There are rules that must be followed and despite ones professional status, there should be no exceptions whatsoever.
However in his latest move to block former Herkimer County Community College midfield starlet Michael Roopchandsingh (Mike) from being registered in the T&T leagues; Pro League Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dexter Skeene leaves a lot to be desired in his handling of a relatively simple situation.
In a February 1st release on the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) it was reported that Mike was connected to Newburgh FC "Free" Academy club, a club that is based in the United States. Not knowing the exact details of the player status in connection with the club, I wrote the article on Mike and stated that he played for Newburgh FC.
On February 7th, a disappointed North East Stars marketing manager Kevin Harrison contacted me and advised that Mike was barred from being registered by the Pro League because it needed clearance from the last club Mike played for in the US. And rightfully so, that is the rule one has to abide by which Harrison fully understood.
This all transpired after the Pro League published the February 1st SWO released on their website, which I assume they read before publishing it.
Harrison mentioned: "We are trying to bring quality players for the national team and it’s we that prevent it from happening! You can bet the Pro League would not have queried the registration without the article."
Bear in mind, Mike's Father, Mother, former school coach and the player himself all vouched that he was never under contract with any club in the US. He only trained with clubs to keep himself fit, in other words he just played pickup games, which he is also currently doing with North East Stars in Trinidad?
Mike said: "Why would I lie and jeopardized my own career? The guy (Dexter Skeene) called me and didn't really want to hear what I had to say. He just said one thing and that was, we need clearance and I really did not understand what clearance, as he was very abrupt and he did not explain the process?
"I am currently in T&T, the clubs I played with wouldn't even understand what clearance I am talking about even if I asked them as I was never under any contract with them; and that's if they even remembered me as it was a long time ago."
"I sacrifice everything to come and play in T&T because I love it here, this is my parents’ country and I feel like I am Trini equally. I love T&T and even though my trip has had its disappointments, I am also having a great time too."
"Now I feel so discouraged and disappointed. I just want to get on with playing the sport I really love, but I also understand that there are rules to be followed and I must follow them. Now I guess I will have to leave the country and go back to the US in search of some help to clear up this matter, “ ended Mike.
In spite of Mikes current situation with the Pro League it should be noted that in September 2011, national midfielder and former captain Densill Theobald signed with India's professional club Dempo SC. However, the midfielder was not allowed to play any games for his new club until January 01st, 2012. The reason being, that he was denied clearance due to the fact that he was not under contract with Caledonia, but rather with Hungarian club Ujpest FC which he played for before returning to Caledonia.
The circumstances meant Dempo would possibly have had to pay Ujpest a transfer fee. FIFA subsequently denied a plea by Dempo to allow Theobald the necessary clearance for him to be an eligible player in the I-League.
Now here is where this matter gets interesting, Theobald joined Ujpest FC in July 2007 and left in December of that same year. Since then he was a regular member of local outfit Caledonia AIA and played with them for 3 years after his Ujpest FC expired.
What is confusing is the fact that Dempo SC needed clearance from Ujpest FC and not Caledonia AIA. This begs the question, how can Theobald have played professional football for three years in the Pro League with a club that he did not get clearance to play for? Shouldn't he have needed clearance from Caledonia instead of Ujpest?
Furthermore, with regards to Mikes player status, in the SWO release he made it clear that he was leaving his options open and was not 100% sure about becoming a professional player as yet because he may still want to return to school.
Another baffling question that can be asked is how Mike could have played for Herkimer County Community College if he was supposedly connected to a professional team? Bear in mind too, that to this day there are still schools in the US that are willing to offer Mike athletic scholarships.
In any circumstance, Mike will just have to obey the law of the game, but what is disappointed though, is the fact that the League administration is not willing to go the extra mile to help players in Mike's situation. A phone call or an email to the club in question would have made all the difference.
I have personally helped many youths (whom I cannot disclose out of respect for the players) and Mike is just another one of those youths who I cannot deny assistance. While he is off no relations to me, I feel happy just knowing a foreigner is willing to come and commit to playing football in my country. Shouldn't we help, advise and support young players like Mike?
Welcome to T&T Mike, a place where reality is harsh and professional football seems to be all but professional.
But that's just my opinion.