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Tue, Oct

Hashim Arcia celebrating a goal
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Hashim Arcia has turned to a new chapter in his life, one which looks promising for his new employers, Defence Force.

The 27-year-old former W Connection star attacker, who can occupy attacking midfield or the false 9 role, made the switch in enrolling with the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force at the end of last season.

According to Arcia, his move to the Defence Force, last season’s third place Digicel Pro League finishers, provides him with a new challenge in his footballing career. The father of one, 2 year-old daughter Stylar Arcia, also stated that while his move to Defence Force provides job security, it wasn’t the main reason for his decision.

Arcia told www.ttproleague.com, “After five years at W Connection I thought it was time for a new challenge. I’ve won many titles including the (Digicel Pro) league and had great times at Connection but now it’s about trying it with another team. My aim now is to win the league and every other title available with Defence Force.”

Defence Force head coach Marvin Gordon won't have the full availability of Arcia just yet, along with midfielders Levi Serries and Tevon Eve; defenders Kevin Carter, Brandon Fountain and Jamali Garcia; and former T&T youth and Under-23 goalkeeper Andre Marchan, who all underwent recruitment training over the past few months.

However Gordon isn’t ruling out the possibility of naming Arcia to his squad for Sunday’s 2015 First Citizens Cup quarter-finals clash against Morvant Caledonia United when both two-time champions meet from 4 pm at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

“We had just one (football) training session with Arcia on Tuesday morning because of his work commitments, but he is looking very sharp,” said Gordon. “We are hoping to have him available for another session before we can make a decision if he can fit into the system for Sunday’s game. But we can’t say for sure.”

Arcia, who had stints at Ma Pau SC (now defunct) and St. Ann’s Rangers before joining Connection in 2010 said he had memorable times at the “Savonetta Boys”, winning titles and representing the club and country at the CONCACAF Champions League. He praised the development he gained at Connection and the commitment of the staff but said it wasn’t possible without his commitment as a player.

Arcia is also viewed by in his Trou Macaque, Laventille hometown as a talented basketball player, but opted for the game he has a bigger love for and has no regrets. The former Success Laventille student also said that while he has a lot of passion for the sport of basketball, there isn’t the opportunity to make it a profession like football has with the TT Pro League.

His smooth passing, intelligent runs off the ball and ability to score important goals have won him many personal accolades as well as club titles (two Digicel Pro League crowns; the 2013 Caribbean Club Championship; two FA Trophies; two Digicel Pro Bowls; the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield; and three Digicel Charity Shields) with Connection along the way.

“He (Arcia) is a great asset to any team to any team in Trinidad,” continued Gordon. “He is a player with great ability and shows excellent discipline. After just one session with him already I can also say he is a very coachable player. I used to watch him at W Connection and I can tell you he was a very difficult player to counterattack. Now it’s a pleasure to have him to add to the Devorn Jorslings, the Richard Roys, and the other quality players in our squad.

“The door is still open for him to represent the national team and if he has the opportunity for a better move abroad. We didn’t pursue Arcia. It was a decision he made on his own to join the Defence Force and with a player like that coming in, you can only welcome him as a coach.”

Arcia, who has 3 full caps with the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team, shared, “I haven’t had much time with the players (at Defence Force) yet but I already feel settled in. The players all welcomed me with open hearts. They all know me and what I am capable of as a player.”

Gordon, who also added Trinidad and Tobago 2007 Youth World Cup U17 member and former Orlando City player, 25-year-old Stephan Campbell, along with T&T U23 goalkeeper, 20-year-old Aaron Enil, and T&T U20 midfielder, 19-year-old Kishun Seecharan to his roster, said he has begun the rebuilding process for the next few seasons, with a few senior players expected to be out of the squad in 2016.

“We’ve added players who we believe can develop and add to the team as we focus on continuing to be a force in the league,” Gordon stated.

“We are challenging for the league title this season but because of the great squad we have, we are very confident of the knockouts as well. The mood in the camp is excellent and the understanding is great among the players.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s First Citizens Cup (FCC) clash against Morvant Caledonia United (MCU), the army coach said, “Cale’ versus Defence Force is always a big rivalry. And from all indications Caledonia will present a good challenge like any other team because of the level of competitiveness that’s present in all clubs in the league. Densill Theobald is back with them (MCU) as well as Guyana (internationals) Trayon Bobb and Pernell Schultz. They also have one of ours, Akeem Roach.

“But we are confident in our team for Sunday. Although we want to play good attractive football they key is getting the result that will take us into the semi-final round (of the FCC).”

Also on Sunday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in the FCC quarter-finals, two-time defending champions (2013 & 2014) Central FC will meet Police FC from 6 pm.

But the FCC quarter-finals weekend action kicks off on Saturday at the Mahaica Oval in Point Fortin with St. Ann’s Rangers against tournament-debuting Club Sando from 4 pm, before six-time champions (2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008) W Connection tackle Point Fortin Civic from 6:30 pm.

First Citizens Cup 2015
Quarter Final Round
Saturday 17 October 2015
Mahaica Oval, Point Fortin
St. Ann’s Rangers vs Club Sando—4 pm (QF 1)
W Connection vs Point Fortin Civic—6:30 pm (QF 2)

Sunday 18 October 2015
Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain
Morvant Caledonia United vs Defence Force—4 pm (QF 3)
Police FC vs Central FC—6 pm (QF 4)

Semi Final Round
Friday 23 October 2015
Winners QF 1 vs Winners QF 4
Winners QF 2 vs Winners QF 3

Final
Friday 30 October 2015

Qualifying Round results
Wednesday 30 September 2015 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium
San Juan Jabloteh 2 (Tyrone Charles 58’, Rickcardo Harriott 90’) vs Defence Force 3 (Glynn Franklyn 53’, 66’, Jerwyn Balthazar 80’)

North East Stars 1 (Keron Cummings 40’) vs Central FC 4 (Marvin Oliver 2’, Sean De Silva 18’, Willis Plaza 69’, 90’+2)