Anyone who had the opportunity of looking at Cornell Glen play seven years ago would not have pictured him striking with Coventry City’s Stern John on the T&T senior football team today.
Back then, playing for Mucurapo in the Secondary Schools League Glen, born October 21, 1980, was the only player on the field wearing a blue synthetic boots which made him easy to distinguish.
Eager to try things out of the ordinary, the youngster often made mistakes, causing spectators to utter, “Gosh! That man with the blue boots again.”
Through hard work, discipline, dedication and a fight with injuries, Glen has climbed from being ordinary to exceptional in the space of that time.
No wonder that he is now plying his trade as a professional in the United States with New York/New Jersey Metro Stars in the MSL (Major Soccer League).
“I didn’t feel a how playing with my blue boots. I was a youth and loved the flashy stuff. The boots was given to me by a friend. I just loved it and that is why I played in it. I never thought of how people would of think of me.”
Like many of the talented footballers coming out of T&T, Glen began playing football on the “block” in Waterhole, Cocorite — a place that also produced former national players Clint Marcelle and deceased Denzil White.
The son of Trevor and Patricia Glen was born in Waterhole and is still living there with his other three brothers and four sisters.
His youngest brother Cyrano, aged 17, played his first season with Mucurapo this year in the Secondary Schools League.
“I started playing football on the block with the older fellas,” Glen pointed out.
“It took great courage to reach where I am today and I will encourage any young footballer to stick with it once you have a passion for the game as I do,” he said.
Glen’s speed and movement off the ball has made him the deadly forward that he is today.
His first-half hattrick and assist on another goal on March 17 against Chicago Fire (MLS champion) to carry CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh to a 5-2 win in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinal series at Hasely Crawford Stadium still lingers in the minds of the majority of the 10,000 specators who witnessed the match.
Incidently, it was because of that sterling performance that the soft-spoken player was immediately snapped up by Metro Stars where he made his debut against New England a month and eight days later.
“In the last few years, the coaches I have had basically made me play to my strengths, using my speed and talking on defenders one-and-one,” Glen disclosed.
“From the first day I went to the MSL, I finished touches with my coach Bob Bradley and assistant coach Moe Johnson of Scotland.
“Shooting runs off the ball and working on my first touch, along with shooting with both feet and heading, have been some of the main things I had worked on religiously.
“I am not a striker who loves to head the ball but it is something that I had to improve on.”
Glen has his eyes set on playing for one of the big teams in the English premiership league. “Obviously I will like to play for bigger money. Right now, I am using playing in the MLS to further my career. Right now, I am more than surviving with what I am getting at Metro Stars.
After playing for Futgof in the Semi-Pro League in 1999, Glen spent two years with Adsanjonese (Second Division) in Portugal but left because “I felt that my career was not going anywhere and was at a standstill”.
Presently, Glen has about 18 caps and he hopes that by the end of the World Cup in 2006 he would have represented T&T in another 40 to 50 matches which will make him eligible to play in Europe.
Glen spent 2002-2003 with Jabloteh in the T&T Professional League playing under English coaches Terry Fenwick and Ricky Hill. He led his team to two consecutive league championships, scoring 11 goals in the first season and improving that to 26 in the second season.
“Having played my first season with Metro Stars, I believe that the top clubs in Trinidad could compete with any of the MSL clubs,” Glen said.