so the players learn very little

  42. Wayne Mandeville just let the Magician know that I have in my possession some top of the line Coaching Football DVD”S eh so when he is ready, he can link me up and if he wants me to be his Coaching mentor eh I won’t even charge him and don’t mind that he has a top of the line coaching license, I can still teach him a thing or two.