Trinidad and Tobago national Under-20 defender Maurice Ford is quietly hoping that some of his peers from where he grew up in Port of Spain show up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium to offer support to the national team when they take on Curacao in their opening match of the Caribbean Under-20 Championship Finals.
Ford, who is attached to local professional club W Connection, trained with the T&T team at the Hasely Crawford Stadium yesterday as they commenced a live-in training camp under head coach Derek King.
T&T faces Curacao on Friday in their opening match of the CFU Under-20 championships. They will also take on Surinam on Sunday at the Hasely Crawford and Cuba on Tuesday at the same venue. Admission is $40 and kids under 12 are free.
Ford, who turned 17 last Saturday, hails from Nelson Street in the capital city. He has longed for the opportunity to represent the Red, White and Black at the highest possible level. He may still be some time away from playing for this country’s senior national team but performed creditably for T&T in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Guadeloupe.
Ford was also a member of the T&T Under 17 team that came to within one victory of qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup last year. That team defeated Costa Rica 2-0 which was the first and only victory to date by a T&T national team over Costa Rica in any kind of World Cup qualifying fixture.
“It’s a big honour for me to be playing for the national team. From growing up, football was my passion and it was the easiest way to go forward and come out of Nelson Street and do something that is positive. I am proud of where I come from and I want to go on to do bigger things. Playing football and helping the team do well is my biggest goal right now. Our goal is to go on to qualify for the Youth World Cup next year,” Ford told TTFA Media.
Several players from the past have come out of areas that have been dubbed “hotspots”. Ex T&T World Cup midfielder Densill Theobald is also a product of Nelson Street. Dennis Lawrence came from Morvant, Russell Latapy from Laventille, and Ataullah Guerra from East Dry River.
Former national captain Theobald has pledged his support for Ford and his teammates in anyway possible. “These youth need all the support they can get right now. I came from Nelson Street so I know how easy it is to get dragged into something that will bring problems, but fortunately I made the right choice and I stuck with football and I’ve been able to make a decent living.
‘’Now players like Maurice need support and proper guidance because he could follow persons like myself, Dennis and Russell who are like game changers in the community. Maurice is part of the new generation and his future is the future of Trinidad and Tobago,” Theobald added.