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Stern unveils National U-17 staff, Kenwyne Jones hired as assistant coach but TTFA board in the dark

Former Trinidad and Tobago international captain and England Premier League forward Kenwyne Jones will serve as assistant coach for the National Under-17 Team, as head coach Stern John revealed his technical staff this evening.

Jones played alongside John for the Soca Warriors at the 2006 World Cup while both have top flight experience in England. John played for Birmingham and Sunderland in the Premiership while Jones represented Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City and Cardiff City.

Photo: QRC assistant coach Kenwyne Jones (right) has a word with playmaker John-Paul Rochford during SSFL action against East Mucurapo on 15 September 2018.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

John and Jones, according to a release from the TTFA Media, will work alongside a second assistant coach, Caleb De Souza, as well as goalkeeper coach Ross Russell, equipment manager Devin Elcock and team manager Aaron Pollard. De Souza, Elcock and Pollard are survivors from the technical staff that worked with previous head coach, Russell Latapy.

The coaching appointments were made without approval by the TTFA board, according to board member Keith Look Loy. The TTFA board is due to meet on 12 March to discuss the formal staffing of the national youth team

John, who vowed to hit the ground running with the national youth team, said he is satisfied with the pool of abilities within the technical staff he named today.

“I believe we have a group of very capable individuals who will serve on the technical staff to ensure the team is prepared in the best possible way for the competition in May,” he told the TTFA Media. “Everyone understands his roles and responsibilities. The Football Association is on board with us and, with the right level of support, I am optimistic that we go about the preparation of this team in a most professional manner to get the boys up to scratch; so that we can go to Florida and compete in May.

“We’ve already seen several groups of players and our intention is to also stage a combine in the United States later this month to have a look at the talent that is available to us out there. We will release more concrete details on that before the end of this week.”

Photo: Central FC coach Stern John (right) appeals for a decision during FCB Cup final action against Defence Force at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 20 July 2018.
(Copyright Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

The entire National Under-17 Team staff agreed to work without remuneration, with the current executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)—led by president David John-Williams—still unable to pay coaching staff on several teams.

At present, the TTFA is operating without a technical director or properly functioning technical committee, as Anton Corneal withheld his services due to John-Williams’ failure to fulfil the terms of his contract while the technical committee fell apart soon after the controversial appointment of National Senior Team head coach Dennis Lawrence in January 2017.

John’s coaching experience comprises of two years as assistant coach at Central FC, a year and a half as head coach at the same club and two years as assistant to Lawrence with the National Senior Team.

Jones made his coaching debut in mid-2018 when he served as assistant to Queen’s Royal College head coach Nigel Grosvenor.

De Souza, a former St Mary’s College midfielder, served as Latapy’s assistant, two years ago, when the National Under-15 outfit were mauled at Concacaf level—they conceded 21 goals in four successive losses, including an 8-1 loss to Jamaica. He does not coach competitively in Trinidad.

Photo: Former Central FC coach Ross Russell.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

Russell does bring some experience as head coach to the staff, despite operating as a goalkeeping coach. A former Defence Force head coach, Russell has won two Pro League titles and an array of knockout competitions while he also served as an international head coach at Women’s National Senior Team and Men’s National Under-17 Team level.

The current National Under-17 squad begin their World Youth Cup qualifying campaign at Concacaf level on 1 May when they challenge Bermuda in what could be a decisive affair.

Trinidad and Tobago are grouped with Bermuda, Jamaica and Mexico and one from the quartet will be eliminated while the other three advance to the quarterfinal round.

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140 comments

  1. I remember Travis Mulraine as a player…he was ultra aggressive. The local Roy Keane.

  2. Some of the coaches who commenting in here still send players to our.national teams who can’t control a ball properly who have been under them for as long as 10 years

  3. I don’t know why Alyuh hutting up Alyuh heads abiut who are the coaches or assistant coaches or who wants to be because either very much prepared like back in the days or isn’t prepared in these times eh the same results will always continue, either just qualifying for the youth or senior tournaments, the results is always the same and it is back to the drawing board with the continuing of the bootleg coaches in our sweet country so Alyuh just sit back and enjoy the continuing soap operas eh Them really good yes

  4. I am also waiting in the wings for the vacancies to be advertised so that I can send my resume ‍♂️

  5. Just put that out there, no need to delve into the mess , as we say in Islam ” the pen is lifted and the ink has dried” I hope the guys do well we need to win one group game and the quarter-final and we are off to a WC

  6. My experience as a coach .
    Pro league
    ·Assistant coach Jabloteh
    ·Assistant coach Caledonia
    ·Assistant coach Central F.C
    ·Assistant coach North East Stars

    Super League
    Head Coach 500 Spartans
    Head Coach Mathura Reunited

    SSFL
    Head Coach Tranquillity Sec
    Assistant coach Naparima College
    Head Coach Arima North Secondary
    I am also two licences away from the Peps, Klopps and Valverdes of the world.

  7. Earl an assistant coach is part of d coach staff.He/she is someone chosen by d coach to work alongside him.

  8. Lord have mercy donkey touch is assistant coach can’t wait for him to demonstrate a one two

  9. I suppose doing it for free is the criteria certainly not a proven track record in youth coaching .
    So on their return the performance assessment will be based on monies spent ….not football .
    I wonder how many other coaches who would have done it for free were turned down .
    Did the Board select the coach from an list ?

  10. It’s the culture of the old boys club…We need not be surprised.

  11. yuh doh jus walk into ah big wuk.Yorke Latas assistant on d soca warriors nobody eh say boo.

  12. all jnr team coaches use teams to build resume

  13. These guys are obviously building a resume on the expense of a National Under 17 team when there are qualified coaches ready for the job… this is ridiculous …..to remain current and relevant in this industry… and to bring the best version of my skills and abilities to each coaching assignment I choose to constantly reinvest in myself. I invest in seminars and learning platforms, and I purchase resources to help keep my coaching relevant and finely tuned for the benefit of my paying clients. When I am presented with an offer of “free” work I believe I am stealing from other qualified coaches who may be better suited for the job and will turn it down… I am not against offering free advice and free seminars but to accept an offer of leading a national or club team for free is going against the philosophy of ‘good coaching skills’ … this is setting a bad precedent

  14. and everybody working for free.

  15. I repeat for all: the TTFA Board has not appointed this staff. Only Stern John has been officially appointed. I do not know how TTFA Media could issue this statement. Board members, some at least, are upset.

  16. Pretty sure the head coach generally gets to choose his staff.

  17. If Kenwyn was the assistant coach for QRC how can anyone nominate him as the assistant coach for our national u 17. At what time did the assistant proved he was strategic as well as implementation of ideas were tactically sound. Our coaching structure reflects my questioning

  18. Kenwyn most likely is pro bono also.

  19. Did Ross turn down the U-17 head coach job/position?

  20. Honestly, if Travis Mulraine was turned down because his experience wasn’t good enough to merit an assistant job, then how do you justify Kenwyne?
    Not to knock Kenwyne but he hasn’t even been coaching for a year. Travis is obviously miles better than that. And again you have a fairly inexperienced head coach with a very inexperienced assistant coach.
    Doesn’t seem to be the smartest pairing to me, particular in such conditions with so many challenges.

  21. I am a member of the TTFA Board of Directors. I do not know who appointed this staff. Nor when. The TTFA Board has a meeting tomorrow to discuss the appointment of additional personnel to join Stern John. And I read this. Are people tslking out of turn? Have secret appointments been made to present the Board with a de facto situation? Stay tuned.

  22. Can’t really be “hired” if no money involved. Hopefully this new generation of legends can inspire the young ones.