Stern John has finalised part of his technical staff for the Men’s National Under 17 team that has commenced preparations for the CONCACAF U-17 Men’s Championship and World Cup qualifiers starting May 1st at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
John was named as head coach by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association earlier this month. One of his assistant coaches will be former Senior Men’s Team captain Kenwyne Jones. The 34-year-old former UK and US-based professional will be joined by previous Under 17 team assistant coach Caleb De Souza as John’s second assistant coach. The goalkeeper coach is Ross Russell, another former T&T national player and current goalkeeper coach of the Men’s Senior Team. Devin Elcock is the equipment manager and Aaron Pollard is the team manager. Both Pollard and Elcock were also assigned to the Under 17 team in 2016/2018. The rest of the technical staff will be confirmed later this week.
John stated that he was satisfied with the personnel that will work alongside him in preparing the team in the best possible way for the competition in May.
“We had our first couple of sessions on the weekend and it was important that we hit the ground running because we don’t have a lot of time. But at the same time I believe we have a group of very capable individuals who will serve on the technical staff to ensure the team is prepared in the best possible way for the competition in May,” John told TTFA Media.
“Everyone understands his roles and responsibilities. The Football Association is on board with us and with the right level of support, I am optimistic that we go about the preparation of this team in a most professional manner to get the boys up to scratch so that we can go to Florida and compete in May. We’ve already seen several groups of players and our intention is to also stage a combine in the United States later this month to have a look at the talent that is available to us out there. We will release more concrete details on that before the end of this week,” John added.
Trinidad and Tobago have been given automatic qualification into the Championship round of the CONCACAF Under 17 Men’s Championship which serves as World Cup qualification for the 2019 FIFA Under 17 Men’s World Cup in Peru.
T&T are in Group E alongside defending champions Mexico, Jamaica and Bermuda. John’s Men will take on Bermuda on May 1st, Jamaica on May 3 and Mexico on May 5th
The 2019 edition of the Under-17 Championship, to be hosted at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida, will be disputed in three rounds. The first-round qualifiers will take place March 16-24 (Groups A and C) and April 1-9 (Groups B and D), while the Final Championship (Groups E, F, G, H and knockout stage) will take place May 1-16.
After round-robin play, the top three finishers in each of the groups will qualify for the knockout stage, joining the four group winners of the Qualification Stage in the Round of 16. The knockout stage of the competition will be played in its entirety in a single match elimination format, with the semifinalists automatically qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru.