Densill Theobald recalls the period when he was not being considered for selection on the last Trinidad and Tobago team trying to get to the Olympics in 2003. At the time he was now coming off injury while playing for Caledonia AIA but still he was left disappointed that the coach at the time Stuart Charles Fevrier would not consider him.
Close to two years after, he’s singing a different song, maybe Dutch if you like. The quiet easy going chap from Nelson Street, one known for robberies and other illegal activities in Port of Spain, has become a regular in the current National Senior team trying to get to the 2006 Germany World Cup. Some have said that he's the closest on the team now to Russell Latapy when it comes to passing the ball in a sort of caressing style.
His first real impression on the public came when he came off the bench to set up T&T’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to the United States in the February 9 World Cup qualifier at the Oval. Before that not only a spectacular volley in the preliminary qualifying match against Dominican Republic really did much to his fanbase. That alone would have proven to this midfielder that it takes a lot, maybe only on a big stage, to catch the attention of T&T fans. Surely he’ll be anticipating the August 17 away clash with the Americans.
Last match (against Colombia), Theobald was also resigned to the stands after Leo Beenhakker decided to go with another option in the Gold Cup match against Colombia. But having to work his way up with much of a fight is nothing new to the man they like to call “Bleeder”.
”I’m the youngest of three brothers and it was always hard to get that respect from them. I grew up knowing things wasn’t always easy because sometimes meals weren’t the best and the finance wasn’t always there to get things the way you might like it,” Theobald said.
“Growing up and living in an area where there were a lot of drugs and guns was scary. I have seen men been shot up close already near home in the Nelson. Everyday I get up knowing that I have to be strong to get out of there and get God into my life. He has been there for me. I have never held a gun, do drugs but a lot of people near me have done that,” the former Malick Senior Comprehensive player went on with a softer tone.
“That strength also came from my family and I have also learnt a lot from my mom who passed away when I was in Canada for my first overseas stint. Now I stay with my dad Delano but my aim is to get out of here and have my own home out of that area and get the rest of my family out of the area too.”
Looking back at his early days in the game, ‘Bleeder’ talks about his days playing on the Nelson since the age of five. “Those days you would kick any object in sight.”
“At age 9 I joined Jean Lilly-White White coaching school where my mom encouraged me to go and I took it from there. I learnt the basics of football at that time. I made my first tour to the USA with him in 1995. Then I went on to play for Malick at Under 14, Under 16 and Intercol level.”
He holds aspirations of playing in Europe and has attracted interest from English club Queen’s Park Ranger as well as MLS club Kansas City Wizards. In the meantime though, Theobald is thankful to Neal and Massy Motors for providing him with a TT$3,000 monthly salary to add to his Caledonia wages. And everything else is about playing in Germany come 2006.
Q&A With Densill
1.What’s your most memorable moment or match, whether for country or Club?
T&T versus Dominican republic when I scored the volley in the first round World Cup qualifier. Because I scored one of the best goals in my career so far. It was a solid performance for me.
2. Name two persons, whether relative or not who have been an inspiration to you.
My mom Jasmine who is no longer alive and my cousin, Jay Stevens who resides in Canada. Mom was always there for me, making sure I attended training and support. Jay helped to understand more about life and what is important off the field as well. His knowledge passed on to me has been a blessing.
3. Any favourite player or team?
Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid and Kerwyn “Hardest” Jemmot. That’s my Dawg.
4. What would be your preferred other profession?
I like Cricket but I’d maybe go with Tennis.
5. What do you hope to accomplish either in next 5 years or end of playing career?
First of all will be helping Trinidad and Tobago qualify for the 2006 World Cup and to earn a professional contract in Europe. To be remembered as a top notch player.
6. Who’s been among your most admired coaches and why?
Leo Beenhakker at this point, Jah Lilly White and Jamal Shabazz
7. What do you think of T&T’s chances of making it to the 2006 World Cup?
Our dream is still alive. We just have to grind out the results. We are very much in there right now. We have to take each game on its own merit.
8. Any instances or plays that you always reflect on ?
I always try not to take football skills for granted because anytime I could end up being like some of my friends in the ghetto who have nothing to fall back on. The Lord has blessed me with my talent and I always try to go out there to work hard and improve my game ….. to become a better all round person for the team as well. I always remember my mom’s death, the way she passed away so suddenly in 2001. Life can be so short. I was playing in Canada with Toronto Olympians in the CPSL when I got the news.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
What you give to the world, the world gives back to you. Be honest to yourself. Read that in Michael Jordan’s book and my mom always told me to be honest to myself. Do good and good will follow you.
10. What do you do to relax away from the game?
Relax with friends, go to the movies with my girlfriend and look at a lot of sports on television.
11. What’s your favorite dish?
Macaroni Pie, Lentil peas, rice and some bake chicken with salad at the side. Hott Shoppe Roti and some Kamwah Chinese food. Don’t forget what we get from the Breakfast Shed.
12. Favourite drink?
Nothing can beat back a Peanut punch from my Shawn from up on the Nelson.
13. Favorite time of year?
Christmas because it’s the day that Jesus died for us. It always makes you realize a lot of things about life.
14. Most comfortable football boot?
Adidas Copa Mundial
15. What was the high point for you this season as well as the low point?
Being able to earn selection on the national senior team and being consistent with my performances at the international level. Low point was being dropped from the National Team by Bertille St Clair for our first semifinal round game against St Vincent and the Grenadines. Suffering a broken instep in the Digicel Cup in Barbados.