Humble and unassuming, Trinity College East custodian Emmanuel “Manny” John looks down on no one; he does, however, hope that there will one day be many local players who are looking up at him.
The young goalkeeper credits Maracas United Football Club Youth Academy coach Marlon Charles for much of what he has been able to achieve on and off the field, since the coach is someone with whom he has interacted for many years.
So great was the pleasure he experienced when he once won a Man-of-the-Match award that he has set himself a goal of repeating the feat as often as he can. Ultimately, he wants to take his football all the way to the world stage and become in the process an inspiration to any number of local players.
Growing up in Maracas, St Joseph, the young man is very much a family man and he has developed a real love of nature. One of his favourite pastimes is liming by the river and he sees no contradiction in the fact that he is also very fond of video games.
There is no contradiction, however, in his choice of his favourite players, both of whom are goalkeepers. One of them is Keylor Navas, a Costa Rican who plays in Spain for Real Madrid, while the other is Jan-Michael Williams, a Trinidadian who currently plays in Honduras with Juticalpa FC.
John’s eyes may not be set on either Honduras or Costa Rica or Spain but he certainly intends one of these days to get out there and give the local lads good reason to look up to him.
Do you have a nickname you want to share?
People call me “Manny.”
What is your date of birth?
February 11, 2001.
What is your hometown?
Maracas, St. Joseph.
What is one thing most people do not know about you?
Some people don’t know I’m a quiet person and I don’t really get into fights in school or in parties.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I play video games, spend time with my family and I like to go [to the] river.
What do you hope to do when you finish school?
I’d like to become a professional footballer or even go into the army and play [football for them].
Do you intend to pursue tertiary level education?
Yes, but [I have] nowhere specific in mind.
What would be success for you as a player?
To become a good footballer, get a professional contract outside of Trinidad and become an idol to plenty local players.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I’m a very quiet person. I’m a hardworking person also, on and off the field.
Who was/were your most important coach/coaches and why?
I would have to say coach Marlon Charles. Ever since I was young, he has been Maracas [United Football Club] Youth Academy’s football coach. He’s always encouraged me to work hard.
What makes you stand out as a player?
My kicking technique and my ability to throw far as a goalkeeper. I also know how to talk to my backline and encourage my team, even when we are down.
Who is you favourite player, local or foreign, and why?[My favourite] foreign player is Keylor Navas. He is a very hardworking goalkeeper; he’s determined, very aggressive and always steps up in big games.
Jan-Michael Williams is my favourite local player because he’s also a determined goalkeeper. I saw him train a few times. He was very serious and he took his training seriously.
What has been your best moment in football so far?
When we played against Speyside in the only game we won for that season; it was one of my best games since I’ve played school football. During the first half, we were four goals up, the team kept coming at us and we were getting tired. There were shots I had to save so that [the other team] didn’t draw or win. I was [named] Man-of-the-Match in that game.
And your worst?
My worst moment was when I was on the National Under-17 team and we played against Bermuda. I went up for a ball that slipped through my hands and one of the Bermudan strikers just ran on and tapped it in. That was embarrassing.
How do you feel about local football?
I feel coaches of the national team should focus on the youth. Youth development is very important. Most of the players on the national team, like Kenwyne Jones, are retiring. He recently retired and there are others who are two more years or so away from retirement. So they should focus on the youth and give them a chance.