1. One year later, how do you feel about our 2006 World Cup qualification? You were part of the reserves in Bahrain, you experienced it first hand !
One year later, and it seems as if it was just a week ago. Memories like that happen once in a lifetime, and to be there to experience it was indeed a massive highlight in my football career. Hopefully, it won’t be the last-time I or the country gets to experience something like that again.
2. What do you think of now as you reflect on that qualifying campaign?
I think of the struggles the team overcame in order to qualify for the World Cup. The achievement was grinding through the qualifying rounds, even though there were visible set-backs with both performance and administration. Eventually putting that aside, and performing up to our standard as a team made the reward more satisfying. Going to the World Cup is the ultimate reward for any footballer and the country and team deserved it.
3. You got a recall a year later, but things didn’t go to plan in Austria, what you thought about your performance and what are areas you think need improving?
Considering I have not played an international game in over a year, I felt I did ok. Technically, I never felt out of sorts but what is necessary at international level is confidence. Confidence is built over time and I think I would be better able to express my game as I continue to get playing time. Overall, I kept possession well, but lacked the confidence necessary to break down the defense consistently. Also not playing with those guys for a while didn’t help and service to the forwards was scarce to say the least. More possession was needed in order to get involved, but that is something the team needs to work on regardless of who is playing.
4. Would you describe the recent MLS season as maybe your best season ever?
So far yes. It has only been two seasons at this level thus far and I think I set pretty high standards for myself after my first season. People around the league thought I was going to be a one hit wonder but I proved this year I am a legitimate scorer at this level.
5. What was responsible for your rise, at least to net double figures?
It was a combination of things. Disappointment and determination is the way I would best describe my rise. Disappointed by the fact that not having produced in my first year, I was completely written off at the beginning of my second season. At that time, I had two choices - either accept being left out the line up or fight for my place. I was determined to prove the coaches wrong and worked a little harder day in-day out. Eventually I got my chance, and I was ready to do what I had to in order to keep my place. As a forward, the only thing can guarantee you a place is production, and I produced.
6. Do you think you have the kind of respect you ought to have at the club?
Clearly after last year I don’t. However, it has increased massively after this season and if I continue to produce regularly, respect is a given.
7.You are in some way in the shadow of striker Stern John moreso because he lit up the League some years ago and you are now the only other Trinidadian striker in the MLS. Any thoughts on that?
I wouldn’t say in his shadow. But what Stern did in this league was remarkable, and no doubt it was the stepping stone he needed to propel his career. However, not taking away from what he did, but, he played in an era where the league was not as developed as it is now. The league has grown leaps and bounds since then, and the level is much higher. With that said, I use his accomplishments as a benchmark, and trying to better that is one of my goals moving into the next season. Hopefully, I can fully establish myself here for another year and make a similar jump like he did to Europe some years ago.
8. What are your goals for the coming season?
My goals are to score goals. I think I’ve done enough to prove I belong. It may sound arrogant, which I am, but don’t confuse it with overconfidence. I think I have paid my dues, so I’m looking forward to playing a full season God willing, with few negative obstacles in the way. I have done fairly well in less than perfect circumstances, so I am very optimistic of making a huge impact next season.
9. Do you expect to maybe play in the Digicel Cup in January?
Yes, as long as I am called in I will play.
10. Have you had interest from any other MLS club or any outside of the League?
This is not the EPL, or La Liga. there isn’t much disparity in the league. Moving from club to club in this league is considered horizontal movement, I’m only concern with vertical movement. Outside the league however, is attractive, but only if the move is beneficial to my career. With that said, nothing has been fully developed yet, but with more international experience, I think I would be more marketable. If I am called in for the international competitions next year, and I do well, then a move to a better league is highly possible. Right now there is more speculation than interest.
11. What you think is necessary for the rise again of your ex school, St Mary’s College. You led all scorers there during your time there, what are your hopes for them after such a dull 2006 season?
It’s a rebuilding process for CIC, every school goes through that period. When I was there Fatima couldn’t beat us home or away, now they are scoring close to double figures every time they meet. CIC needs to implement an infrastructure to help develop players at a younger age. It is at the point where guys reach at the first eleven level and are now being taught how to pass and control, when that should have been done in Forms 1 and 2. My hope is that they do get a plan in place sooner rather than later and rise to the standard they once held.
12. How did you feel looking on at the T&T games during the 2006 World Cup. Was there some sort of regret that you weren’t there?
I felt happy for the team, but more so for the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Finally our people were able to root for their own team in a World Cup. After many years of ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’ we finally got it right. I have no regrets about anything in my life. If I picked the team I’m sure I would not have left myself out. It was the coaches call. Was I disappointed? Yes!
13. Obviously 2010 is on your mind now.
Football is on my mind now. There is a lot of football before 2010, and if you overlook that, then 2010 will soon turn into maybe 2014. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and miss steps. There is work to be done before then. In due time 2010 will be a priority, and when that time comes around, I won’t be on the outside looking in.