Although celebrating just one title within the last two seasons under head coach Angus Eve, North East Stars have been “successful” in reviving the club's philosophy — something that was once forgotten by the 2004 League champions.
“In discussions with the chairman of North East Stars, Darryl Mahabir, upon my arrival [ahead of the 2012/13 season], it was revealed that the club had lost its goals over the years,” said Eve. “The goal of giving opportunities to young men; developing young players for the national teams and creating career opportunities.
“Since I joined North East Stars, we have been able to get full contracts for eight (8) players abroad, during the two years. Sheldon Bateau (KV Mechelen / Belgium), Seon Power (Chainat FC / Thailand), Cornell Glen (Shillong Lajong / India), Anthony Wolfe (Churchill Brothers / India), Kareem Moses (FC Edmonton / Canada), Keithy Simpson (Vaasan Palloseura/ Finland) and most recently Trevin Caesar (San Antonio Scorpions / United States) and Glenton Wolfe (Churchill Brothers / India).
“We are very much interested in the opportunities created for the players to make a better living for themselves and we are not just focused on squeezing foreign clubs for big transfer fees. And we have gotten more players out, than any other club in the last two years.
“We don’t have the budget of clubs such as Central FC or W Connection, or the resources of Defence Force or Police. We are operating on government’s subvention to offer young men the opportunity for a future in the sport.”
During the 2012/13 season, the community of Sangre Grande was buoyed over the moon when Eve led the Stars to the Toyota Classic title, but finished the term in fourth position on the Digicel Pro League standings.
Now, although finishing the 2013/14 season trophyless and missing out on another fourth position finish by a one-goal difference behind Point Fortin Civic, Eve remains a somewhat satisfied man.
Preparing for his third straight term as coach of North East Stars when the 2014/15 TT Pro League season kicks off in September, Eve has given full senior team promotion to 18-year-olds Neveal Hackshaw (midfielder), Jesus Perez (defender), Jomoul Francois (forward) and Keon Joseph (midfielder), 17-year-old midfielders Tarik Sampson and Reon Moore and 19-year-old defender Anthony Diaz.
“We are trying to promote from within,” explained Eve, a former Trinidad and Tobago international midfielder and ex-T&T Under 23 coach. “And continue in the philosophy of the club.”
Hackshaw and Perez both showed a lot of potential when called upon by Eve in the latter part of last season at the senior level and are presently members of the T&T Under 20 team along with club-mates Francois and Joseph, while Sampson is a member of the T&T Under 17 team.
Eve hopes that his young charges will make the best of their opportunities at the senior level in the upcoming Pro League season to attract the attention of the T&T senior team coaches.
The Stars coach has also retained the services of T&T third choice goalkeeper Cleon John and goalkeeper Stefan Berkeley; defenders Keryn Navarro and Aquil Selby; midfielders Keron Cummings, Kaashif Thomas, Jeromie Williams and Jayson Joseph; and energetic utility player Kennedy Hinkson, all to complement his young charges.
“I think we will have one the youngest squads in the league in the new season, if not the youngest,” said Eve. “Realistically we are aiming to finish in the top four (in the league) and for a title, while developing more players for the national teams, and developing players to gain better opportunities abroad. Once we do that, we would see our season as being successful again.”
Eve also said that the vacancies, left by defender Glenton Wolfe and T&T international forward Trevin Caesar, creates the opportunity for the younger players to secure spots.
“Caesar and Glenton were two pivotal players for the club,” he said. “Caesar finished joint second top-scorer in the league and top scored for us last season. He was always a threat with his pace up front, while Glenton was very instrumental defensively for the last two seasons.
“But we are trying to develop younger players to come through and secure spots.”
Eve also announced the acquisition of 25-year-old midfielder Tyrone Charles, who last represented Caledonia AIA.
Charles, who is also a former Central FC and St. Ann’s Rangers player, could however find a new role up front at the Sangre Grande club.
“Tyrone brings pace, power and is very good on the dead-ball situations,” shared Eve. “He can play midfield or forward and a very penetrative type player. We hope that he can replace what Trevin gave us up front.”