Some people believe that the number 13 is a number that brings you bad luck. Some would even say that Judas Iscariot — the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th man to take his place at the table during the Last Supper. Then there is Friday the thirteenth, a day considered an unlucky day in Western superstition.
In spite of this, one of T&T's top five goal-scorers of all times, Cornell Glen seems to love the number 13 and is out to prove the unlucky number is just a myth.
Once the number is available the speedy striker seems to favor it and believes it motivates him. He has worn it for almost every team he plays for, including Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive, Metrostars (now NY Red Bulls), LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, San Juan Jabloteh, North East Stars and of course Trinidad and Tobago national team.
Glen said: "I was dropped from Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive my first year for missing training and took it really hard. When I was reselected and replaced the same guy they dropped me for I was given the number 13 shirt and wore it ever since. Now it's just a reminder of where I came from and how I always need to work hard."
In addition to the aforementioned teams above, to date Glen has played for 13 teams including Caledonia AIA, Ma Pau SC, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, A.D. Sanjoanense, Futgof FC and Song Lam Nghe.
Glen is also the 13th member of the 2006 Trinidad and Tobago World Cup team that was locked in a legal battle with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) over unpaid bonuses for over 7 years and won.
The number also seemed to have pass down a generation as his younger brother Cyrano Glen (Central FC) also wore the number 13 at Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive.
The ace striker meantime has racked up 23 goals from 40 starts and 21 substitute appearances for his country. What makes his goal scoring quite interesting though is that he scored 13 goals for Columbus Crew (2005), 13 for San Juan Jabloteh (2007) and 13 again for San Juan Jabloteh in (2008). His best tally however, came in 2002-2004 where he topped the goal scoring charts with 38 goals for San Juan Jabloteh, a club record for the team he has spent most of his career with.
Glen has been a regular for Trinidad and Tobago since 2002, and was named in the squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup where appeared in all three of Trinidad & Tobago's games. One of his shots on goal nearly upset Sweden, but that historic T&T World Cup debut ended in a draw. He was also a constant torment for defenders with his blistering speed and mazy runs, particularly England's Ashley Cole. Glen's performances during the tournament earned him praise and recognition by many pundits.
Glen has two hat-tricks for his country already, one against Dominican Republic (2008) and the other against Puerto Rico (2004) respectively. At San Juan Jabloteh the speedy striker was also remembered for destroying the MLS Chicago Fire (5-2) in the 2004 CONCACAF Champions Cup; a performance which subsequently led him to his first overseas contract with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars. Glen’s hat-trick was enough to convince former U.S coach Robert "Bob" Bradley (Metrostars coach at the time) to sign the talented striker.
His first start of the season for the NY Metrostars was also an unforgettable one when he scored two priceless goals and had an assist in a 5-5 draw with the Earthquakes. The ten goals equaled the highest total in a Metrostars game ever and is the largest goal scoring tie in MLS history.
Today, the Soca Warriors Online caught up with Cornell Glen and couldn't resist asking him 13 questions.
1. Now that you are back on a full time basis with the Trinidad and Tobago National football team what are your main aspirations for the men in red, white and black?
CG: My main aspiration is to have a good run up to the 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup and have a really good tournament. I want to help the team give its best showing at the Gold Cup. My goal is to help us get out the group and make it to the knock out stage and from there anything is possible.
2. You have been plague with injuries throughout the course of your career. I remember you having an arthroscopic surgery on your right knee to repair a torn meniscus. Lately, you have been in and out of your Club team North East Stars because of injuries. Is this a recurring problem and will we see you go under the knife anytime soon? Can you tell us more about your injuries and fitness?
CG: No, it's not a recurring problem and nothing to warrant surgery. I've had surgery on both knees which never really bothered me until the Pro League started playing games weekly at the Marvin Lee Stadium. It's nothing serious, but the turf just causes the knee to become inflamed which can be painful at times. Even though the atmosphere is great at that stadium the playing surface is not healthy for pro players. I think the clubs need to stand up and say something about it.
3. You were one of 13 World Cup 2006 players locked in legal action with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) over unpaid bonuses. You mentioned once about a players’ union and now that the battle is over will we see one emerge in the near future?
CG: I hope so. Playing in the MLS made me realize how important it is to have a players’ union. The union is not there only to help players with club and national team concerns, but also domestic and substance abuse issues and workman's compensation etc. I think the local players and clubs will definitely benefit from a players’ union. Hopefully the clubs would encourage the players to join and support the union rather than threaten players like what has happened in the past.
4. I remembered your hat-trick against Chicago Fire while playing for San Juan Jabloteh in the 2004 CONCACAF Champions Cup. I also remembered your shot that hit the woodwork against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup and could have been the game winner. Can you tell us about some of your proudest moments on and off the field?
CG: My proudest moments off the field are definitely the births of my son Darnell and daughter Zara-Marie. Nothing in the world can beat being a father. I thank god for them every day. Many times I thought about quitting after having my surgeries, but they gave me the strength and a reason to push on. My proudest moment on the field has to be singing the national anthem at the 2006 World Cup. Think that's every players dream and I was blessed to be able to live it.
5. You were obviously disappointed with the match fees the current T&T players are being paid and you were omitted from the team in December 2012 because you spoke about the situation openly. T&T’s Co-Head coach Jamaal Shabazz also said that the first thing you asked about was money. Now you are a regular on the T&T team, what made you changed your mind?
CG: It's simple, once I'm happy with what I'm being paid I will play. If I'm not (happy), I won't play. This is my job, this is my profession. I've had two knee surgeries both from injuries obtained while playing with the National Team. One of which caused me to lose my contract with LA Galaxy. I never even received a phone call from the Federation. So when I hear someone saying I'm only about money it hurts because they have no idea what I've been through as a player in the 10 years I’ve represented my country; and I'm still willing to represent my country. It's unfair for players to risk their careers for their country then be so poorly underpaid. I think the new president is an honest man and is doing everything in his power to make changes.
6. You've been playing in the T&T league all season and you have also played for many overseas teams. Based on your experience in the game you should have a good eye for players. In your opinion, who are some of the players you feel could warrant a T&T call-up? I heard many fans calling for Central FC's Rundell Winchester among others…
CG: I don't really know much about Rundell Winchester. At the moment I love the consistency of Devorn Jorsling. He has been consistent over the past 3 years and that's extremely hard to do in the Pro League. Lack of crowd support and lots of distractions can cause a player to lose focus very easily. Kennedy Hinkson has been very good throughout the season and is improving rapidly. I'm surprised he wasn't given a chance with the national team for one of the upcoming international friendlies. Joevin Jones is probably the best player in the country right now. It confuses me though that he hasn't landed a contract abroad. It's something he should seriously look into. I believe he needs to play in a much more competitive league to improve his game and yes make some money.... (laughs).
7. Who would you say is responsible for helping you be the player you are today?
CG: My mom and the deceased Arthur "Jap" Brown. My mom is both my greatest supporter and biggest critic. My desire to impress and make her happy drove me to do well every time. Japper has taught me about 90% of what I know in the game tactically and technically. He was just a simple genius. The people who knew him will know what I'm talking about.
8. How was the experience playing in the MLS and, can you tell us who did you enjoy playing for the most while there?
CG: I enjoyed every minute of my time in the MLS. It was a bit challenging at first, adjusting to the weather and lifestyle was difficult. Once I settled in it was all good. It was such a great learning experience and I am very grateful for that. I'll have to say San Jose Earthquakes as I stayed with them the longest. I started to feel like I found a home and Frank Yallop is such an easy coach to play for. He put together a great bunch of guys.
9. Would you say there is a big gap between the MLS league and the T&T Pro League?
CG: Most definitely! It will take a lot of time and money to close that gap.
10. In your opinion, what do you feel can be done to help improve the crowd support in T&T, both at the club and country level.
CG: Higher salaries for players! Higher salaries for players mean you can demand more from the them. When you demand more from the players you will get better performances. When you get better performances you will get more sponsors interested in the football. With bigger and more sponsors comes more money to market the league. Better marketing will interest supporters to come to the games and enjoy good performances; which the clubs will demand from their players who are paid well enough. This is just my theory. LOL.
11. How is the experience playing for your current club and North East Stars coach Angus Eve been thus far? Also, will we see you with them for another season.
CG: It's been really good. I think Angus is without a doubt one of the best young coaches in the country. Apart from being very good tactically, he's great at player management physically and psychologically. Something not many coaches can do. I enjoy my time with the club a lot. It’s a very professional atmosphere and I most definitely will be back next year if given the opportunity.
12. Who are some of the best players you have played with and who were your favorite coaches you've worked with?
CG: Most definitely Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy, as we all know what they can do. I gained a new found respect for Landon Donavon with my little stint at LA Galaxy. His workman like attitude is nothing I've ever seen before. He's such a clever player and very good technically. The best coaches are without a doubt Leo Beenhakker and Arthur "Jap" Brown. Two completely different coaches, but two of the best footballing minds you will ever come across. I am grateful to be blessed with receiving their wisdom and knowledge of the game.
13. You are a striker so obviously you need good service and T&T isn't a team that offers too much of that. Not to mention the system the coaches use with one striker on top, makes it even more difficult for a striker to score goals. In your humble opinion what would you like to see the national team coaches do more to help make you and your teammates a better team, or a more successful one?
CG: I believe the lone striker can work. We have the players to provide service; the coaches need to find the best mix in midfield. I think this is one of the best crop of young midfielders we've had in a very long time and its going to be a very difficult selection. With the likes of Joevin Jones, Hughtun Hector, Kevin Molino, Ataullah Guerra and Khaleem Hyland just to name a few it's not going to be an easy task for the Coaches.
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