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Clayton Morris: As TTSL president, I’d focus on club licensing and coach education

“[…] If elected as president of the Super League, I would like to address two major issues: club development, compliance and licensing; and coaching.

“As a former player and now coach, I see these as key areas in which we remain deficient, while the rest of the world and even the Caribbean is passing us…”

The following press release was submitted to Wired868 by Clayton Morris, who is running for the position of Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president. Wired868 has also offered his opponent, Jameson Rigues, the opportunity to share his vision for the portfolio:

Photo: TTSL interim president Jameson Rigues (right) and Clayton Morris will contest the vacant post of TTSL president on 29 November.

My name is Clayton Morris, and I am known in football circles as ‘JB’. I grew up in St Ann’s in a football family and I was fortunate to represent our country as a national player and Strike Squad captain.

After retiring, I spent 20 odd years as a corporate communication assistant based in Petrotrin’s Community Relations Section.

I now coach and manage the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s men’s football programme and mentor and manage futsal in the nation’s prisons. Currently I’m also part of the steering committee of the National Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago.

I am not one for limelight, but I have been outspoken throughout my career—like when the National Futsal Team took the David John-Williams-led TTFA administration to court for monies owed, after representing the country in two international tournaments.

If elected as president of the Super League, I would like to address two major issues: club development, compliance and licensing; and coaching.

As a former player and now coach, I see these as key areas in which we remain deficient, while the rest of the world and even the Caribbean is passing us.

Photo: Then Trinidad and Tobago National Futsal Team coach Clayton Morris (left) gesticulates during an interview with Wired868 reporter Amiel Mohammed (centre) at the Maloney Indoor Sport Arena in March 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/CA-images/Wired868)

Most, if not all, clubs in the Super League are community-based and faced with adverse situations with funding being a huge challenge. However, they all belong to communities with community grounds.

Clubs need to improve their internal structure by registering members—not just players for the season—and charging a small fee for a membership card or season pass; so they would feel they are part of something.

How many clubs have a database outside of players?

My 20-plus years experience as a corporate communication assistant in community relations allowed me to observe that it is more appealing for sponsors to financially support community organisations, once they are properly organised—as requested by the TTFA/Fifa.

Fifa has made it mandatory for all affiliated football clubs to become compliant and have a club license, which is a minimum standard for participation. It is a step in the right direction.

Photo: UTT goalkeeper Perry Martin (top) challenges San Fernando Giants attacker Keston Grant (left) for the ball during Ascension Division Two action at UTT Campus, O’Meara on 14 September 2019.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

Coaching education is also critical! Coaches can be one of the most influential figures in the life of a player. Their influence can continue long after the season (and the player’s career) ends and, given some of the problems in our society, coaches have a moral responsibility to be a positive influence on the players under their tutelage.

As a league, the TTSL must set a standard coaching curriculum for teams with specific requirements such as ages, equipment, training days/hours, competition, rules and time frame. We can dig deeper into more basic tactical and training skills such as passing and receiving, speed development, aerial control, dribbling and turning, shooting, goalkeeping and set plays.

Off the field, we can develop mentorship, proper mental attitude towards training and games, team bonding, goal setting, education career choices, physical preparation, nutrition, sleep, gym training.

All of these actions not only help to develop a more professional player but can help us develop better young men and women to take on real life challenges.

This TTSL outreach development programme will be created in honour of the late Ruthven ‘Charlo’ Charles, who was one of the founders of RSSR and gave his life to the Laventille and Beetham community; and the late Richard Brathwaite who, through the Trintoc Football Club, provided the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Men’s team with 12 top class players—six of whom, including yours truly, played in that memorable World Cup qualifier on 19 November 1989.

Photo: RSSR FC defender Nathan Cadore looks for a passing option during TTSL action against Guaya United at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 2 August 2018.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

I am confident that together we can make such successes happen again.   

The idea is not to change their style of play; but rather the sole intention is to use what they love, playing football, to get them where they ought to be.

Editor’s Note: On 22 November, Wired868 offered Jameson Rigues the chance to submit his own vision for the TTSL presidency. Up until the time of publication, he had not done so, or indicated whether he would take up the challenge.

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