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Clayton Morris: The late Larry Joseph—teammate, friend, brother, father figure, mentor

“[…] There was something about Larry Joesph and goalkeepers—moreso the ones that seemed to have slack screws. Trintoc vs Alcons at the Arima Velodrome. Anton Corneal reminded me of a goal Larry scored, which he described as ‘pure brilliance’. 

“Larry Joseph scored from in our half of the field with one of his brilliant long-ranged shots that caught the late Mike McComie off his goal line. String up! 

“Who knows, Larry and Mike may be reminiscing and debating about that goal right now. May their souls Rest in Peace…”

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Larry Joseph passed away on 17 February 2021.

The following eulogy on late Trinidad and Tobago and Trintoc midfielder Larry Joseph was submitted to Wired868 by Strike Squad captain and Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Clayton ‘JB’ Morris:

“He never fail me yet, he never fail me yet, Jesus Christ never fail me yet. For everywhere I go, I want the world to know, my Jesus Christ never fail me yet.”

He was a teammate that provided safety and back up with ease. He was a friend that went the distance without complaining. He was a brother that gave his all, and in some instances denied himself. He was a father figure that led by example.  

He was a mentor that made the impossible possible. He was a God given gift to coaches that had the opportunity to have him in their teams. He was instrumental in securing many titles for every and any football team he represented.

He always had the extra in him when the moment warranted it. Larry J, as we called him, was a true patriot, lover of his family, community and God.  

Photo: Former Strike Squad midfielder Larry ‘Scamp’ Joseph passed away on 17 February 2021. He was 56.

Any man that is worth his salt would stick up for what he believes is right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.                  

During the 35 plus years I have known Larry, he demonstrated many characteristics that proved he was the better man. But in the interest of time, I would share two that I think most of his former teammates would agree with. 

Trintoc vs Cosmos at Guaracara Park. Larry J and yours truly, his partner in Trintoc’s central midfield, with Mr Anthony Clarke in goal. Those of us who know Clarkie, know the mettle and madness of the man.  

Cosmos got a corner kick that was driven into our goalmouth, and there was a mix-up between Larry and ‘Clarkie’, which a Cosmos striker capitalised on to score. 1-0.  ‘Clarkie’, as we knew him to act in these situation, went to town on Larry.

Larry gave him a look as if he was cussing Clarkie with his eyes. It takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error. Without saying a word, I knew Larry accepted it was his fault.   

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago national youth team goalkeeper Anthony Clarke (right) shakes hands with Fifa president Gianni Infantino during the opening of the TTFA Home of Football facility in November 2019.
(via TTFA Media)

On the kick off, the ball was passed to Larry. Smooth as ever, effortlessly—as he alone did it—and effectively, as we loved seeing him on the football field, he drove forward, stopped, cut across an opposing player, accelerated into the 18 yard box and simply tapped the ball past the advancing goalkeeper. 1-1. 

Within 10 minutes, Trintoc scored three goals.

Larry again, traveling with the ball just into the opponent’s half, suddenly he turn back to his own goalpost and played a long pass towards his own defence. One of the opposing attackers intercepted and scored in an open net—because Clarkie had walked away from the post. Stuttering, Larry said that was his fault too.  

Trintoc eventually won 8-2.  After the game, Larry went to Clarkie with a big smile on his face. “What foolishness was that?” he asked. 

Clarkie replied: “Ent’ all yah don’t want to score? Well that was to motivate all yah.”

There was something about Larry and goalkeepers—moreso the ones that seemed to have slack screws. Trintoc vs Alcons at the Arima Velodrome. Anton Corneal reminded me of a goal Larry scored, which he described as ‘pure brilliance’. 

Photo: Late Real Maracas coach Michael McComie (right) gestures on the sidelines during 2015/16 CNG NSL Premiership action against Stokely Vale at the Maracas Recreation Ground.
(Courtesy Nicholas Bhajan/Wired868)

Larry Joseph scored from in our half of the field with one of his brilliant long-range shots that caught the late Mike McComie off his goal line. String up! 

Who knows, Larry and Mike may be reminiscing and debating about that goal right now. May their souls Rest in Peace.

Teaming up overseas, near the end our careers, Larry Joseph, Philbert ‘Pamo’ Jones and myself got the opportunity to represent the Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club in the United States Inter Regional Soccer League. 

This league basically was a forerunner to the MLS. Larry and Pamo travelled a few days before me and I arrived the night after their first training session. Brian Davidson, the Charlotte Eagles head coach, hadn’t seen us play in person—only in videos. 

On my arrival, he requested a meeting with me and basically wanted to get an insight of my personality. After sharing briefly about who I am, which included my strong faith in the Almighty, Davidson said, “I want you to captain the team.”

Photo: Strike Squad captain Clayton Morris (right) prepares to clear the ball during the 2014 Wired868 Football Festival.
(Copyright Wired868)

I replied, “But you haven’t seen me play. I haven’t been on the training field with the team.”

With a smile he said Larry J already told me everything about you and you have just confirmed it. Larry’s words were so powerful. Larry had my back.

I am sure Pamo would agree that we have some cherished memories of those periods living together with Larry and representing the Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club. It was a totally different experience from all the other teams we represented before. 

The club was managed and supported by a strong Christian community and players had the opportunity to grow in their faith, share scriptures and give testimonies with fans before and after games. This was something Larry enjoyed and loved with a passion.   

Larry was truly an inspiration to all of us on the Strike Squad, although he wasn’t among the 22 players that completed the 1990 World Cup qualifying campaign. That never deterred him from guiding the ship, up until his last days of good health.   

Photo: Larry Joseph (front, right) and Clayton Morris (front, centre) enjoy an excursion with Strike Squad teammates.

The 1989 Strike Squad was registered as a company mainly because of Larry’s insistence to see this legacy live on. He always mentioned at meetings: “The Strike Squad is a brand that’s original and must never be underestimated.”  

The idea to reunite the Strike Squad came from a challenge posed to me by an inmate during one of my visits to the Carrera Prison way back in 1990.

I remember Larry’s reaction when I mentioned the challenge to him and Brian Williams. Larry was overjoyed. He said skipper that’s wonderful. We started planning the event immediately by contacting the locally-based Strike Squad players and organising uniforms, and a journey to the prison. 

The opportunity and experience to play in the prison made us aware that we were not just kicking ball to keep fit or to have fun, we were now providing hope to fellow humans who society seemed to have cast away and forgotten. 

We have been traveling to communities throughout Trinidad and Tobago playing exhibition games, conducting clinics with youngsters, and offering spiritual guidance and mentorship in the process. 

Larry J’s connection internationally and his desire to expand the Strike Squad outreach initiative to Trinbagonians living in USA meant that we travelled to Orlando in 2015 and 2017 as well as New York in 2019, to meet our foreign fanbase up close and personal. 

Photo: Former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder Larry Joseph.

To Cheryl, know that your husband Larry—and to Shimon, Shimone and Akil know that your daddy—was a true blessing to: 

The Strike Squad Family (Coach ‘Gally’ Cummings and the 1989 staff);

Trinidad and Tobago National Football Team Shell Cup Camp;

Trintoc Ole Boys (Rudy Thomas);

United Petrotrin FC (Ronald Brereton);

Petrotrin All-Stars Masters;

Petrotrin Inter Departmental (Corporate Communications Family);

La Brea Angels Masters;

Field of Dreams (Steve David and George Mathison);

Orlando Organising Committee (Curtis Riley);

New York Organising Committee (Curtis Bash);

Charlotte Eagles Soccer Club (Brian Davidson and Kelly Finlay);

Mrs Paula Braithwaite and Family ;

Mr Bobby Sookram and Family;

Mr. Desmond Armstrong and Family;

i95.5 Masters (Louie Lee-Sing and Andre Baptiste);

Inmates at the nation’s prisons.

We ask for God’s Strength for all you to cope in this period of deep grief. 

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