Trinidad and Tobago’s Senior Team will arrive in New Jersey around midday on Saturday ahead of Monday’s opening 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup fixture against El Salvador at the Red Bull Arena from 7pm.
T&T, under the watchful eyes of head coach Stephen Hart and Director of Football Leo Beenhakker, played a scrimmage against local Fort Lauderdale club Plantation Florida at the Lockhart Stadium on Thursday evening, coming away 2-1 winners. Goals from Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino and Cornell Glen in the 67th and 80th minutes respectively gave T&T the win.
The T&T coaching staff also includes assistants Hutson Charles and Derek King and Beenhakker joined the team at the Sunrise Holiday Inn Football Center earlier this week.
Caledonia AIA midfielder Densill Theobald, who will captain the team for the Gold Cup, described the training camp in Fort Lauderdale as a worthwhile exercise.
“It’s been a really good few days for the team. We haven’t had this period together as team for quite some time. We made trips to Peru and then Romania and Estonia but in terms of actually getting to train everyday and prepare for the tournament, these last few days have worked out really well for us,” Theobald told TTFA Media prior to the team’s arrival at the Hilton.
“It’s been a lot of hard work. The new coach Stephen Hart has come in and he’s settled in and I believe the players are responding well. Leo Beenhakker was always going to be a plus and now that he’s here we’ve all come to a good understanding.
The coaches know what they want from us as players and we are fulfilling our duties and getting better at every session whether it be on the training pitch or in the sitting lounge in the hotel,” Theobald added.
TTFA General Secretary Sheldon Phillips, who has also been with the team in Fort Lauderdale reiterated some of Theobald’s sentiments.
“Considering there is a new staff in place, the transition has been seamless,” Phillips said.
“The players seemed focused and ready to led and have endured a very hard ten days of training which have made the bond between player and coach even greater. Leo has come in already as a well known and extremely well respected figure who has established a great working relationship with Stephen.
“The players seeing how the entire coaching are working together have in turn created a very supportive atmosphere and you're seeing a solid team spirit develop in a very short space of time,” Phillips noted.
So far team is currently injury free and Hart used the opportunity on Thursday to make eleven changes during the scrimmage.
The 12th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Sunday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California as 12 nations from CONCACF compete for the region's greatest prize culminating on July 28 at Chicago's Soldier Field.
The first round sees Mexico (FIFA ranking 20), Panama (51),Canada (88) and Martinique (no ranking) making up Group A; Honduras (55), Haiti (69), Trinidad and Tobago (87) and El Salvador (94) competing in group B; and hosts the USA (22) up against Costa Rica (39), Cuba (82) and Belize (130) in Group C.
Broadcast coverage includes arrangements with Televisa, TV Azteca and ESPN in Mexico, ESPN in the UK and Fox, Fox Soccer, Univision, Univision Deportes and UniMas in the USA all involved. Three matches will be shown live on Fox and the rest on FOX Soccer.