Photo: The Trinidad and Tobago National Under-14 Team trains as part of the NLCB Elite Programme in February 2018. ...(Copyright TTFA Media)

Trinidad and Tobago Elite Under-14 programme head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier told the TTFA Media that he is pleased with the response of his players so far, as they continue their preparations at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

At present, Fevrier oversees the development of 40 players under the NLCB programme, which started in 2017. His squad will form Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under-15 Team for the CONCACAF 2019 Championship.

Fevrier, the W Connection head coach and Soca Warriors assistant coach, leads an Under-14 staff made up almost entirely of current or past Connection employees. He is assisted by Connection youth coaches Leonson Lewis and Clyde Leon as well as goalkeeper coach Aquelius Sylvester, medic Troy Boodoosingh, team manager Wesley Webb and general manager Gary St Rose.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams is also the owner of W Connection and the selection of the youth team staff caused consternation among coaches from more successful local youth clubs like San Juan Jabloteh.

Fevrier, a St Lucian, is one of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League’s most successful coaches and did not disgrace himself in a short stint in charge of the National Senior Team in 2003—under then football president Oliver Camps. And he reported that the youth team is progressing well and should offer benefits to the local game in the long run.

“So far we have been training four days a week,” said Fevrier. “We have been concentrating on more technical work and we’ve just introduced some tactical awareness work.

“We are trying to get the youths to get an understanding of the system we would like to play and the roles and responsibilities. We have been pleased with their response as they have been very enthusiastic and we also have the support of the parents, which is important.”

Trinidad and Tobago, led by coach Russell Latapy, lost all four games at the CONCACAF 2017 Under-15 Championship as they fell to Costa Rica (4-0), USA (6-0), Canada (3-0) and Jamaica (8-1).

Fevrier hopes better preparation can make a difference when Trinidad and Tobago next lines up against the Confederation’s best teams in that age-group

“We are focusing on the basics, passing, controlling the ball, supporting, running with the ball [and] scoring,” Fevrier told the TTFA Media. “It’s about getting them to understand that you have to know what you are doing when you are on the football field. It is not by instinct only but, apart from instinct, you must also be more conscious when you get into certain positions.”

St Rose, who is the general manager of the Elite Programme, further explained the goal of the NLCB-funded scheme.

“It is not just about on-the-field training or technical and tactical training but it is about delivering to the boys a well-developed, holistic programme so they can develop all round,” said St Rose. “We have incorporated into the regime physical fitness testing, nutrition, psychology and even some social events for them. What we are trying to look at [is] every aspect of their football and personal development and work at that as much as possible week in, week out, so at the end of the day we can get a better person and football product.”

Marlon Charles is the head coach of the Girls’ Elite Programme, which will be tested at the CONCACAF 2018 Girls’ Under-15 Championship.

Trinidad and Tobago, with Charles as head coach, defeated the Dominican Republic (4-0) at the CONCACAF 2016 Under-15 Championship but also lost to USA (22-0), Haiti (5-0) and Mexico (11-0).

Jamaal Shabazz, the Women’s National Senior, Under-20 and Under-17 Team coach, said his recommendation is that the TTFA should not send a team to this year’s CONCACAF Under-15 competition if they may end up in a similar group since the girls are not yet ready for that level of competition.

Charles, a veteran national women’s coach, led Trinidad and Tobago to the Women’s Caribbean Under-17 title in 2013—although Jamaica, who were hosts of the CONCACAF tournament, did not participate in the Caribbean round.