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Former national team winger Leonson Lewis has given credit to the Secondary Schools Football League for helping shape his career from his early teenage days as a player.

Lewis was a standout with Naparima College and San Fernando Technical Institute but recalls how he first entered St Benedict’s College before transferring to “Naps”. At that time in the early 80s he played for the “Naps team that was managed by David John-Williams, the current President of the TTFA. Lewis was among players honoured by the League last Saturday as one of the top players of the 1980s alongside the likes of Russell Latapy, Shaka Hislop, Dwight Yorke, Marvin Faustin, Hutson Charles, Anthony Sherwood, Shawn Boney, Marvin Oliver, Wesley Webb, Angus Eve, David Nakhid, Garth Pollonais, Timothy Haynes, Clint Marcelle and Neil Williams

“It means a lot for me to be recognised because I came from an era where there a lot of great players. Not everyone could be chosen but it had players like Todd Willis, Andrew Ali as a goalkeeper, Russell Sutton and so many others. There were so many good players, so that to recognized as one of the best players is a huge honour.

“I think it would be with San Fernando Tech where I had my best memories because we won everything that year. We only draw one game with Shaka Hislop and the St Mary’s College and they got on like they had won the World Cup,” Lewis laughed.

“For Naparima College, it was the time that really built me as a player. I remember one game when we had beaten ‘Tech’ with all their stars as one of the top moments. This period in Secondary Schools really shaped my career. This was where it all started. I had a lot of friends in St Benedict’s before I transferred but then I had a lot of fans when I went to Naps. At Naps is when I made up my mind that I wanted to be a professional footballer,” Lewis added.

“David John Williams was my manager when I was at Naparima College. He did whatever we needed in the team and it’s funny that now he is the President of the TTFA. I know he will focus a lot on youth development and he means well for the development of the game locally.”