NATIONAL WOMEN’S Player of the Year 2014, defender Arin King will face off against experienced TT midfielder/striker Tasha St Louis when professional women’s football comes to TT in the form of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the kick-off for which is tomorrow.
Four days after the draft ceremony for first and second-round picks, the final rosters for five of the six teams were released yesterday, leaving only the Oilers, the league development team that will have no professionals among their ranks, to name their squad.
The league, sponsored by a combination of the Shanghai Construction Group, Caribbean Airlines, The Chancellor Hotel, Bankers Insurance Limited, Blue Waters and Digicel will be played -off primarily on small grounds in municipal areas, part of a bid to develop and retain community interest.
King and two other TT players, Dernelle Mascall and Lauryn Hutchinson will turn out with the Dragons against St Louis, Patrice Superville and Jo-Marie Lewis and the Fuego, in the first match of the season-opening double-header at the Police Academy Ground (the St James Barracks).
The match will kick off at 5 pm, following which Wave, featuring TT captain and midfielder Maylee Attin-Johnson and national teammates Anique Walker and Ayanna Russell, will clash with Wave FC, the team for which TT goalkeeper Kimika Forbes and striker Kennya Cordner will be playing for. Entry for opening doubleheader, as for all games in the WPL, is free.
Of great interest for fans will be how quickly and well the many players brought in from other Caribbean states and as far as the United Kingdom can adapt to the conditions in TT, not the least of which will be the playing surfaces.
Some of the coaching personnel are also foreign — Dragons’ coach Karla Aleman hails from Costa Rica and, in the Rush outfit, the assistant to former TT Women’s coach Marlon Charles is Brasilian Ademir Braz de Oliveira. The Dragons and Fuego have so far named 16 players each; Rush and Wave FC have announced 14 women in their respective squads to date, and Angels have the largest roster so far, 17 players under coach Richard Hood and his assistant Joel Warrick.
And, while the Oilers will rely entirely on student-athletes, they will not lack for funding; fittingly, State-owned oil company Petrotrin, according to the WPL, has bought the franchise “in furtherance of their commitment to youth development in football.”
In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, Petrotrin boasted one of the most powerful and successful clubs in the top tier of men’s football.
The WPL is now hoping that, having laid the table, TT’s sporting public will come out and partake. The opening matches have been deliberately set on the evening before the Labour Day holiday, in anticipation that fans will come out in large numbers, knowing the long weekend will follow.
Angels: Maylee Attin-Johnson, Ayanna Russell, Anique Walker, Tkeyah Phillip, Temar Watson, Peta-Gaye Soman, Rafaela De Vargas (all Trinidad and Tobago), Tynetta McKoy (St Kitts and Nevis), Beth Seasman, Jodie Redgrave (both United Kingdom), Bruno Da Silva, Hilda Izquierda (both Brazil), Jaclyn Poucel (USA), Alyssa Budhoo (Canada), Kandace Franklin (St Vincent and the Grenadines), Jodi-Ann McGregor (Jamaica).
Head coach: Anthony Creece (T&T), Assistant coach: Janelle Noel (T&T).
Rush: Ahkeela Mollon, Rhea Belgrave, Janine Francois, Mariah Shade, Annalis Cummings, Sharice Arthur, Afeisha Mohammed, Tamika Isaac, Janelle McGee, Adeka Spence (all Trinidad and Tobago), Bruna Marchiowatti, Priscilla Selau, Joyce Mattos (all Brazil), Emily Marie Cota (US Virgin Islands).
Head coach: Marlon Charles (T&T), Assistant coach: Ademir Braz De Oliveira (Brazil).
Wave FC: Kennya Cordner, Kimika Forbes, Verlea Duprey, Jenelle Cunningham, Samantha Kissoon, Tisha Lee Spicer, Patrice Vincent, Charissa Delzin (all Trinidad and Tobago), Shakira Duncan (Jamaica), Shanice Stephenson (Barbados), Josean Azevedo, Camilla Germano (both Brazil), Emarie Holland (USA), Laura Becerra (Colombia).
Head coach: Derek Arneaud (T&T), Assistant coach: Allistair Ramdoo (T&T).
Dragons: Arin King, Lauryn Hutchinson, Kadeem Jordan, Shanicar Diamond, Dernelle Mascall, Ashley Mark, Stavey Paul, Alania Burgin (all Trinidad and Tobago), Thais Amorina, Rafaela Silva, Marissol Moreira, Quezia Brunatti Proenca (all Brazil), Maleike Pacheco (Venezuela), Annabella Arevaloz (Paraguay), Jessica Adams (US Virgin Islands), Isabella Hayes (UK).
Head coach: Karla Aleman (Costa Rica); Assistant coach: Joanne Daniel (UK).
Fuego: Tasha St Louis, Patrice Superville, Diamond Henderson, Anastacia Prescott, Jamila Mathlin, Denisha Thomas, Bernelle Shears, Nickisha James, Jo Marie Lewis, Shanelle Warrick (all Trinidad and Tobago), Christina Murray, Tanesia Vassell (both Jamaica), Leticia Bussato, Camila Demezio (both Brazil), Ermelindo Izquierda (Paraguay), Zaudita Kaza-Amalak (US Virgin Islands).
Head coach: Richard Hood (T&T); Assistant coach: Joel Warrick (T&T).
Dragons vs Fuego, 5 pm, St James Barracks;
Wave FC vs Angels, 7 pm, St James Barracks;
Oilers vs Rush, 5 pm, Hasely Crawford Stadium.