National Under 23 striker Shahdon Winchester joined this country’s contingent of European-based players when he signed a one-year contract with Finland Premier League club FF Jaro on Friday.
The 21-year-old former Naparima College left his now former club W Connection earlier this month for a trial at the club and was sufficiently impressive to earn the contract.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to secure my first European professional contract at age 21,” Winchester told TTFF Media on Saturday.
“Especially in Europe… where else could a young professional player hope to play. I dreamt about this for some time now. I tried before and nothing came through but I thank God that this is now something that I can take off my mind and just focus on football and doing my best for my new club FF Jaro,” a proud Winchester added.
The Princes Town resident was thankful to W Connection and its head coach Stuart Charles Fevrier for their belief in him and their investment over recent seasons and he was also grateful to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation for the experience he gained while playing at the international youth and senior level.
“My past club W Connection definitely played a big role in my development and the timely coaching of Stuart Charles Fevrier helped me to become what I am today. The experience with the national teams also helped me along the way and I say thank you to the Federation and the coaches for the opportunity.”
Winchester penned the deal on Friday following a friendly game in which he scored one and set up another in a 3-2 loss to JSK.
Jaro head coach Alexei Eremenko liked what he saw of Winchester, saying “One goal and one assist, it was a good performance. He is fast, strong, and wins the head to head. I was happy with what I saw.”
Winchester who turned 21 on January 8, scored for T&T in their 1-1 draw with Uruguay at the 2011 Pan American Games and in the 1-1 draw with Panama at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying final round in Los Angeles last year. He has two senior international appearances for T&T.
He made his debut at age 18 against Antigua/Barbuda. Winchester is not the first T&T player to play in Finland with ex-defender Brent Sancho and Akil De Freitas (FF Jaro) having already secured deals in that country in the past.