Trinidad and Tobago’s Under 15 Boys and Under 17 girls have begun counting down the days to their first set of international matches on home soil as the TTFA Invitational Youth tournament draws closer to kick off.
Both teams, the under 15s under the guidance of head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier and the Girls under recently appointed head coach Steffon De Four have been on the training pitch up to four days per week and have entered residential training camps ahead of the tournament opener on July 17th at the Ato Boldon Stadium. The Boys will face Panama from 7:15pm following the curtain raiser between Venezuela and Mexico at 5:15pm. The Girls will open their account against Curacao, two days later on July 19th at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The Venezuela Boys team arrives in Trinidad on Sunday afternoon while Mexico comes in on Monday night and Panama gets in earlier on Monday.
“This will be a really good opportunity for us to face a team like Curacao as it gives us a chance to challenge ourselves against international opposition. Hopefully we can come out on top,” said U-17 Women’s midfielder Jessica Harragin while at a training session on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
Harragin, who attends Holy Name Convent and plays for Queen’s Park Women’s team, spoke about her aspirations in the game.
“Playing for the national team allows me to play football at a high level and also have opportunities to develop my career further. It’s fun and enjoyable to be in the training session with my teammates. Football is the sport I grew up playing all my life and it’s the most enjoyable thing for me. I love it because it’s about strategy and skill.
“I think if our Women’s Senior Team could make it that far (in 2014) then I think we can do it as well. My life is centred around school and football. As soon as I leave school I’m normally going to play football. Any studying I do has to be within school hours because after that I have just football and more training. My parents know that I really want this so they take the time to get me to training and to make sure I ave the best training and the best football opportunities possible,” Harragin said.
Speaking about the current T&T team, she added, “I think this team works together very well. We have fight and confidence. I think on the field we can work together to make the team go as a far as possible.
On the boys side, defensive midfielder Jaheim Marshall, who skippered the team when it captured the CFU Boys Challenge last year, is expecting a tough campaign coming up. While the U-15 team has played regular matches against local teams, it will be their first outing against international opposition in T&T.
“These teams all play at a high level. Panama has been to several youth World Cups while Mexico have won two Under 20 World Cups and Venezuela have been to the 2017 youth World Cup final. This is an opportunity for us to test ourselves against some really good opponents who have strong youth programmes. We are excited but also taking these matches very seriously. We want to do well especially as it’s our first set of international games at home,” he said.
“We have the world at our feet and we are ready to take it on with everything we have. We are all pushing each other as far as we can. The love and togetherness we have keeps us going, waking up everyday and coming to training. We have really turned into a family over the last two years.
“I take my responsibilities very seriously because I know all the boys look up to me. I always have to be at my best and the boys know I expect the best from them,” Marshall said
Fans can purchase tickets at $40 and tournament passes for all three matchdays are priced at $100 at all NLCB outlets.