One year ago, Jerren Nixon decided to take a break from football after playing for nine years as a professional abroad.
Today, the rest is history. Nixon turned out to be the Pro League’s leading individual goalscorer and had the distinction of captaining the “Stars” to their first Pro League title in a rags-to-riches run.
As if that was not enough, a dedicated Nixon, discarded from national duty for the past four years, was recalled by national coach Bertille St Clair to play a role for T&T in the “Road to Germany” World Cup campaign.
“I came home and witnessed matches in the Pro League. I really didn’t want to play but North-East Stars approached me. It took more than a week for me to decide,” Nixon pointed out.
“My wife prompted me to take up the offer. She told me to think about it seriously because I would be helping the ‘Grande’ people.”
Being a person who has never been a quitter, Nixon joined North East Stars in September last year and quickly made a hit with the Sangre Grande based side, taking them to third place in the league behind Vibe CT 105 W Connection and champion CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh and new holders of the coveted FA Trophy.
His presence in the James McClean-coached unit made a big difference, since the year before the team finished bottom of the table losing 18 consecutive matches in the process.
“When I came back home in March, 2003, I decided to take a little break from the game,” Nixon admitted.
“My contract was coming to an end and we (FC Zurich and I) came to a mutual agreement for me to be released two months before,” added Nixon.
“My big son started school so I decided to stay home and make sure that he got a proper schooling rather than seeking another contract overseas.”
Jerren Nixon Junior is six years old and attends Sangre Grande Hindu School. Jerren Junior has a little brother, Jerrell, who is just 2 1/2 years old.
Midway through the season, Nixon replaced Guyanese Charles Pollard as captain of North East Stars.
“The most important thing I brought to the team was to make the players believe in themselves,” he outlined. It was the same players who were there from the beginning.
“Our aim was to win every single game and the one way we could have done that was to be confident in ourselves.”
Nixon and his North East Stars’ teammates just fell short of their goal, losing only three matches to date — beaten by Starworld Strikers, Vibe CT 105 W Connection and CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh.
Nixon scored an incredible 36 goals — 18 more than second-placed Randolph Jerome, last season’s top goalscorer when with North East Stars.
“I think after coming third and winning the FA Trophy last year it showed that if we had a good start this season we would be up there keeping pace with Jabloteh and Connection,” Nixon said.
“I believe that it was our consistency that earned us the title,” he added. “You win leagues by being consistent.”
Nixon, born June 25, 1973, said right now his team’s emphasis is retaining the FA Trophy. “We are going full blast to retain the FA Trophy.”
He is of the opinion that next year will be a harder season for his side “because we have to live up to more expectations.”
“Everybody will want to beat the champion team so it will be harder for us.
“Some people are saying that I am too old. I’ve proved that this is not so. I’m always ready and rearing to go. I feel good being recalled to national duty.
“At the end of the day, I had to focus on my club football and then everything fell into place.
Since returning home, Nixon has opened an electronic store in the Arima Shopping Centre on Green Street.
Jerren Nixon started his football career in the Primary Schools Football League playing for Lower Morvant Government School. He then moved to Barataria Junior Secondary.
He switched to St Augustine Senior Comprehensive and spent three seasons from 1988 to 1991, taking his school to the “Big Seven” title and East Zone InterCol in the Secondary Schools League.
From that team, Nixon and goalkeeper Michael McCommie made it to the pro ranks and went on to represent T&T.
After playing for the national team at all levels as a junior, Nixon graduated to the T&T senior team in 1993 and was a regular member of that team up to 1999, playing alongside players like Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy.
In January 1994, Nixon took up a three-year contract with Dundee United. However, he left the Scottish club in 1995 to join FC Zurich where he spent five years before moving on to St Gallen for another 2 1/2 years.
In Switzerland, the left winger had the distinction of playing in both the EUFA Cup (FC Zurich) and Champions League (St Gallen).
In Scotland, Nixon was on the winning Dundee United team which won the Scottish Cup. Back then, the fleet-footed left-footer was regarded as one of the best wingers in the game in Europe.
Nixon grew up at No 1 Lourier Street in Morvant until the age of 12 when he moved to Maloney with his mom Denise. He married Kathy-Ann Guy, a former national footballer, on January 2, 1999.