“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Former T&T football team goalkeeper, and ex-technical director of the TT Football Federation (now TTFA) Lincoln “Tiger” Phillips has written a book entitled Rising Above and Beyond the Crossbar: The Life Story of Lincoln Tiger Phillips.
The Civil Rights era is the backdrop to this story of a black college soccer team who played their hearts out to overcome racial injustice in 1970s USA.
Stocked with some of the best Caribbean and African players of the era, the Howard University Bison went on to win two national championships under the martial discipline of coach Phillips.
The “Tiger” made history by becoming the first college coach to win an NCAA championship for a historically black University, when the Bison stormed to the 1971 and 1974 titles.
He is a former professional goalkeeper who did his utmost to repel the sorcery of Brazilian maestro Pelé in the early days of professional soccer in the United States, and helped take Trinidad and Tobago to bronze at the 1967 Pan Am Games.
Phillips was also technical director to T&T’s Soca Warriors which qualified for the World Cup finals in Germany 2006.
The biography crackles with anecdotes of coach Phillips’ life.
From his roller skating, Carnival costume-wearing boyhood in Trinidad to his days as the nickname-bestowing soccer coach who expects his players to excel, academically and athletically, “Above And Beyond” will transport the reader from the tears of tough losses to the euphoria of two national titles.
Read the story of an athlete and soldier so exhausted from long days of training for competition that he can’t polish his army boots when he returns to base, and learn about the man who finds the ideal slogan to rally the embattled Howard team to a second national title after they’re stripped of the first.
Phillips, who is currently 72 years of age, began with Queen’s Royal College and also attended Howard University.
During his playing career (1960-1975), he represented Maple and Defence Force in the local league, as well as Baltimore Bays and Washington Darts in the US.