Soca Warriors striker, Kerry Baptiste is set to sign a one-year deal with North American Soccer League club, Tampa Bay FC. This was disclosed by the former San Juan Jabloteh and bmobile Joe Public striker in a telephone interview yesterday.
The 29-year-old Baptiste who is out of contract after ending a four-year trophy-filled stint with Joe Public is expected to put pen to paper within the next few days on the deal which will see him re-uniting with his former coach at Jabloteh, Englishman Ricky Hill.
Baptiste was offered the deal by Hill, after he had an unsuccessful two-week trial with US Major League Soccer club, Seattle Saunders earlier this month.
Speaking via telephone, Baptiste who netted more than a 100 goals during his time at Joe Public, including a historic 50 in their five-title winning season said he was looking forward to the challenge.
“My agent, American, Andre Fortune is taking care of all the paperwork for me. I have seen it already and its a great deal for me and my family,” said Baptiste.
He added, “It’s a new challenge for me and I am hoping to take the opportunity with both hands and use it as a launching pad for my career overseas.
“I have been involved in the T&T Pro League for a very long time now with Jabloteh and Joe Public and now I will be able to test my ability against new opposition on a regular basis.
“I also see this as a chance to gain the attention of their clubs, possibly from the MLS and elsewhere, added Baptiste who will be moving abroad with his wife Renee Mark and son, Kerry Baptiste Jr.
At Tampa, Baptiste will be reunited with Hill who while in charge of Jabloteh led the club to the T&T Professional Football League, the First Citizen Cup and the Caribbean Club Championship crown.
Jabloteh also represented the Caribbean in the Concacaf Champions League in 2003, when Hill was awarded Coach of the Year in the Pro League.
Hill represented England several times on the national youth teams and the U-21 team, as well as earning three caps with the senior squad between 1982 and 1986, including the 1982 European Championship Qualifiers.
The other teams that will compete in the NASL are the Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina Railhawks, Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale, NSC Minnesota Stars, Montral Impact and Puerto Rico Islanders.