The members of visiting United States’ College of Charleston women soccer team are just about enjoying everything on the island, after arriving for a ten-day stay last Friday. The players and staff have been engaged in daily training sessions and also played a T&T Select national women’s team and despite suffering a narrow loss, they have found other ways to ensure that the trip has been more than worth it. Among their activities have been a trip down the islands, a beach lime at Maracas Bay, a journey to Mathura for turtle watching and a training match at Clifton Hill, Point Fortin. “Oh gosh...what is there about Trinidad that we haven’t enjoyed to date. We’ve just about enjoyed everything,” said Charleston coach Christian Michner. “It’s been unbelievable. We’ve done doubles, bake and shark at Maracas which was incredible and everybody enjoyed themselves, and we went to the Pro Bowl on Thursday night and saw a great match at the National Stadium. We have a trip to Tobago later in the week that we’re all really looking forward to.”
The US women’s soccer programme is regarded as the best in the world today particularly at the college level, with the US women recently sealing their spot for the upcoming FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup. Michner said a lot of their success was down to organisation and structure. He was, however, interested in seeing what T&T had to offer as it allowed his players to experience a new environment through the assistance of TTFF technical director Anton Corneal who conducted a session with Charleston and local national players on UWI ground, St Augustine, on Monday. “It’s been a positive experience. Mr Corneal has taken care of us and it’s been a lot of fun to mix with the local players and have training sessions and matches with them. The players down here have different characteristics and it’s an attractive quality to have. We want to build our team with many different types of players and there are certain players who have caught our eyes,” added Michner. “I’ve never been to Trinidad before but I have several friends who have played here or in the college system in the US, and it was too good an opportunity to turn down.”
Yorke inspires Sierra Leone youth
“The presence of Dwight Yorke in Sierra Leone has inspired me and other youngsters,” said Patrick Gbinda, an aspiring footballer from Sierra Leone. Gbinda was speaking after Yorke launched a youth competition in Sierra Leone last week on behalf of Manchester United. He launched the male and female under-17 competition in Freetown and is hoping that it creates opportunities for youngsters in that country. “The competition is all about giving opportunities to the young boys and girls to not only get out of their country but also test their skills against other talented kids in Africa,” said the former United striker.
“Sierra Leone football has been in the wilderness for some time, in the shadow of many African nations, but now there’s a great opportunity for you guys to produce quality. “From what I’ve heard, the future of Sierra Leone football seems to be bright. The youth teams are doing well and the senior team has beaten South Africa and other African nations,” said Yorke while in the company of the Sierra Leone Sports Minister. Gbinda who said he was privileged to have met Yorke added: “We want to follow his footsteps and that of our legend Mohamed Kallon.” Kallon is the Sierra’s only famous professional footballer who played for Inter Milan.
Birchall fits in wedding plans
Chris Birchall is still settling into new conditions at Columbus Crew after signing a multi-year contract with the American MLS club earlier this month. And while the midfielder is trying to improve his fitness level, he has set a schedule that includes a wedding as he marries longtime girlfriend Lucy Mulroy on June 9. Birchall disclosed on the official MLS site that following Crew’s game with Chicago Fire on May 26, he will jet off for the ceremony. The Crew have a break until June 16. Birchall and Mulroy have a three-year-old son, Ashley. Meantime, Crew head coach Robert Warzycha is looking forward to the versatile midfielder’s future. “He helps the team on both sides of the game,” Warzycha said. “When you have to score a goal or defend a good result, he’s probably the guy you want on the field.” And T&T teammate Julius James, back in training after a recent lung collapse, promises to show Birchall around the city and help his family relocate when they arrive sometime in July. “It’s great that we know each other and are friends,” said James, “But it’s even better for the team that he’s a good leader, a hard worker.”
St Louis scores for PDL debutants
Former national under-20 striker Stefan St Louis scored the first goal in Detroit City FC history, but it wasn’t enough as AFC Cleveland battled to a 1-1 draw in the first game for both US National Premier Soccer League expansion clubs last week. St Louis, an Oakland University product opened the scoring in the 11th minute for the home team, but it was Cleveland’s Vinny Bell who equalised in the 35th minute. Also, senior team striker Darryl Roberts netted his fourth in just under a month, a 57th minute item for Charlotte Eagles in their 1-1 draw with Wilminghton Hammerheads in the US Pro Division on Friday.