T&T Pro League
11 Feb 2011
- Written by Ian Prescott (TT Express)
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The T&T Pro League will change its season to run similar to the major leagues in England and Europe. So the next T&T Pro League season will begin in August and run until May 2012.
And the 2010-2011 season has also been extended until late March to facilitate the staging of the two knockout tournaments—the Toyota Classic, which begins today, and the Digicel Pro Bowl.
Previously, the Pro League began in March/April and ran to November/December, following the system in American Major League Soccer (MLS).
Dexter Skeene, CEO of the Digicel Pro League, made the disclosure at this week's launch of the Toyota Classic knockout tournament at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain.
Much of the 2010 season spilled over into this year due to delays caused by the national senior team's programme and the 2010 FIFA Women's Under-17 World Cup held in Trinidad and Tobago last September.
Consequently, the delays gave the Pro League the opportunity to begin the seasonal change.
Skeene added that aligning the season calendar with that of Europe has afforded the T&T Pro League the opportunity to further link culture with sport to harness and develop the talent of people in Trinidad and Tobago.
"This tournament (Toyota Classic) will do just that and take advantage of visitors coming to our shores (for Carnival) and incorporate our culture of the soca, calypso and steelpan," he said.
Skeene told the audience that the importance of the Pro League goes beyond just kicking a ball and that the local professional league has its impact on the social fabric of the country. He linked current high crime to the social climate in Trinidad and Tobago.
"I make no apologies for saying that if the T&T Pro League did not exist, thousands of young men would have no meaningful outlet to showcase their God-given talent, to build positive self-esteem, to be able to put bread in their families' mouth, to be able to aspire for greatness and be worthy ambassadors for what is about our beloved nation," he said.
Skeene added that socially-conscious corporate sponsors, who see beyond the dollar sign, are a rare breed in Trinidad and Tobago. As such, he thanked regular sponsors Toyota, Digicel, First Citizens and Lucozade for their continued investment in developing youth and football in the country.
"The fact that Toyota remains resolute in its support of this innovative competition is a clear statement of the intent on Toyota's part," said Skeene.
At the launch of the new Toyota Classic logo, Toyota marketing officer Sean Shaffie said: "Toyota has been involved in sport from the very inception and football has been our number one desire.
"It is with this desire that we teamed up with the T&T Pro League to bring about the changed culture by instilling the professional attitude in sport to prepare our potential talent to embrace the dynamism of world football.
"We believe that with the right approach many among us can reach the world stage. Toyota is about playing its part in helping those realise their dreams. We applaud the efforts of the T&T Pro League and continue to encourage them through initiatives like these," concluded Shaffie.