Dennis Lawrence, T&T senior men's national football coach used the forum of the 2017 Secondary Schools Football League awards function on Friday to share his - Three D approach - to life with over two hundred students at the Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce. He told them that he was sharing with them an approach that has brought him many successes as an individual, a player and a coach.
The forty-three old, is the only coach from T&T who has tasted success at the English FA Cup level as a coach while being an assistant to manager Roberto Martinez at Wigan Athletic in 2013. And of course everyone recalls his historic header which propelled this country to the 2006 World Cup Finals after a 1-0 win over Bahrain in 2005. He possesses a UEFA Pro License and was an assistant coach at Everton and Wigan Athletic in the English Premiership
Lawrence, who hails from Morvant, revealed that his journey from his days as a player in the Secondary Schools was far from smooth sailing. A former student of Malick Senior Comprehensive school team that dominated the SSFL and Intercol in the early 1990s. But he quickly revealed that he only got 12 minutes of play that year for the powerhouse school.
The former Wrexham player said, “There are three things I have earmarked that can bring you success and I have used these three things myself to progress in life. They all start with with the letter D, and my name is Dennis and it starts with the letter D." Among the audience were the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia and SSFL President William Wallace among other officials, students, award recipients and players.
“Determination was the first D - it is something that no one can give you, you need to have to have it and Mr Azaad Khan is here today in the audience. He was part of the process for myself when I went to Malick Senior Comprehensive,” Lawrence, a former stand-out player for the Defence Force recalled how last year Khan presented him with an old newspaper clipping that showed a photo of the 19-member Malick squad of 1990.
“I played twelve minutes in the Secondary Schools football league. That’s all I played because the coach at the time thought I wasn’t big enough, I wasn't quick enough and I wasn’t strong enough, so he didn’t feel that I had the ability to make it,” Lawrence explained.
“I looked at the photo, I was the only player that played 12 minutes and immediately I then realised something, it showed that you have to have determination in order to make it. Of the 19 persons in the photo, I was the only player that represented T&T at a World Cup,” Lawrence said, sparking huge applauds from the audience.
“Then there is Dedication. This is having the ability to understand that you need to decide very quickly who are your friends and who are not your friends because dedication requires that when it is 10:30 in the night and you have training tomorrow morning, you must be able to leave your friends and say I have to go and rest because I have training tomorrow morning. Don't confuse the meaning of true friends and acquaintances, there are differences," he said.
“And then there's Discipline - Discipline is something in my life that has always got me through because that is what I have. It is being able to understand that 10 am is not 10:30 am, 10 am is 9:30am. "For the big players such as Romelu Lukaku (who Lawrence coached at Everton), this is what they have because I have seen and work with the elite players and I have seen what it takes to be an elite player.”
Make these three “Ds" part of your life and I assure you that you will not only become successful footballers, but successful people in whatever you try to accomplish.