Iconic former T&T player and "Strike Squad" head coach Everald “Gally” Cummings says he is excited about his appointment as head coach of the TnT "Soca Rivals", the local franchise club for the inaugural Islands Open Cup (ISCO) Tournament carded to take place in the Caribbean next summer.
Cummings has been named the head coach with former T&T World Cup midfielder Carlos Edwards carded to take up a coach/player role alongside another former national stand-out Ron La Forest, who has been named as an assistant coach.
The ISCO Tournament will comprise a professional competition inclusive of recently retired legends and marquee players from across the globe, as well young Pan-Caribbean/Latin American talent, all participating in the ten franchises as follows: Brazil Samba Warriors FC, Barbados Challengers FC, SC Colombia Tapirs, FC Combined Islands, AS Espanola Manics, AS Guyana Oilers, Jamaica Ruffnecks FC, Suriname Gladiators FC, TnT Soca Rivals FC and the French Connection FC.
Among the standout former players who are expected to be involved are recently turned head coaches, such as Colombia’s Carlos Valderrama, Italy’s Marco Simone, France’s Vincent Candela, and USA’s Brad Friedel who will be assigned to selected franchises in the Euro$3 million “winner-take-all” annual cash prize championship.
Speaking about his appointment, Cummings said, "This is a very good position for me which requires a lot of football experience, knowledge and the capabilities to succeed and someone of good character.”
“I would like to commend the organizers for taking this initiative to stage such a tournament and additionally when other people seem to pass you by, they went back and looked at what we were able to achieve in the 1989 campaign and saw the development of the national team in 1987 before the Strike Squad took off. In two years we were able to sell out all venues and bring people back to the game again,” he added.
“I think this tournament will revamp the interest in football in the region again because we have a lot of players and coaches coming from outside to mingle with our guys here and enhance the quality of the teams and the football in the tournament. We will be unearthing talent also during this tournament which is important for our region,” Cummings continued.
“I am not surprised at the fact that in CONCACAF, Mexico, Costa Rica, USA and other countries have dominated and from what I am seeing they will continue to do so because they all have good youth programmes with continuity from one level to the next. This is why we see so many youth players representing their countries senior teams and teams at all levels. This tournament will allow more youngsters the opportunity to display their talent and skill,” he said.
Sol Campbell, Carlos Valderamma and Marco Simone are among some of the names that have endorsed the tournament and are expected to be involved.
“This made me very happy because with all these popular names of persons who have contributed at a high level internationally coming to the region especially at this time. I feel elated to be part of it and I know the other coaches and players from other parts of the world will be keen to come to the Caribbean to be part of this event,” Cummings stated.
“To have Carlos Edwards as part of the staff for the TnT Soca Rivals will be a blessing because Carlos will be helping with playing and coaching of the franchise. Also, we will have people like Ron La Forest who will be an assistant coach and my son Gabre Cummings who will be the manager of the team.
“The timing is good because we have to also look at the Coronavirus pandemic right now and hopefully by the time next year comes around all will be in place for the staging of this tournament,” Cummings concluded.
The Islands Cup Open Tournament has been conceived as a 12-weeks summer tournament and will comprise games to be played in three different cities in Brazil, and the Pan-Caribbean.
Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda will be utilized as our main hubs, with a caravan schedule in selected countries, playing both mid-week and weekend games. This football tournament will infuse players from across the globe.