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Offline Flex

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One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« on: December 20, 2010, 10:05:36 AM »
One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
By: Inshan Mohammed.


At one time, he was considered one of the best right-wingers in Trinidad and Tobago.  In fact, he was so good that his best friend and Defence Force teammate Pamphille and his wife Lydia gave their son his name and made him his God father.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, the Soca Warriors Online (SWO) would like to introduce you to one of T&T's unsung heroes Mr. Kenwyn Cooper; and if you're wondering who his godson is, it's none other than current Stoke City star-forward Kenwyne Jones.

Kenwyn told Socawarriors.net, he christened Kenwyne as a child and after that he didn't see much of him, because they were both based in opposite sides of the Island.  In spite of this he feels a strong sense of pride for his godson and still follows the striker’s success.

Getting To Know Kenwyn

Kenwyn and I sat down on a chilly Friday night at my home in New York and got to know each other a little better.  Kenwyn told me that he wanted to finally meet "Flex" in person, one of the main men responsible for the Soca Warriors Online. The other of course is his longtime pal, Nigel Myers.

Cooper is also one of SWO biggest supporters and for your information he goes by the member name Coops (guys, cut him a break.).... He is also addicted to the website and does not miss a day away from it as many of the SWO diehards can relate.

Cooper, the most polite and friendly person you could meet, showed up at my door in his SUV after driving almost 9 hours from Virginia Beach to visit his wife, he took a detour to finally meet “yours truly”. Coops was so happy to meet me that he shook my hands at least three times and his eyes were glossy as to say he almost wanted to shed a tear or two He said: "Flex, I didn't realize you were so young. I was expecting someone much older." That made my day!  Yes, I am young and still look it, but I assumed the gloss in his eyes blinded him and he didn't notice the hidden gray hairs on my head. In any case, I was flattered. A few months ago in New York I also had the pleasure of meeting another SWO member, Weary1969. I wonder what she thought.... :-)

Getting to know Coop's.

In January 2010 Coops was hit by the most terrible news anyone could bear. After months of problems with his body mainly his bladder, Coops finally decided to make the trip to the doctor only to find out that he had a tumor in his bladder. To make matters worse the doctor informed him that the tumor was malignant. In other words he had cancer of the bladder.

Now only half the size he was, Coops is literally a moving hospital and basically lives on chemo and other cancer treatment devices.  You would think he would be down and out under such circumstances, but not Coops. He is full of life, happy as a puppy and is just enjoying his life to the fullest. If he hadn't told me he had been diagnosed with cancer, I would have never known.

His Career

It all started on the field for Kenwyn at a small club in Cocorite called Paragon FC before moving to Defence Force in the 1970's. He played there until the early 80’s. Defence Force as we all know were the top team in those days as they were frequent winners of the Semi-Professional League and to play for such a team at that time one had to be outstanding.

Cooper, who only wore the number 13 jersey, came up against many top players in the League. Two noteworthy players he rubbed shoulders with at times and came up against in the league are Leroy Spann and best friend Noel "Sammy" Llewellyn, both of whom played for Caroni and Essex respectively.

At Defence Force Cooper also played alongside Ron LaForest, Ron’s brother Lennox, Charlie Spooner, Milton Archibald (Warren Archibald's brother), Bert Neptune, Sam Phillip, Francis Furlonge, Grantley Maxwell, Arab Nelson, Kenny Joseph, Winston Phillips who by the way happens to be the brother of current TTFF Technical Director Lincoln Phillips. Winston is also known for his long throws and was part of the team that was robbed of glory in Haiti during the 1973 World Cup qualifiers. His throws caused the Haitian goalkeeper Henri Francillon and his defenders; Pierre Bayonne, Arsène Auguste, Claude Barthelemy and captain Wilner Nazaire all sorts of heartaches. I forgot to mentioned that T&T's Steve David finished the 1973 tournament in Haiti with 7 goals, 2 more than Haiti's Emmanuel Sanon.

At Army Kenwyn also played against many international opponents at CONCACAF level, and he remembers one in particular during encounters with Haiti's Violette FC. Coops said that Philippe Vorbe was the best midfielder he had ever witnessed and that he would put Latapy in the shade with his vision and ability to stay in one area and control the entire Haitian team. Coops also remembered how Vorbe played with his sock rolled down and no chine guards. Thank God Tobago-Born hard rocker defender Cyd Gray was still a toddler then.

His T&T Career

Born in Blanchissuese on September 26th, 1948 and grew up in San Juan Coops was neighbors with another T&T great Leopold Sookram. Sookram many know today as Bobby, the South born midfielder, and at that time he played for North Base team Maple and was based in San Juan. Coops reminded me that Bobby Sookram’s goal scoring average of above 45 goals per season and he scored a remarkable 110 goals for Maple in three years.

Kenwyn had such a fantastic season with Army that he was called up to represent Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team, though he was never entered into our database here at the SWO because of the lack of recorded information in those days and Coops never kept records himself. His best days in the Red, White and Black have gone unnoticed to this day.

Coops played for Trinidad and Tobago between 1974 to 1975, and played under coach Edgar Vidale. He played in such tournaments as the Pan American Games and the Olympic Qualifiers respectively. There were no restrictions when it came to Olympic football, and T&T fielded their senior team in the said tournament.  Maybe this was one of the reasons he's not on the SWO database as players who participated in those tournaments were not officially recorded in the history books of T&T football.

His time with T&T saw Coops rubbing shoulders with many great talents such as Earl Carter, Noel Llewellyn, Russell Tesheira, Buggy Haynes, Mike Grayson, Lawrence Rondon, Tom Phillips, Steve Khan, Sydney Augustine, Selwyn Murren (capt), Winston Phillips and Leon Carpette to name a few. Cooper was a hard working right-wing midfielder who had great pace and a powerful kick. His crossing ability would have left current Ipswich Town winger Carlos Edwards blushing. Unfortunately, for all his hard work the former John Donaldson student has one goal to show and that came against Suriname on April 26, 1976 in the Oval during an Olympic qualifier. He was proud of that goal and it showed as tears almost coming out of his eyes when he told me, the game ended 1-1, Coops with the equalizer. Coops also found that the Surinamese team was a force in those days and had a player called Edwin Schal who was a talent he adored dearly. Unfortunately, T&T paid the price and bowed out as the 1-1 draw wasn't enough, Suriname had won the first-leg 2-0 in Paramaribo on April 19th.

Coaching Career.

After his glory days as a player, Cooper took his success off the field when he coached San Juan Senior Comprehensive to the SSFL and InterCol East titles respectively in 1987. The team was captained by Louis Legendre and Robert Banfield and lost 1-0 to a Chris Brice own goal in the InterCol finals against Signal Hill who had stars Dwight Yorke and Colvin Hutchinson on their team. San Jan SC also placed 4th in the Big Four tournament.

Cooper was also a trainer for a national under 16 team which was packed with talent such as Russell Latapy, Clint Marcelle, Colin Rocke, Ansley Weeks and Ross Russell and played some role in developing these players. He mentioned that he was and still is shocked that Collin Rocke was never called up by Trinidad and Tobago senior team and that the midfielder was a more complete player than Latapy and Marcelle. Coops said “You could have put him anywhere on the field and when it came to dribbling he had the tools as well.”  Coops further added that Rocke, Marcelle and Latapy use to terrorize defences and they where the three top midfielders in the country at that time.

He took his career further when he coached ECM Motown in the Arthur Suite League (ASL) before being asked by then T&T head coach Everald "Gally" Cummings to coach a Trinidad and Tobago national senior B-Team.

That B-team was comprised of players who were some of the best the country had to offer, with the likes of Elliot Allen, Clint Marcelle, Garfield DeSilva, Timothy Haynes, Kelvin Jones, Dexter Lee, Ivan Sampson, Richard Chinapoo, Nevick DeNoon and Anthony Sherwood.

Both Cooper and his assistant in former St Benedicts College coach Jan Steadman took that T&T B-team to the 1989 Shell Cup final group stage before being dropped by Jack Warner. Coops and his entire team were disbanded by Warner because the players wanted the same treatment that Gally's Strike Squad (A-Team) were getting.

Despite some impressive results in the group stage (Zone A) here in Trinidad and Tobago, Coops disclosed that the TTFF blamed the 1-0 lost to Grenada as the excuse to dismantling the team. T&T were 11-0 winners over Aruba which was probably one of the biggest wins in the history of the tournament, a 3-1 win over French Guyana and Coops’ “Army” was also victorious over St Kitts (2-0). The already qualified T&T then finished the semi-final group with a 1-0 lost to none other than Grenada.

Everald Cummings then continue where Cooper left off and won its opener in the final group stage against host Barbados (3-0) but stumbled on it's way to the final as Guadeloupe had defeated T&T 2-0, then it was a 1-0 Barbados victory over Guadeloupe that got Gally's team into the final and T&T made no mistakes this time when they won 2-1 in the final against Grenada off a Dwight Yorke double to win the 1989 Caribbean Shell Cup. It was July 9th 1989, the Strike Squad created history, the team field players such as Marvin Faustin, Russell Latapy, Clayton Morris, Philbert Jones, Marlon Morris and Dwight Yorke became Caribbean champs for the first time, the Shell Cup was born.

The Caribbean Cup, known then as the Shell Cup, before becoming the Copa Caribe began in 1989. The Caribbean Cup is a tournament for the CFU currently contested biannually (in odd years). The Caribbean Cup is also a qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Coops further disclosed that while he was coach of the T&T team he had to work under very harsh and unprofessional conditions. He said the arrangements were very poor and there was always a rush to do things because decisions were made at the last minute. For example, he remember one moment before training was over everyone on the team was gathered together and were rushed off to Curacao for a tournament comprising of 3 teams and two games in two days. Fortunately T&T won the tournament, however, while on the airplane Coop's learned from reading the newspaper that his team was playing St Lucia the very next day. To make matters worse, he also learnt that half of his team was scheduled to fly off to Puerto Rico to join Gally's Strike Squad (A-Team) who was there for a training camp.  As a result of this Coops’ under strength T&T side lost 1-0 to St Lucia.

Coops Migrated

Shortly after, Cooper being disheartened by his experience coaching T&T left Trinidad and decided to try his luck in the United States. His first stop was New York where he stayed with close friend Charlie Spooner before jetting off to Philadelphia and finally settled in Virginia where he is now based. After all those years Coops has gotten over the Trini-tabancca and is happily living his life to the fullest.

Did You Know

It was all uphill for Cooper after he left T&T shores. He had his own coaching school in Virginia. It was called Cooper's Soccer World. He trained players, had training camps, team sessions and clinics. He was also the Technical Director for Norfolk United and Director of Coaching at United Soccer.

Kenwyn Cooper carries a number of awards and badges which includes; National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA Advanced Diploma), USSF National Youth License, FIFA Certified Solidarity coach (Trinidad and Tobago), Special Olympics (Caribbean Training school) and to top it off he was a 10-time Championship winner with Defence Force.

Now retired, Cooper enjoys watching the Trinidad and Tobago national teams, surfing the SWO and seeing his relatives play football. He is also a fond admirer and a relative of current under 17 women’s team striker Liana Hinds who rips up the net for T&T. You would remember her goal scoring exploits against Nigeria and Chile in T&T's historic 2010 Women’s U-17 World Cup appearance.

Kenwyn, 62, a father of three and happily married seemed to have strong genes when it comes to football. His daughter Tricia Cooper, 34, also donned the Red, White and Black and is retired as a player but is currently the assistant coach of Florida University Women's team.

The SWO family would like to extend heartwarming greetings to Mr Kenwyn Cooper and his family during this festive season and wish him a full and speedy recovery. Do what you can my friend and what you cannot do, let the Almighty do the rest.


Copyrights of the Soca Warriors Online - Any press using the following article written by Inshan Mohammed are welcome to do so providing they reveal the source and writer. Furthermore, no portion of this article may be copied without proper credit as well.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 07:30:54 PM by Flex »
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Offline AB.Trini

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 10:38:41 AM »
Well done Flex; It was very encouraging, uplifting and  inspiring to read the tribute and accolades of
Mr. Cooper.

These  profiles of our local heroes ought to be a regular feature in our daily news and our daily lives. Given the times we live in, and given the propensity for the daily news to be covering rampant crime and  alleged illegal activities of our  leaders in government, who  could we look up to  for role models? what ideological frames do we have to guide us through these turbulent times?

I recently came back from Trinidad after attending the funeral for my grandmother who was 100, as I reflected on  her lifetime and read her stories, it brought to light the immense changes in all aspects of our lives. Your feature article here captures a legendary episode of a different era and times that we often discard and forget.

As someone who grew up in that time period, it was enlightening to read  of the names of those who have gone on before us and to recall a different time in our legacy.

All the best Mr. Cooper for all your contributions. I read continue to read your astute comments daily. I know we have shared some p.m.s and I appreciate your opinions.
Thanks Flex, for your ongoing and progressive features on this site.
Best of health and happiness to all our forgotten 'Warriors'

Offline Jumbie

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 10:54:25 AM »
Flexos, Coops. Thanks! Season greetings!

Offline fari

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 11:02:34 AM »
a great read flex.  this coop's is an inspiration to all.  we need people like him around our football to impart wisdom and guidance to the up and coming ballers.

season's greetings to all!



Offline College

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 11:36:23 AM »
All the best Coops, will definitely keep you and the family in my thoughts and prayers.. bless.

Thank you Flex

Offline spideybuff

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2010, 12:13:07 PM »
Coop's, Cornell from the Cocorite area and he is only wear #13. That is because he used to idolise you or what?
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Offline FireBrand

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2010, 12:57:11 PM »
 Coops u are a true Warrior! Blessings to u and yours and speedy recovery breds!  :beermug:

Another boss write up Flex!  :thumbsup:
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Offline Coop's

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2010, 01:01:26 PM »
I have developed a lot of relationships on this site but none has come as close to the man himself Flex,i spoke to him a couple of times on the phone but always wanted to meet him in person,i must say it was a pleasure meeting him and his family,like me he is dedicated to T&T Football and longs for the day when the game can give us the joy we once had.

Flex i just want to wish You and your Family all the best for the Christmas holidays.

Offline Big Magician

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 01:22:11 PM »
so with a bit of water in my eyes..thanks Flex.. and coops..be strong and be good...blessings man

I saw Coops play for army many times..and also for tnt...respect

COOPER  13
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Offline Brownsugar

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 01:31:22 PM »
Respect Coop's.  Here's hoping for improved health in the New Year and beyond.... :beermug:
"...If yuh clothes tear up
Or yuh shoes burst off,
You could still jump up when music play.
Old lady, young baby, everybody could dingolay...
Dingolay, ay, ay, ay ay,
Dingolay ay, ay, ay..."

RIP Shadow....The legend will live on in music...

Offline Bakes

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 01:31:40 PM »
Coop's even though we bump heads from time to time it's always a pleasure to read your contributions, you are a definite asset to not only SWO, but TnT football in general, and I'm happy that you're finally getting your just due.  I know it's been a couple years since we last talk but that will change soon.  Will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.  All the best for the season  :beermug:

Great job again Flex... and I agree with A.B., it would be nice to have a regular feature like this on some of our other unsung heroes (posted either here or on WN.com), and to have a feature on some of our other forumites like Deeks, Trevor etc... men who might also have some footballing insight from years past.

Offline injunchile

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2010, 02:19:09 PM »
Keep the Faith my brother- Healing. I am curious about COOPs  take on Latapy as a coach.
Coops is from a generation of ballers who gave blood, sweat and tears for T&T and played to the final whistle. Importantly they were very professional with respect to personal training and fitness levels.
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Offline Tallman

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 02:47:23 PM »
Kenwyn had such a fantastic season with Army that he was called up to represent Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team, though he was never entered into our database here at the SWO because of the lack of recorded information in those days and Coops never kept records himself.

Coops played for Trinidad and Tobago between 1974 to 1975, and played under coach Edgar Vidale. He played in such tournaments as the Pan American Games and the Olympic Qualifiers respectively. There were no restrictions when it came to Olympic football, and T&T fielded their senior team in the said tournament.  Maybe this was one of the reasons he's not on the SWO database as players who participated in those tournaments were not officially recorded in the history books of T&T football.

Yeh, de reason he is not in de database is because the matches in those tournaments are not considered senior internationals, which is what our database currently tracks. However, there are plans to expand the scope of the database, so he will be in there at some point.
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Offline Arimaman

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2010, 03:48:12 PM »
Coops.... :salute: :salute:

I've known of you since you coached SJ and my dad knew of you even longer.  I didn't know about the cancer diagnosis and I'm sorry to hear about that but, I wish you a full recovery.

I'm glad Flex decided to do a spot on you b/c your contributions are immense.  All the best my friend and again, god speed on the recovery.

Arimian to meh heart

Offline che

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2010, 03:55:02 PM »
Thanks Flex, and Coops I wish you a speedy recovery.

Offline Coop's

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2010, 03:56:06 PM »
Keep the Faith my brother- Healing. I am curious about COOPs  take on Latapy as a coach.
Coops is from a generation of ballers who gave blood, sweat and tears for T&T and played to the final whistle. Importantly they were very professional with respect to personal training and fitness levels.
 Christmas Blessings
       The thing with me is i try most times to give views and opinions on people i've dealt with,have seen or knows about.We know Latapy the player but never knew Latapy the Coach and we all raised our expectations only to be disappointed,i'm not here to say weather Latas have enough experience to coach a national or not because in my time none of our Coaches at club or international levels had any so called qualifications,what they had going for them was players who would go out there as you said give blood,sweat and tears for T&T,even when we loose people was satisfied.
        When Latas got the job,i said it will only be a matter of time before he suffer the same fate as all of us Coaches before him,i personally feels the guy know Football but his problem is manageing players,i don't think he should have coached a T&T team so soon after playing,he could not comand/demand the respect of the players he played and hang out with for years,it's the reason why i think he shuns the more seasoned foreign based Pros and align himself with the locals,he has more control there.
         I would still like to see a national coaching our national team some day but like there are no candidates we can think off.What are the conditions under which Latas left?was he fired,resigned or walked away?what's the storey? i hope he continues in the coaching aspect of the game,Football is where he can make a contribution to the country but i don't think he can build himself in T&T,gain some experience outside and come back we need you.      

Offline saga pinto

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2010, 04:08:43 PM »
Coops I would like to wish you a speedy recovery and extend Christmas wishes to you and your family,may god bless you brother.

Your contributions are insightful to say the least.

Saga Pinto....   

Offline Observer

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2010, 05:13:07 PM »
Very nice read of a special T&T person and footballer. Wishing you god's guidance and protection. Keep on educating us and enjoying your football
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Offline Ngozi

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2010, 06:26:57 PM »
Coops I remember that team yuh coach with Colvin Hutchinson and all them  cyah believe they do allyuh like that...... anyway all the best for the holidays and  mad bigups!!!!!!!!

Offline Sam

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2010, 06:33:02 PM »
Big up Flex!!!!!!!!!! boss article.

My man Coops, what can I say meh boy !!!!

Get better, you are in our prays, the swo prays forever.

Big up to de orignal Kenwyn !!!!!!!
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Offline doc

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2010, 07:36:16 PM »
The "real" hero warrior! I wish you well my friend.
Live large and prosper!

Offline Dutty

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2010, 08:02:16 PM »
Boy I tell you, class act is class act oui

Look at the amount of accolades coops toting around in he history bag and never once mention them, humility and class go hand in hand.

Coops it seems like you are a fighter from long time, so I feel yuh go beat back that disease.
Thanks for the history lesson

on a side note...I woulda really like to see dat haitian fellah on ah field.
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Offline ZANDOLIE

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2010, 08:21:37 PM »
Coops...I wish you all the best and I hope that you and your family spend a lot more Christmas seasons together!
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Offline Yogi

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2010, 08:56:11 PM »
A really nice interview, thanks Flex & Coops. Just a correction however, when Gally's Strike Squad played in the first Caribbean Cup Finals they beat Barbados 3-0 but lost to Guadeloupe 2-0, it was a Barbados victory over Guadeloupe that got us into the final against Grenada. I always wanted to know who coached the Shell B team as they were called, now I know. I am married to the daughter of a member of the '73 team , he played in the SFA (they say he was the hardest kicker of the ball in south, used to score goals from the half line) so I will ask the Ole Man if he had the honour of playing against Coops.

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2010, 09:08:22 PM »
Very nice work Flex. Very nice indeed.

Coops re. the Cancer thing, I have sent you a message on FB.
Very important, please read ASAP.

VB
VITAMIN V...KEEPS THE LADIES HEALTHY...:-)

Offline Tallman

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2010, 09:18:18 PM »
I am married to the daughter of a member of the '73 team , he played in the SFA (they say he was the hardest kicker of the ball in south, used to score goals from the half line) so I will ask the Ole Man if he had the honour of playing against Coops.

Ah guess dat yuh talking bout Ray Roberts.
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Offline Cocorite

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #26 on: December 20, 2010, 10:58:05 PM »
Coops,

You are in my prayers. Thank you for your contributions.

Flex,

Excellent! Class! Thank you for this site, breds.
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Offline zuluwarrior

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #27 on: December 20, 2010, 11:04:40 PM »
Coops , wishing you a speedy recovery and all the best to you and the family in this festive season peace .
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good things happening to good people: a good thing
good things happening to bad people: a bad thing
bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

Offline soccerman

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2010, 12:42:58 AM »
              When Latas got the job,i said it will only be a matter of time before he suffer the same fate as all of us Coaches before him,i personally feels the guy know Football but his problem is manageing players,i don't think he should have coached a T&T team so soon after playing,he could not comand/demand the respect of the players he played and hang out with for years,it's the reason why i think he shuns the more seasoned foreign based Pros and align himself with the locals,he has more control there.
      


Nice read Flex. Coop's all the best my brother, keep fighting and continue to live life to the fulliest :beermug:

Again you hit the nail on the head with that paragraph, I couldn't agree with you more as that was a main part of latas lack of success as T&T's coach.

Offline Preacher

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Re: One of T&T's unsung heroes recognized today.
« Reply #29 on: December 21, 2010, 01:02:31 AM »
This bring a nice smile to meh face.   ;D  Coops we are honored to have you here bro to share this season with you.

God Bless and thanks for the contribution.   ;D
In Everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you.

 

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