Former Trinidad and Tobago and England Premier League winger Carlos Edwards is set to make his coaching debut locally, after being confirmed today as the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s National Senior Team assistant coach.
A release from the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) credited Edwards with the Uefa B license. He lives in England at present and is the Under-15 manager/head coach of non-league English team, AFC Sudbury.
The TTFA release also claimed that Edwards worked as a coach with the senior team of another non-league English club, Bury Town FC, although the club site lists the 43-year-old as a player and he is not included among their staff members. Edwards worked informally—and briefly—with a Trinidad and Tobago national youth team in 2016.
The Women Soca Warriors technical staff is led by Edwards’ former international teammate, Kenwyne Jones, who is a first-time head coach.
“When I got the call from Kenwyne indicating his interest in me coming on board, obviously for me it was a no-brainer,” Edwards told the TTFA Media. “It was an opportunity for myself to work for the country once again and try to give something back. I know it’s not going to be easy but nothing good comes easy as I can vouch for with my experience on the playing side of it.
“Now the opportunity comes to do a bit of coaching, to pass on a bit of knowledge and to work with my former teammate. And it’s something special. I am looking forward to hitting the ground running really hard.”
The local football body said it ‘worked with Jones to determine a shortlist of qualified candidates who share a similar coaching philosophy and who Jones has a synergy with—given the short time frame’.
Jones, who played alongside Edwards at the Germany 2006 World Cup as well as for then Premier League club Sunderland, described his fellow St Anthony’s College alumnus as ‘a fantastic addition to the national set-up’.
“He is another player who has played for the country, representing at the highest level and now being able to be involved in our football again in a mentoring capacity,” said Jones. “We are absolutely delighted to have him on board and we hope that this could be another point in building for our future as Trinbagonian coaches and players.”
Unified Football Coaches of Trinidad and Tobago (UFCTT) interim president Jefferson George said it is difficult to comment on coaching appointments since stakeholders have no idea what the normalisation committee is trying to achieve.
He accused the normalisation committee, led by Robert Hadad, of ‘disregard for the established members of the TTFA’.
“There is no real consultation in terms of the projections of the normalisation committee,” said George. “The question could be asked: who is really directing these appointment policies in a way that would have some sort of sustainable plan behind it.
“The idea of selecting a coach […] has to be tied to a long-term strategy in terms of where the association wants the football to go. Because we don’t have that it is difficult to judge what is a good or bad call.”
However, George stressed his desire for Jones and Edwards to help provide good results for Trinidad and Tobago’s football fans.
“Again, we wish him all the best,” said George. “I hope they are successful for the women’s game and for Trinidad and Tobago football.
“[…] I think Carlos will make a good coach. He knows the game and was always committed as a player. At this point, we can just wish him all the best as they seek to carry the women’s game forward.”
Edwards played 95 times for the Soca Warriors with four international goals. Jones has 90 national senior team appearances with 23 goals.
Edwards said he will do his part to support Jones in the coaching arena.
“I will try to do what I have to in order to make Kenwyne the best manager (coach),” said Edwards. “That’s part of my job, which is to assist and make Kenwyne as good as possible and to obviously give the ladies something they haven’t yet seen from my side in terms of my input as a coach.
“I hope everyone on board will be pulling in the right direction because it is an opportunity for the Women’s Team to achieve some success. I am grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to it.”
Trinidad and Tobago play their opening 2022 W Championship qualifying match against Nicaragua on 17 February at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port-of-Spain. The two nations are partnered with Guyana, Dominica and Turks and Caicos Islands in Group F. Only the group winner will advance to the Concacaf final rounds.
The W Championship serves as the qualifying series for the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. The Women Warriors will be without the services of former stand-outs Maylee Attin-Johnson and Kennya Cordner, after Jones recently axed the former player allegedly leading the latter to rule herself out of contention for selection.
At present, Jones is working with a local core of players, which includes midfielder and captain Karyn Forbes, her sister and has, however, suggested that as much as 75% of his team will come from abroad.