W Connection midfielder Isaiah Hudson is expected to be a key component in the national under 17 team for their upcoming Caribbean Football Union Under 17 Final Round of World Cup qualification which kicks off with a double header at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
The 16-year-old who hails from Penal is also a member of the National Under 20 team currently preparing for the CFU finals in Curacao in October and he is on the Connection pro team roster, recently getting playing time in the CONCACAF Champions League group phase matches.
But his focus over the next two weeks will be on trying to help Russell Latapy’s team through to the CONCACAF Finals in Panama City next April.
“I am involved with a lot of teams at the moment and a lot of football is taking place but I am taking it in stride and enjoying every moment. It’s hard work all round with a lot of sessions for my club and with the national teams,” Hudson told TTFA Media.
“But this is the life of a young professional so it is something that I am not backing away from. For the tournament with the Under 17s I am really anxious because it is another chance for me to do well in this age group. And it is important for the team to move forward and go onto to the Concacaf level.
“I am very fortunate to have played at the Concacaf level already and my recent experiences in the Concacaf Champions League has definitely opened my eyes up and showing me what is necessary to make the step up. And it will be important for most if not all the local players to get a taste of football at the Concacaf level whether it be for the Under 17s, the Under 20s or at the club level,” Hudson said.
“It will be important for us to start well on Friday against Haiti. The players will be giving their all and trying our best to do what the coaches wants of us. And a good win will give us that level of confidence we will need for the remainder of the tournament. The first thing will be to get out of the group and qualify for CONCACAF,” he added.
On the opportunity to be coached by Latapy and assistant coach Reynold Carrington, the Naparima College player said such privileges spur him on every time he steps on the training pitch.
“As young players we are very fortunate to have the chance to train under coaches like Russell Latapy and Reynold Carrington. I am very excited about learning a few things from him (Latapy) and while we are always picking things up on the training field, it will be crucial for us to follow his instructions on game days. This is all part of the player development that will be important for us as players going forward and I am really happy that the TTFA has given us this opportunity,” Hudson added.
Tickets for the Group phase matches will go on sale at Lotto Locations nationwide from Wednesday priced at $30 (adults), $15 (children) and kids under age 5 are free. Tickets will also available at the match venue on game days only.
Latapy’s team entered a live-in training camp at Cara Suites Hotel on Monday and engaged in a late evening training session at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella.
The top two teams in each group will advance to the CFU semi-finals as well as the CONCACAF Final round in Panama next April while the best third placed team from the group phase will also advance as the fifth Caribbean representative at the CONCACAF final phase. From there, four nations will advance to the FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in India.
CFU Final Round Schedule
Bermuda vs Jamaica, September 16th, 5pm
T&T vs Haiti, September 16th, 7:30pm
Jamaica vs Haiti, September 18th, 4pm
T&T vs Bermuda, September 18th, 6:30pm
Haiti vs Bermuda, September 20th, 5pm
T&T vs Jamaica, September 20th, 7:30pm
(All matches at Ato Boldon Stadium)
Suriname vs Guadeloupe, September 17th, 4pm
Cuba vs Curacao, September 17th, 6:30pm
Guadeloupe vs Cuba, September 19th, 5pm
Suriname vs Curacao, September 19th, 7:30pm
Curacao vs Guadeloupe, September 21st, 5pm
Cuba vs Suriname, September 21st, 7:30pm
(All Games at Hasely Crawford Stadium)
Semi Finals (Ato Boldon Stadium)
Group A Winner vs Group B Runner Up, September 23rd, 5pm
Group B Winner vs Group A Runner Up, September 23rd, 7:30pm
Third place – Semi Finals losers meet at 4pm on September 25th (Ato Boldon Stadium)
Final – Winners of Semi-Final matches meet at 6:30pm on September 25th. (Ato Boldon Stadium)