North East Stars Head Coach Angus Eve has included striker Kerry Baptiste into his plans for upcoming TT Pro League season which is expected to begin in August.
It was one of the many new additions made by the Darryl Mahabir owned Sangre Grande club since hiring Eve, on a two-season agreement, this month.
The former San Juan Jabloteh and Ma Pau SC assistant coach entering his first season as head coach of a club began tailoring the Sangre Grande club with the additions of the 30 year old Baptiste and Trinidad & Tobago U-23 players, defender Kareem Moses (formally of St. Ann’s Rangers) and midfielder Micah Lewis (formally of Caledonia AIA).
Baptiste, who climbed his way from T&T U-20 to senior level and began his professional career at Jabloteh (2003-2006), is a former teammate and player of Eve at the San Juan club.
Baptiste then moved to Joe Public (2007-2010) and had trials with English Championship club Ipswich Town (December 2009) and Major League Soccer clubs Toronto FC (May 2010) and Seattle Sounders FC (2011) before finally signing a short term deal with North American Soccer League side FC Tampa Bay in July 2011.
He then returned to Trinidad joining T&TEC in January till the end of the 2011-2012 season, but is noted for his record 48 goals in the 2009 season at Joe Public which led to the club’s record haul of five titles.
“When you think of an efficient striker at club and national level, you think of Kerry Baptiste,” said the new North East Stars coach. “So I expect nothing less than twenty (20) goals from him this season.”
Baptiste became a free agent after a short spell with last season’s Digicel Pro League runner-up T&TEC which finished just a point shy of champion W Connection.
Eve also revealed during a press conference hosted by the club last Friday at the Larry Gomes Stadium that Jabloteh trio goalkeeper Cleon John, defender Sheldon Bateau and midfielder Elijah Manners have also been signed pending transfers.
While Defenders Glenton Wolfe, Kern Navarro and Seon Power, and midfielder Akeil Guevara are the only players with existing North East Stars’ contracts and will serve under Eve.
“This is a year of consolidation for us,” said Eve.
“We are going to bring in a lot of players, primarily U-23 players who we can continue to develop, to help Trinidad and Tobago go forward not just at youth level but also at senior level. (There would also be) a trickling of senior players so that they can help develop these young players to come on.”
Meantime veteran striker Gary Glasgow will serve as assistant coach and new technical additions include former Jabloteh goalkeeping coach Brian James, former Ma Pau SC team administrator Brian Bain and Earl Joseph as team physiotherapist.
Eve opened his speech on Friday by congratulating fellow Pro League club Caledonia AIA on winning the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Championship.
“In a couple years that’s where we want to be,” he said.
The former T&T international said that the plans of the club includes further developing its “very vibrant” youth academy, use the Reserve League as a development system and play a very attractive and competitive style at the senior level.