Wed, Jul

REMEMBER Stevie “Wonder” David, the ace national striker of the 1970s? Well he will be back home soon and is promising something big for local football.

David left here after the 1973 fiasco in Haiti when Trinidad and Tobago scored six goals and still lost 2-1 to the hosts in Port-au-Prince because of unscrupulous officiating.

He later became a “big noise” in the North American Soccer League, a forerunner to the current Major League Soccer where he starred alongside the legendary Brazilian Pele and Italian Georgio Chinaglia.

David, an ex-policeman, in one season was voted Most Valuable Player in the NASL ahead of the great Pele.

Now he will be returing to put something back into the game which, at one time he literally filled the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain and all where he played.

David and another ex-great national midfielder Leroy “Dilly” de Leon will next month launch the Leroy De Leon/Steve David Football Academy (LSFA).

In an interview recently, David made it absolutely clear his academy which will come into being fully in March, will not be just coaching football.

He said he will be teaching sporting discipline, etiquette, academics, how to interact with the press, apart from basic football skills — a whole rounded programme.

And David who is expecting to have “The Great One” (Pele) here to formally open his academy said, he was targeting youngsters between the ages of seven to 15 in four categories. Those between 7-9; 9-11; 11-13 and 13-15 are the focus of the LSFA.

With the assistance of convenor Anthony Reyes, David said sessions will be held throughout Trinidad and Tobago, not just at one location.

He pointed out he will be taking the academy nationwide, to his native “Black City” (Point Fortin), San Fernando, Carenage in the north, Arima in the East, Eddie Hart Ground in Tuna-puna, Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, Skinner Park and Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.

David said, “I want LSFA to be a football nursery. I am hoping to produce national players.”

Now a completely bald 55-year-old, David indicated after the ten-hour per week programme, youngsters will be chosen on representative area teams for a national series, during which they can showcase their newly aquired skills.

He lamented the lack of flair in local football, when a player can take on a defence as he did successfully in his time.

A very fit-looking David said, “This to me is what is lacking in the current professional league. There is no player who the fans can readily identify with as an outstanding star.”

In his day, David earned the sobriquet “Wonder” with his dribbling and shooting skills which made him the bane of defenders.

Only recently, his international goal output for Trinidad and Tobago was surpassed.

David scored 16 goals in 23 internationals and this was overtaken by “Soca Warriors” striker Stern John who now has 18 goals from 32 matches.