National Under 20 Team captain Leston Paul says he will be making a decision in the coming weeks whether he jets off to the United States to take up a football scholarship or whether he becomes a full time professional footballer.
Paul, who was in the Senior Team squad for its closing two 2010 World Cup Qualifiers also reflects on his period as captains of the National Youth Teams at World Cups in 2007 and 2009.
“I will give anything to go through those experiences again,” he said. Leston captained the T&T Under 17 team at the 2007 FIFA Under 17 World Championship in Korea and then at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup in Egypt.
How would you describe the experience of Egypt 2009 as a member and captain of the Trinidad and Tobago team?
The experience was a very enjoyable and memorable one which would stay with most of the players for the rest of their lives because we really made ourselves, family and most of all, our country proud. What was the feeling like being out there in the first game of a World Cup tournament, the fans, the atmosphere at the Egyptian Army Stadium.
At first it was a bit difficult, maybe a little frightening for me and intimidating being away in front of 80 thousand and all the fans screaming and cheering for our opponents in the opening of a World Cup. I was very proud of myself also knowing that it was my second youth World Cup and also being the captain a second time around
Would you give anything again to go through the whole experience of the T&T Under 20 team?
Yes I definitely would!
Leston what was you recall as your most memorable moment in Egypt 2009?
That would have to be walking out of the tunnel and standing in front of 80 thousand fans at the opening match of the World Cup against Egypt in Alexandria.
How do you think that this experience, the matches, the training camps, the place and history of Egypt as a country, would contribute in general to the development of the current crop of players from this team?
I’d think the experience would have contribute to each player working harder to achieve the needed results on the field, also increasing their passion in the game to wanting to win and most of all play good at all times. The camps really and truly opened the eyes of the players to realise what professionalism is all about and what it takes to get good results at the top level in football.
How would you look back at the campaign from an individual standpoint? From 2007 Korea to now.
From 2007 to now I can say that I personally improved a lot and also gained a lot of experience because of the amount of tours and training camps that we had from that time (in 2007) to now. We also played a lot of international games.
What was it like training with the Senior Team, particularly being in the squad for the two final qualifying games.
Working with the senior team was a great experience for me. It helped me to learn a lot from the older guys like Carlos, Kenwyne, Dennis and also Kerry. The players really showed me things that can help in improving my game and also my life as a young player. Latapy was also helpful and for me he is one of my role models.
Leston, what are your immediate ambitions ?
Right now I’m trying to get as much rest as possible at least until the end of the year because it’s been a very long and hectic season for me. I’ll be getting ready for the new year when at the start I’ll be making a very big decision in my life…
Will you go off to College in the USA or try to turn pro now? Whatever your decision, why?
I’m not too sure what I will be doing as yet, whether it’s going to be College or on the professional stage. But I have both doors opened so my decision will be made soon. I have not heard about any offers as yet but hopefully something good will happen for me soon.