T&T Pro League
31 Jul 2008
- Written by T&T Express
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Joe Public FC has recently appointed a new head coach in the person of Keith Griffith of Barbados. The T&T Pro League club are preparing for their upcoming CONCACAF Champions League fixture against American Major League Soccer team New England Revolution, scheduled for August 26, 2008 at the Marvin Lee Stadium.
CONCACAF Champions League™
Team Profile: Joe Public FC.
Year Founded: 1996
President: Jack Warner
Qualified to 2008/09 CCL:
2007 Caribbean Cup Runner Up
CFU Club Championship (1998, 2006)
T&T Pro League (1998, 2006)
Trinidad & Tobago Cup (2001, 2007)
The island nation of Trinidad & Tobago is perhaps more “football-mad” than ever; and it is with good reason. Since the establishment of a full-time professional league in 1999, Trinidad & Tobago has qualified for their first FIFA World Cup™ (2006) and found regional success on the club level. While the Soca Warriors have captivated soccer enthusiast with passionate celebrations and spirited performances, the club teams in Trinidad & Tobago have played a large part in the national team’s success. One of the teams leading the fight for Trinidad & Tobago on the club scene is Joe Public FC, who will take the field in August as one of three teams to represent the Caribbean in the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™.
In just a few short years Joe Public has asserted themselves as one of the Caribbean’s most feared football clubs. In the 12 years since the team joined the Trinidad & Tobago semi-professional league (they joined the full-professional league when it was established in 1999) they have already won the TT Pro League, as well as two Caribbean Club Championships. A progressive club since its very first days, Joe Public will now enter the 2008-09 CONCACAF Champions League™ focused not on mere participation, but on winning their first continental crown.
They qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League as CFU 2, after placing 2nd in the Caribbean Football Union’s 2007 Club Championships. It was a tournament that they had dominated right up until the final match, having scored 17 goals without conceding, but in the end Joe Public came up just short of ultimate triumph by losing to fellow CONCACAF Champions League qualifier Harbour View FC of Jamaica. The win for Harbour View was historic, as it meant that they could now join Joe Public as the two most successful teams in the history of the competition; with two championship crowns each.
Sometimes failure can breed the greatest of success, and this has certainly been the case for Joe Public. Prior to Trinidad & Tobago’s qualification run for the FIFA World Cup™ 1998 France, the country lacked an organized, full-time professional league. Up until this time, the nation employed a handful of full-time staff and players for their national team, however, they did not have a suitable way to further develop talent. In 1996, Joe Public was established with the aim of leading the T&T cause, and thus the club entered a team into the then semi-professional league.
Setting an example for other teams to follow, Joe Public employed a professional approach almost from day one, with a fully paid staff, a home office and players from around the world. It was an approach that paid dividends as success came to Joe Public almost immediately. In their first season in the Trinidad & Tobago top league the club finished second and by their second season they were Caribbean Football Union Club Champions. It was a remarkable way to begin writing a club history, but the growth and success for Joe Public did not stop there. In 1999, the semi-professional league converted to professional (now known as the TT Pro League) and Joe Public has gone on to win a national crown in 2006, as well as a second Caribbean crown in 2000. Not satisfied to rest on their laurels, the club has also pioneered the idea of a full-scale system in Trinidad & Tobago and currently harbors a semi-professional team, an amateur team, junior teams in four age groups, as well as a women’s teams. In total, the club maintains over 200 active players, 40 staff members and runs its own coaching academy, Joe Public Coaching School, aimed at securing success for the future.
A big part of this future success for Joe Public will depend on their ability to continue a strong track record in the Caribbean, while also finding success on a larger scale. When Head Coach, Ralph Nelson leads his team into the new Champions League, he will be looking to improve on the club’s past performances in the CONCACAF Champions Cup™. In order to do so, he will likely rely on the continued form of striker Kerry Baptiste, who has been the team’s top marksmen through the early goings of the TT Pro League and one of their most prolific goal-scorers in the CFU Championships. Helping Baptiste in attack will be Roen Nelson, a Jamaican player who has also shown an ability to score for his club side. The positive signs are there for Joe Public as well, as the team has seen a nice beginning to their most recent TT Pro League season and remain well within title contention.
Joe Public will be happy to be in good form when they begin their Champions League campaign as they will face the USA’s New England Revolution in the preliminary round in August. The Revolution have been in good form this season and should provide stiff opposition. The winner of their home and away contest will advance to the Champions League group stage as a member of Group C, thus joining Atlante FC of Mexico, Honduras’ CD Olimpia and the winner between Canada’s Impact de Montreal and Real Esteli of Nicaragua.