Soca Warriors seize dance floor; Araujo-Wilson and Sheppard help T&T U-17s enact revenge over Reggae Boyz

The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team will meet Mexico on equal footing on Sunday after the junior Soca Warriors maintained their 100 per cent group record this evening with a battling 3-2 Concacaf Championship win over regional rivals, Jamaica, in Brentford, Florida.

Two years ago, the two aforementioned Caribbean nations met at the same venue in the Concacaf Under-15 Championship and the result was a humiliating 8-1 win for the young Reggae Boyz. There was none of that nonsense today and, at the final whistle, it was Jamaican players who slumped to the ground and buried their faces in the grass.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National Under-17 Team players embrace before kick off against Bermuda in Concacaf action on 1 May 2019.
T&T won 3-1.
(Copyright Concacaf)

Winger Jaiye Sheppard and forward Justin Araujo-Wilson might have especially enjoyed the result. They were among five Trinidad and Tobago players today—including captain Zachary Welch, defender Cephas St Rose and substitute Jean-Heim Mc Fee—who were victims of that mauling, two years ago.

Sheppard and Araujo-Wilson were particularly influential in the preparing of the cold plate of revenge served to the ‘land of ackee and saltfish.’

Jamaica could have had no idea about what was coming their way. For most of the game, the Boyz enjoyed over 60 per cent of ball possession and it was they who struck first. The match was 17 minutes old when flanker Dwayne Atkinson whipped in a cross from the right side which Cephas St Rose failed to cut out and Cristojaye Daley rammed home with a left footed volley.

Trinidad and Tobago custodian Isaiah Williams got a hand to the Jamaican effort but could not keep it out. Daley was the only change in the Jamaica team that lost 1-0 to Mexico on Wednesday while Williams was one of three alterations to the Warriors team that downed Bermuda 3-1 in midweek.


But T&T coach Stern John—who replaced another 2006 World Cup standout Russell Latapy at the helm of the youth team—did not have to wait long to see his inclusions come into their own.

The bit about ‘forwards being the first line of defence’ is no empty cliche with this squad. And as Jamaica were harried into conceding possession in their own half of the field, Araujo-Wilson found midfielder Tyrese Pierre whose diagonal ball was turned in at the back post from an acute angle by the lunging Sheppard in the 34th minute.

It was completely against the run of play but, improbably, Trinidad and Tobago went ahead in the 44th minute as the Jamaican defence failed to deal with a deep free kick aimed at gangly six-footer Jerrell Nixon.

The ball broke for Araujo-Wilson and he enhanced his reputation as a poacher of some promise with a controlled first time volley past Jamaica custodian Shamar Haffenden.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago National U-17 forward Justin Araujo-Wilson (left) in action against against Bermuda in Concacaf action on 1 May 2019.
(Copyright Concacaf)

Araujo-Wilson celebrated with a sprint to the half-line to hug John. John, of course, is Trinidad and Tobago’s record senior international goal scorer and a former England Premier League striker with Birmingham City and Sunderland AFC. Assistant Under-17 coach Kenwyne Jones is a former Premiership forward with Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City and Cardiff City.

Araujo-Wilson, a former Fatima College schoolboy, could hardly find better mentors.

Jamaica never stopped plugging away but their malaise only grew in the 60th minute, as Nixon held off opposing full back Kenroy Campbell before whipping in a brilliant cross that Sheppard converted with an improvised header.

Sheppard, an unused substitute against Bermuda, showed what the goal meant to him as the Presentation College (San Fernando) student whipped off his shirt to celebrate—and received the mandatory booking for doing so.

Jamaica’s next booking was far costlier as central defender Dandre Miller got a second yellow card and marching orders after a cynical foul on Araujo-Wilson. The Trinidad and Tobago ‘number 9’ was virtually unplayable and should have stretched the Warriors lead with another dynamic run on the break, only to be denied by the legs of Haffenden.

At the death, the twin island republic tried to see off the match with negative ball possession and instead conceded a late goal as Atkinson burst past Savery and pulled back for substitute Isaac Scott to finish, after being granted far too much space in the T&T penalty box.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago right back Nigel Carraby (left) in action against Bermuda on 1 May 2019.
(Copyright Concacaf)

But it did not spoil a memorable outing for the young Warriors, whose returns so far have made a mockery of their chaotic preparation for the competition.

“I spoke to them about the importance of this match and the fact that it is the biggest Caribbean derby,” John told the TTFA Media, “and they went out there and demonstrated exactly how they felt about it. They followed my instructions and stuck to the plan.

“I think they had a bit of a score to settle as well from a previous match a couple of years ago.”

Mexico, who defeated Bermuda 5-0 this evening, and Trinidad and Tobago both have six points after two matches and meet to decide the group winners from 4pm on Sunday. Mexico have a superior goal differential and need only a draw to top the group.

The winner between Jamaica and Bermuda will advance to the Round of 16 while the loser will be eliminated. Jamaica, due to a better goal difference, will advance with a draw.

The top four nations from the Concacaf Championship advance to the Brazil 2019 Under-17 World Cup.

“Now we have showed that we came here to compete because I don’t think anyone gave us a chance coming into this tournament,” said John. “Now we’ve proven them wrong and I’m backing my boys to keep their heads high and continue playing good football.

“It’s still a far way off in terms of qualifying for Brazil but I will give them credit for pulling off two wins and showing that they are no push overs.”


Trinidad and Tobago U-17: 1.Isaiah Williams (GK); 2.Nigel Carraby, 4.Jordon Britto, 5.Cephas St Rose, 3.Luke Savery; 6.Zachary Welch (captain) (10.Andrew De Gannes 84), 19.Ajani Fortune, 8.Tyrese Pierre; 14.Jerrell Nixon (11.Jean-Heim Mc Fee 67), 9.Justin Araujo-Wilson, 7.Jaiye Sheppard (17.Kevan Kahoussi 67).

Unused substitutes: 20.Kahlil Oliver (GK), 12.Curtis De Leon, 13.Gary Griffith III, 15.Jeremy Lashley, 16.Keilon Burnett-Acevaro, 18.Isa Sayeed.

Coach: Stern John

Jamaica U-17: 20.Shamar Haffenden (GK); 4.Damian Jones, 5.Scott McLeod (captain), 18.Dandre Miller, 6.Kenroy Campbell; 7.Dwayne Atkinson, 10.Jamone Shepherd, 12.Cristojaye Daley, 17.Kenroy Stoddart (14.Isaac Scott 55); 19.Tajay Grant, 16.Rajay Wright.

Unused substitutes: 1.Zemioy Nash (GK), 2.Lamonth Rochester, 3.Prince Christie, 8.Gregory Cousins, 9.Orrett Maine, 11.Revaldo Mitchell, 13.Hasani Barnes, 15.Giovanni Mittoo.

Coach: John Gilchrist

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  1. Damian King John Hayes … Big side

  2. Well done to the U17 team and staff.

  3. Only bcuz the team doin well, people havin good thing to say. But btw good luck in tomorrow match

  4. Great result! Especially love the EFFORT this team is fighting heart and soul…now imagine if they had a proper preparation what we might have achieved?

    • In that sense they have been let down. Credit to them for their application for sure.

    • Lasana Liburd Allyuh support the team whether or not you like what going ….these youth trying hard…

    • Christo Araujo not sure who has not been supporting the team.

    • Brian Springer since 1974 we have been saying that. We are now in 2019. What? Huummmmm

    • Earl Carter I know Spidey, at the end of the day in my opinion I have always said that if we want LONG-TERM success we need to put youths like these in the hands of our BEST Coaches so that they develop good habits early get overseas contracts young a la Dwight and know what its like to play at the highest level week in week out so they in turn can return to Trinidad and Tobago to elevate our play.In many ways we have actually REGRESSED since 1974 when we could record VICTORY over the likes of Argentina.

    • Brian Springer that is too much because of lack of vision. Since 1974 Alvin Corneal advised TTFA to structure our successful youth team as a feeder to the senior team. That idea was rejected. Subsequently every youth team has experienced the same rejection ever since. Now, I am hearing similar chatter about these boys. Trust me , nothing will become if these boys as well. Watch carefully people

    • Earl Carter Funny you should mention Alvin’s plan because thats what his son Anton did along with then TD Lincoln Phillips they took bunch of U-15’s kept them together for two years that team qualified for the U-17 WC and 3 years later qualified for the U-20 WC but then that team was disbanded and only a few of them remain now like Molino, Cyrus and Leston Paul…You live long enough you see history repeating itself huh.

  5. Great win tnt keep winning only recipe to keep d hates quiet.

  6. Great win, but the game itself was low quality. Jamaica had loads of possession, but hardly did anything constructive with it. You could see that they were actually trying to knock the ball around, but they just didn’t seem capable of executing. Lots and lots of bad passes and poor decision making. T&T on the other hand was efficient in their possession. Although one can argue that if Jamaica went 2-0 up, it might have been curtains for the Warriors. The two best things about the Young Warriors today were that they didn’t hang their heads and drop their shoulders after going 1-0 down, and Araujo-Wilson is showing an eye for goal. Loved his goal today and even the efforts that he missed.

  7. Congratulations, boys! Well done.

  8. Hoping our defense is ready for their attack and if our young Warriors continues to play hungry and not giving up they will be able to put it on them and be victorious…BOOM

  9. Another player plying his trade in the MLS the Mexican goal scorer it will surely be an interesting game on Sunday…..BOOM

  10. Congrats to the U17 Warriors and the staff. Well done!! ⚽️

  11. Congratulations Young Warriors. ⚽️ ⚽️ ⚽️

  12. Araujo-Wilson in addition to scoring really leading the line and Carraby does not give up. Good effort will need a victory over Mexico as a draw with inferior goal difference will see us through but against a top seed.

  13. Now we talking!! Well done to our Young Warriors!! 🙂

  14. Was it me or did those Jam-down boys come out of WWE? Some of those tackles looked like they could have been on Raw and Smackdown!

  15. Excellent result. Well done to Stern and the young lads.

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