Rochford: We have to step it up ahead of CONCACAF qualifiers

Trinidad and Tobago Under 20 midfielder John Paul Rochford wants to see his teammates in the current squad push themselves more as they look ahead to the CONCACAF Under 20 World Qualifiers at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida in November.

Rochford was letting his feelings known following the team’s exit from the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia.

T&T’s men ended their tourney with three losses in as many matches with their best showing coming in a 3-2 loss to Costa Rica in their second outing following an opening 2-0 loss to Honduras. Hosts Colombia ran out 5-1 winners in the final group encounter.

Rochford netted against Costa Rica and Colombia to take his tally to five goals in his last four appearances for the team.

“There were some positives for us in that it showed that once can work as a team and willing to fight hard together then anything is possible. I think this could have been seen in the Costa Rica match,” Rochford told TTFA Media from Barranquilla on Friday.

“But we still have a lot to do. Personally I think too much of the players still have a schoolboy mentality and I do not mean that in a bad away because a lot of us are still in school but I think at this level we have to be able to raise our game and be more professional. We have to be able to break out of that schoolboy mindset. It will be very important for us heading into the Concacaf tournament,” the Queen’s Royal College player added.

T&T U-20 Starting team vs Colombia on Tuesday.

He mentioned that new opportunities are on the horizon for the players but they must be willing to take full grasp at what is in reach.

“We have to understand that there is a world of opportunities awaiting us out there. If we put our minds to it and we are willing to work harder and go the extra distance, then we can achieve things and the opportunities for progress in our careers will be endless,” Rochford said.

Coming off the bench and grabbing his chances is nothing new for Rochford. His free kick strike against Colombia has been one of the goals of the competition on the men’s side.

“It was just basically staying focused and knowing that I had to take my the opportunity when it came to me. I will continue to work hard and believe that as a team we can go places. It will be important for the entire squad to have this attitude in the months coming up before the qualifiers in November,” Rochford said.

The T&T Men’s team is still in Colombia and will return home on Monday. The team has engaged in some light training while there since the Colombia match.