My name is Dion La Foucade and I run a football camp for children during the long vacation. After early childhood in Point Fortin, I lived in Carenage and attended St Anthony’s College, where I was named player of the year for the school in 1987. I took up football coaching soon after school and have not looked back. I live in Diego Martin now. I came close to getting married to a girl from England. But that did not work out because of my hectic lifestyle.
If we turn children away from the football field, bet your bottom dollar somebody else will take them in. And it could be somebody negative. I was raised in the Anglican faith but do not subscribe to religion. I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, His substitutionary death for all men, His resurrection, and His eventual return to judge the world.
I love The Sound of Music. I prefer to watch DVDs at home as I will usually fall asleep in cinema. Done that many times.
I’ve been a coach since I was 16 years old. I didn’t think I was good enough as a player, so I came up with this logic, “If I do a little coaching, I’d be able to understand the game better and become a very good player.” I went to a coaching seminar and all these grown-up guys asking, “You’re a player, 16 years old, what are you doing here?” Funny thing happened: I damaged my knee at 17, tore my ACL and then I had no choice but to go into coaching.
My elder brother Miguel played with Shaka Hislop, so I called Shaka at West Ham. Shaka called out the academy director and Tony Carr called me to do a practice with Jermaine Defoe, Joe Cole, Anton Ferdinand and these guys in it. I was quite nervous but, what inspired me more, Harry Redknapp sent some coaches to look at me coach. He asked me to stay back and talk to some of their coaches because he said what I was doing was very, very unique.
I believe in the three Cs of life: you have to make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change. So I made that choice. I never believed, growing up, I’d be dealing with children and correcting children and mentoring children and trying to help them become disciplined. We do a camp for three weeks every summer. It’s a chance to give back to Trinidad. If we turn our backs on the children...If I don’t go down into the trenches, the chances of some child putting a gun to my head become greater.
Nobody cares what you know. Until they know that you care. I go to YTC [Youth Training Camp] quite often. Children want to please somebody. They want approval. That’s why they join gangs. They will please even people who make them do wrong things. As positive people in society, we have to channel them into the right things.
I believe in a teaching method called, “guided discovery”: I don’t give them the answer. I kind of help them, prompt them, so they come up with the answer themselves. A lot of coachestry to train the player. We should be coaching the person. When you train the person, training the player becomes quite easy. I’m not going to produce a million Dwight Yorkes, but can I produce better citizens of Trinidad & Tobago? Certainly!
The best part of doing the camp is when a parent calls and says they’re seeing a difference in their child. You can only do so much in one week, football-wise, but attitudinally, you can do a lot. One of the bad things is, some of the children, the background they come from, the parent wants you to teach them football, but not discipline. Coaching should be more about development than winning. When you push children to win, they want to win at all costs.
I’ve travelled around the world and, every time you meet people who have met people from Trinidad, it’s always a very warm feeling. Trinis are people that you love. Every creed and race really does find an equal place in Trinidad & Tobago. Our ability to blend and work well together is quite amazing.