Angus Eve, coach of the Soca Warriors Under-23 squad is hoping to add the USA-based duo of Kevan George and Nick De Leon to his squad ahead of the Concacaf Olympic Final Round Qualifying Tournament.
The eight-team tournament will be played in the USA from March 23 to April 2. In the eight-team competition, the young Soca Warriors have been grouped with Mexico, Panama and Honduras in California, USA.
Host USA, Canada, Cuba and El Salvador are in the other group. The group winners will face the runners-up in the opposite groups with the victors qualifying for the London Olympic Games July 27-August 12. The Tobago-born Kevan George, 21, was one of three players selected by the Columbus Crew in Thursday’s US Major League Soccer SuperDraft.
A midfielder/defender, George who was born in Roxborough, Tobago was the 29th overall pick from the University of Central Florida while De Leon, the son of former T&T international footballer Leroy De Leon and brother of national women’s youth team forward Jessica De Leon was drafted as the seventh overall pick by DC United.
A former University of Louisville midfielder, De Leon, 21, had a standout collegiate career and has been tipped by DC coach Ben Olsen as one for the future.
Commenting on the status of the Under-23 squad preparations for London, Eve said yesterday the T&T Football Federation was working on trying to get both players in the country for Wednesday’s Under-23 friendly match against Finland.
“We were working on getting George and De Leon over here to face the Finns but it seems as though talks have broken down. Asked if he had received a feedback from the players, Eve replied, “De Leon’s situation is much more complicated than George.
“He (De Leon) was not born in T&T and has the option of chosing the country of his birth, USA while his father was born here. “George on the other hand was both in Tobago as well as his parents who are all now living in the USA. “So we have to continue dialogue with both players and how things work out.”
Looking ahead to the team’s continued preparations, Eve, a former national captain, said efforts will still be made to have both players join the squad at a camp in the USA to be held in early March, just before the start of the Concacaf tournament.
With respect to Wednesday’s match against Finland, the former Chester City winger said the match will provide a chance for his team to test its ability against European opposition.
Eve will take a squad of 25 players to Tobago tomorrow to fine tune for the friendly match with the Finland’s senior team at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet, from 5 pm.