North East Stars head coach Derek King will have available Trinidad and Tobago defender Yohance Marshall for Tuesday's trip against Defence Force from 6pm at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Marshall, a 31-year-old with experience on three foreign continents, received his international transfer certificate (ITC) this week, after joining North East Stars in pre-season.
“It’s great to get the legs going again,” said Marshall, who returned to Trinidad last May following stints on the South American continent, first with El Salvador’s Juventud Independiente then Mexico’s second division side Murciélagos, where he was a teammate of fellow Soca Warriors Shahdon Winchester and Jomal Williams.
“I have been keeping fit and ready for anything, including the national team and even options abroad,” continued Marshall. “North East Stars presented the perfect opportunity for me to train and continue playing for the moment because I live in Arima.”
Marshall, a Diego Martin-born former St. Anthony’s College and University of South Florida player, added that although he is committed giving his best for his adopted community of Arima and his new club North East Stars, including sharing his experience with new teammates, his ambition is to return abroad and continues to work on possible moves through his agent.
“The plan is to stay active, get some games in and return to the top of my game because I haven’t had a full game in a couple of months,” he said. “The mind-set is also that I’m also at a place where I can share my knowledge with my teammates. But the plan will ultimately be to return to playing abroad once the opportunity right.”
The former Los Angeles Galaxy and Rochester Rhinos – both North American clubs – defender’s career also took him to East Asia, where he represented Thailand’s Chainat Hornbill and Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw before joining Central FC in 2014 for his first professional stint in Trinidad.
“Experiencing different styles of football in different countries made me into a well-rounded player,” Marshall said. “My experience gives me the added edge to adapt quickly to various styles of play and systems.”
Marshall last represented Trinidad and Tobago on April 29 in a 2-2 friendly away to Grenada. He played the full 90 minutes against the Grenadians but was not re-called by T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence for FIFA World Cup 2018 Qualifiers against the United States (0-2) and Costa Rica (1-2) on June 9 and 13 respectively.
“The focus for me as it relates to the national team, is to get back to playing at club level and put myself in the national coaches’ plans,” explained Marshall.
For now though, King, a former Trinidad and Tobago assistant coach, is happy to have the talented defender available for selection at North East Stars.
“We are happy to have him (Marshall) available in our mix of experience and youth,” said the North East Stars coach.
King said Marshall is “a leader” who can complement defender Daneil Cyrus and others such as Elton John, who can occupy defence or central midfield positions.
Marshall’s current teammates include experienced players Kerry Baptiste, Cyrus, Kevon Villaroel, Leston Paul, Elton John and another well-travelled player, Kordell Samuel.
Other teammates include younger talents such as Kishun Seecharan, Rundell Winchester, Jomoul Francois, Seon Thomas, Jameel Neptune, Adrian Noel, Dwight Quintero, Kyle Bartholomew, Jelani Felix and Akeem Garcia.
King also hopes give valuable top flight exposure to the club’s Under-17 talents Jean-Paul Rochford, brothers Darnell and Devon Charles, and Keon Boney, who already made his top flight debut at the start of the season.
King, a former T&T international defender and 2009 Pro League-winning coach, has one competitive match under his belt this term, defeating Point Fortin Civic 1-0 on his debut as North East Stars coach on June 10 at the Arima Velodrome.
His side were set to face three-time defending champions Central FC at the same venue a week later on June 16, but concerns over ground conditions led to the aborting of the game and the debuts of T&T internationals Cyrus and Leston Paul, who joined from W Connection and Central respectively.
But already, he says things are looking up for his club.
“The club is now based in Arima. The people are coming out to see us like the days of Memphis and Arima United. We have Garcia, Jomoul, Bartholomew, Elton and others who are from Arima, representing the club of their community, and coached by me, who is also from Arima,” said King.
King, on his next assignment, predicts a tough outing against the Defence Force on Tuesday, adding that while he expects the Army/Coast Guard outfit to be their regular rugged and well-rounded team, he is also aware that all teams will be coming to give their best against his side.
“They all head plenty of us leading up to the start of the season and we expect all teams to be coming hard against us. It’s a challenge we accept this year.”
Pro League action resumes on Friday 23 June with a double-header at the Ato Boldon Stadium with Central FC against Point Fortin Civic from 6pm followed by W Connection taking on Club Sando from 8pm.
On Saturday 24 June, Police FC and MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers will lock horns at the Larry Gomes Stadium from 4pm.
And on Tuesday 27 June the Ato Boldon Stadium will host Morvant Caledonia United against San Juan Jabloteh from 8pm following the Defence Force-North East Stars clash two hours earlier.
(Friday 23 June 2017)
Central FC vs Point Fortin Civic—6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
W Connection vs Club Sando—8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
(Saturday 24 June 2017)
Police FC vs MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers—4pm, Larry Gomes Stadium
(Tuesday 27 June 2017)
Defence Force vs North East Stars—6pm, Ato Boldon Stadium
Morvant Caledonia United vs San Juan Jabloteh—8pm, Ato Boldon Stadium