Home / Volley / Local Football / Judah Garcia and Ranae Ward are SSFL MVPs; Riley and “Mama” Joseph fail to make Top 5

Judah Garcia and Ranae Ward are SSFL MVPs; Riley and “Mama” Joseph fail to make Top 5

Shiva Boys’ Hindu College playmaker Judah Garcia and Bishop Anstey (Port-of-Spain) midfield maestro Ranae Ward were the big winners yesterday as the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) toasted its stars of the 2017 season.

Garcia led Shiva Boys to the Coca-Cola National Intercol and South Intercol titles while Ward inspired Bishop to the First Citizen Girls’ National Intercol and North Intercol trophies.

Photo: Shiva Boys Hindu College captain Judah Garcia (left) outwits Presentation College (San F’do) midfielder Darnell Hospedales (centre) during Intercol South Zone semifinals action on 17 November 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Arguably, the judges seemed swayed by results in the final competition of the season—and a knockout one to boot—as the stand-outs from the regular season were largely overlooked.

Presentation College (San Fernando) attacker Jordan Riley, who inspired the “Pres Lions” to their maiden Premier Division crown, was not even named among the SSFL’s best players in 2017.

Instead, Garcia, whose Shiva Boys team were relegated owing largely to administrative errors, was joined by teammate Yohannes Richardson, San Juan North Secondary forward Renaldo Boyce, St Anthony’s College playmaker Che Benny and free-scoring Naparima College midfielder Judah St Louis.

At least Riley was selected on the SSFL’s 22-man All-Star team. His goalkeeper and team captain, Jabari Gray, did not even get that recognition—despite a fine season—as Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys) and Emmanuel John (Trinity College East) were named as the two goalkeepers of the season instead.

Photo: Presentation College (San Fernando) winger Jordan Riley (centre) tries to escape the attentions of a Naparima College opponent during SSFL action at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella on 27 September 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Among the other notable absentees from the All-Star long list were Shiva Boys left-back Matthew Beal, St Mary’s College attacker Tyrese Spicer and St Anthony’s College winger Tyrese Bailey.

In the Girls’ Division, Pleasantville Secondary attacker Aaliyah Pascall was among the SSFL’s Top Five players but school coach Joel Maloney was bemused that his star playmaker Jasandra “Mama” Joseph was not there too.

Pleasantville won three of four trophies available—the Championship South Zone, Big 5 and South Zone Intercol—and were second in the National Intercol competition. And Joseph’s eye-watering 42 goals was a key factor in their success.

Ward and Pascall apart, Bishop Anstey (Port-of-Spain) goalkeeper K’lil Keshwar as well as Jelese Alexander (Signal Hill Secondary) and Shania Lewis (Tranquillity Secondary) completed the SSFL’s Top Five.

Photo: Bishop Anstey Port-of-Spain midfielder Ranae Ward (left) shoots at goal during Coca-Cola National Intercol final action against Pleasantville Secondary at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 4 December 2017.
Ward scored a hattrick as Bishop romped to a 6-0 win.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

SSFL Boys’ All-Star Team

Goalkeeper: Denzil Smith (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Emmanuel John (Trinity College East);

Defenders: Yohannes Richardson (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Mylz Barrington (Presentation College, San F’do), Derron John (St Anthony’s College), Rondell Payne (Naparima College), Collin Wheeler (Carapichaima East Secondary), Matthaeus Granger (St Mary’s College);

Midfielders: Jordan Riley (Presentation College, San F’do), Quinn Rodney (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Judah St Louis (Naparima College), Judah Garcia (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Che Benny (St Anthony’s College), Rivaldo Coryat (St Augustine Secondary), John Paul-Rochford (QRC);

Forwards: Theophilus Bourne (Carapichaima East Secondary), Haile Beckles (St Anthony’s College), Junior Asson (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Renaldo Boyce (San Juan North Secondary), Brandon Semper (San Juan North Secondary), Kerry Mc Donald (Speyside High School), Nickel Orr (Trinity College East).

Photo: Naparima College midfielder Judah St Louis (far left) celebrates with Rushawn Murphy (second from left) during Intercol South Zone semi-finals action against St Benedict’s College on 17 November 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Top 5: Judah St Louis (Naparima College), Judah Garcia (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Che Benny (St Anthony’s College), Yohannes Richardson (Shiva Boys Hindu College), Renaldo Boyce (San Juan North Secondary).

MVP: Judah Garcia (Shiva Boys Hindu College).

SSFL Girls’ All-Star Team

Goalkeepers: K’lil Keshwar (Bishop Anstey, PoS), Aaliayah Alveres (Signal Hill Secondary);

Defenders: Shawnelle Rose, Latifha Pascall (both Pleasantville Secondary), Kia Edwards (Carapichaima East Secondary), Jhaney Simon (Penal Secondary), Kerise King, Karleen Modeste (both Tranquillity Secondary), Faith Mitchell-Moore (Bishop Anstey, East);

Midfielders: Jasandra Joseph, Laurel Romain (both Pleasantville Secondary), Iysha Lewis (Tranquillity Secondary), Ranae Ward (Bishop Anstey, PoS), Shenice Maynard (Carapichaima East Secondary), Chelcy Ralph (St Augustine Secondary), Brittney Williams (Bishop Anstey, PoS), Celine Loraine (Signal Hill Secondary);

Photo: Pleasantville Secondary playmaker Jasandra “Mama” Joseph (centre) takes on the Carapichaima East Secondary defence during Coca-Cola National Intercol Semi-final action at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella on 29 November 2017.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

Forwards: Jelese Alexander (Signal Hill Secondary), Shania Lewis, Felicia King (both Tranquillity Secondary), Afiyah Cornwall (Carapichaima East Secondary), Aaliyah Pascall (Pleasantville Secondary), Alexcia Ali (Penal Secondary).

Top 5: Ranae Ward, K’lil Keshwar (both Bishop Anstey, PoS), Jelese Alexander (Signal Hill Secondary), Shania Lewis (Tranquillity Secondary) and Aaliyah Pascall (Pleasantville Secondary).

MVP: Ranae Ward (Bishop Anstey, PoS).

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and 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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45 comments

  1. Congratulations Judah Garcia and Yohannes Richardson.

  2. Anthony Sherwood what did you think of the All Star selections and Top Five lists?

    • Not that familiar with the girls side of it, but on the boys side – I thought that it was pretty fair…I am very familiar with Judah Garcia and Yohannes Richardson of course, and I thought that they each had a fantastic season and deserve to be in the Top 5. Either Yohannes or Judah would be a great choice for Player Of The Year, but we are very happy for Judah of course…it’s a little strange though that no one was selected from the eventual winners of the league, and I feel that Jordan Riley would feel a little hard pressed by that..

    • Anthony, the champion women’s said his star players scored 42 goals and didn’t get in the top five whereas another player who played seven games all season (as she was with T&T U-17s) got selected. That sums it up.

    • Lasana that’s discouraging, that said, you cannot fault the player who was actively involved with the national team. National team duty is always the priority…

    • Anthony, I’m not faulting the player at all. I’m just saying if an All Star selection is the best performers, then how do you make the side by barely playing any games?

  3. Let them judge God is Shiva Boys Judge N when Jesus says Yes No Body Cannot say No ,, After all d fight down Look at congrats son Judah Garcia

  4. Congratulations Judah Garcia… You deserved it hun… So why is it taking SSFL so long to determine whether or not Shiva boys would be back in the premier league

  5. Juda Garcia Congrats ,Shiva boys to the world

  6. Jordan Riley didn’t make the top 5? That is madness. He was the best and most consistent player this season. Che Benny was better and more consistent that Judah Garcia. SSFL real jokey on every front. Also Jabari Gray and Matthew Beal were outstanding this season.

  7. Of what value is the SSFL? Aside from putatively encouraging young men to ‘go’ to school, and stay off the streets?

    • Universities globally as well as local professional and amateur teams scout the league. So it gives some kids a platform for their futures. It ensures a seasonal competitive environment exists outside of the pro league and Republic Cup season for kids from form 1 up to age 20. Two items in addition to yours which i doubt anyone can put a value on..

      • I am a parent of a girl selected on the All star team for ssfl – Jelese Alexander….I am female….needing clarification to a few queries..hoping you guys can help……Are the selected players supposed to be contacted about their selection instead of finding out online? Do the children get a certificate? a medal? a trophy for being on the All Star Team or in the top 5? What happens after you are selected to be on this all star team, Does the team train together at any point? Does the team travel regionally ( or internationally) and play a few games with other all star teams ? What is the transitional strategy from this all star team to the national team?

        • Lasana Liburd

          Cheva, I’m afraid there probably is not going to be anything about the function for those players. It is just the SSFL’s way of saying well done. But that’s it.
          There is no transition to the national team as far as I know. But that selection should be enough to guarantee your daughter a trial for a national team at least.
          Contact me at lasana@wired868.com if you want to find out any more on that. Thanks

    • Fair enough. It just seems as though the quality coming out of the League the past several seasons has been poor, save for the handful of players you succeed in spite of, rather than because of the League.

    • How or what are you using to judge the quality ?

    • A handful of games attended in person, plus online clips

    • Having seen the SSFL up close over the last few years, I can’t say the player quality has decreased. Quality of grounds that are used for games may have gone down though. That may hurt the standard of play, but not necessarily the player quality, if you get my drift..

    • I do… but where are these players progressing to? How many are leaving their professional mark on the game? Even the ones in the PFL, how many progress onto the national team… and succeed? Suffice to say that all local professionals are graduates of the SSFL, but suffice also to say tha the level of local talent being produced at the moment is nothing to write home about, and hasn’t been for close to a decade.

    • Many go to colleges and universities and are never recalled, or get lost. Many go to teams in super and pro leagues and many more go to minor leagues. My observation has been that we lack a proper professional league where there is a reserve team system keeping the under 21-23 age group trained and playing competitively after they leave school. Pro league stopped it due to funding and super league never had it in place. System needs a true overhaul and scouting and team selection has to be part of that overhaul. Would love to know if the TTFA has a real computerised database tracking players through their varied and football progressions..

    • So true Brian Jordan we have a lot of players outside dat we never recalled

    • D pro league n d super league dat is a fresh headache

    • Brian, but SSFL doesn’t develop players, I think we can all agree on that. It may present a platform for advancement for a few, but that’s about it. And if there is all this untapped talent percolating in the US college system, or in minor leagues… you would think some would at least rise to the top. Right now we struggle to place players in second tier leagues overseas. I think whatever talent has emerged these past few years, it has been relative.

    • Pro league exposes players and “develops” their name recognition. “Rise to the top” meaning what? Most players on our national team would have played in SSFL or pro league or super league over the years before moving onward and upward.

    • Brian, right. But where does that leave our pros relative to those from other countries? Heck, even Bermuda has a home grown Premier League player in Nakhi Wells.

    • Nigel S. Scott many of our so called pros don’t want to play outside because dey have work hard wake up early 2 go training n dey don’t want dat dey want 2 fete so dey stay home 2 play in d pro league

    • That… or they just not good enough.

    • Some of them good enough…. we lack dat drive 2 work hard in a well organized system.

  8. Good observations. Also noticed defensive midfielders are so under appreciated.