Concacaf Director of Development Jason Roberts says he was left impressed by the level of display from the four competing teams in the just concluded Youth International Invitational tournament put on by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association.
Roberts, accompanied by FIFA Development officer for the Caribbean Marlon Glean, witnessed the the last four matches in the Under 15 boys competition including the closing double header and awards ceremony at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on Sunday.
The tournament was the ideal dress rehearsal for eventual winners Mexico, Panama and T&T ahead of the CONCACAF U-15 Championship in Florida next month, according to Roberts, an ex-Blackburn Rovers and Grenada forward.
“The TTFA youth invitational was a fantastic opportunity to see some of the top talent in the region put together by the TTFA in preparation for the Concacaf U-15 tournament,” Roberts told TTFA Media.
“This was a wonderful chance to see well-drilled teams performing at an extremely high level, some real talent across all of the sides and I really have to commend the TTFA for seeing that preparation and for bringing the teams together. It is a unique opportunity to ensure these players are well prepared, getting used to elite tournaments and used to the atmosphere of having a big crowd… having big expectations of them.
“Individually I thought there were some standout performances. The Trinidad and Tobago number 8 (Molik Khan) who was extremely talented with the number 10 (Nathaniel James) as well, You look across for the number 10 striker for Panama Reymundo Arauz, Venezuela number 7 (Klinsmann Gomez and the striker Jesus Anuel were also good and also Mexico as we expect have a very high level of young players who have been exposed to this level of competition before.
“I would like to really say how exciting it was to see football in our region at such a high level in preparation for the Concacaf U-15 where I would be spending a lot of time viewing hopefully games of a similar quality,” Roberts added.
T&T got an extra training match ahead of the Concacaf championship at IMG Academy next month, going down narrowly 1-0 to Venezuela at the Ato Boldon Stadium on Tuesday. Carlos Subero’s 59th minute strike separated the teams at the end of the 90 minutes.
Photo shows Jason Roberts presenting the Golden Boot award to Panama striker Reymundo Arauz on Sunday. Photo:CA Images for TTFA Media.