The Fifa-appointed normalisation committee has hired Welsh coach James Thomas as the new head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team.
Thomas is a former Wales Women’s National Senior Team assistant coach and performance analyst and holds a Uefa ‘A’ License and Elite Youth ‘A’ License. He also served as assistant at Cardiff City Ladies FC in the English FA’s Women’s National League.
“I am honoured and delighted to be given the opportunity […] as Women’s Senior National Team Head Coach,” Thomas told TTFA Media. “There is a terrific blend of experience and youth within the pathway and my experiences of working across all age groups from youth to senior at both club and international levels will allow me to develop both the individual and the teams to help us reach our goals as a nation.
“As well as working with the Senior National Team in their quest to qualify for major tournaments, I feel a fundamental part of a head coach’s role is to influence the domestic and international age group player pathways to support the development of the game in Trinidad and Tobago and give all players and fans a Women’s National Team program everybody can be proud of.”
At present, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has four head coaches—all are foreign. Englishman Terry Fenwick heads the Men’s National Senior Team, American Constantine Konstin leads the Futsal Team, and Spaniard Ramiro Amarelle is the Beach Soccer Team head coach.
The Women Soca Warriors have been without a senior head coach since Stephan De Four was released by the William Wallace-led administration in 2019.
The TTFA media said the local football body received 195 job applications in January, from which five were shortlisted and interviewed by the Robert Hadad-led normalisation committee.
“Thereafter the top three candidates were invited to another round of interviews, with Thomas being chosen as TTFA’s candidate of choice,” stated a TTFA release.
The new coach impressed the normalisation committee with his ‘enthusiastic nature and his background of data analysis, mixed with this ideology of relating to players on a human level’.
He was rewarded with ‘an initial one-year contract with an option to extend for a further year based on his achievement of KPIs and a successful performance appraisal’. He is expected to arrive in Trinidad within the next few weeks.
The normalisation committee promised to announce the additional Women’s National Senior Team technical staff members ‘shortly’ and said they will all be ‘local-based’.
Players selected to train with the Women Warriors should have medical screenings provided by HealthNet Caribbean and undergo fitness assessments prior to the start of the programme.
Last September, Fifa promised its member associations additional funding through a new Women’s Development Programme, as well as a US$500,000 (TT$3.4 million) grant as part of its Covid-19 relief.
The Development Programme includes free courses and mentorship programmes for active national coaches as well as ‘B’ and ‘A’ license coaches, uniforms for up to 12 league teams, and grants ranging between US$10,000 (TT$68,000) and US$50,000 (TT$340,000) per year for marketing, workshops, club licensing, and operating costs for a league competition.