While the world focused on the events of Russia over the past few weeks, young Kathon St Hillaire was in the small Czech town of Znojmo pulling out all the stops in an attempt to secure a professional contract with a Czech Second Division club. Persistence and belief paid off for the former St Ann’s Rangers and National Under 20 winger as he signed a three-year contract with SC Znojmo FK after a two-week trial and is currently awaiting international clearance.
St Hillaire , formerly of East Mucurapo and St Anthony’s College and scored the winning item for the National Under 20s in their outing against El Salvador at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Costa Rica. Hailing from Carenage, he is now hoping to follow in the path of a notable list of national players from that community. St Hilaire at age 20, has two appearances for the T&T Senior Team under Dennis Lawrence.
“My aim for the rest of 2018 into 2019 is to put in all the hard work to improve my football game and to help the national team reach higher heights,” St Hillaire told TTFA Media from Znojmo on Monday.
With a level head and a desire to expand his knowledge of the game, this youngster is intent on keeping himself in line for bigger things in the game.
“I want to keep on playing football because God blessed me with the talent so I can play the sport. I haven’t too long signed my first professional contract in Europe so the work has only just started for me. I put in some work to get here but now is when it really starts for me. I think if I can make an impact and have a good first season then by the end of my first year it means I would have gotten accustomed to the conditions here and hopefully be ready to take on Europe,” he added.
“I want to play a solid part in helping the team get up to the First Division.”
The chance to be around the National Senior team in 2017/2017 was a big step for St Hillaire. The impact of those moments remains with him.
“The most inspiring thing I ever experienced as a person is being part of the national team as a teenager. It’s a great feeling as a young player and it really made me feel that I had made my family proud. That was a special moment especially when I made my debut.”
“Training with the national team helped me a lot because the level of my football changed. I was understanding and seeing things better. It was different and it helped improve me over a short time. Working under Dennis Lawrence was like a dream come true for me because I used to see him on TV a lot. He was an assistant at Everton and now he is my coach,” St Hillaire said.
Elaborating some more on his experiences with the former Wrexham and Defence Force defender, St Hillaire continued, “Training with him is good because I never received that kind of advice and training before. Everyday he pushed me to work hard because I think he saw that I could be come a good player or go on to become something of value.”
T&T enters the CONCACAF Nations League in 2019 as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup which all falls in line with the quest for Qatar 2022 campaign. With the World Cup coming to CONCACAF in 2026, St Hillaire is undoubtedly excited over the chances of T&T appearing on the big stage again.
“These are big opportunities for our national team. I hope to be part of the squad starting with the friendlies and the Gold Cup and so on. I think there is a good chance we can make it to 2022 in Qatar or even 2026 in Mexico/USA and Canada because it’s a long time since Trinidad and Tobago has played in a World Cup and maybe this group of players can help us get there again. It is my biggest dream to play in a World Cup,” he concluded.