Stern John, the former T&T prolific goalscorer and current Senior Men’s Team assistant coach has been named head coach of the Under- 17 men’s team.
John’s appointment was approved by the Board of the TTFA on Monday and his assignment begins immediately as he moves in to prepare the T&T team for the CONCACAF Under-17 Men’s Championship in May, which also serves as the CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 Men’s World Cup in Peru.
T&T faces Bermuda in its opening game on May 1 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, USA to be followed by clashes with Jamaica (May 3) and Mexico on May 5.
In a reaction to his first national team head coach appointment, the former Birmingham City forward said he eagerly awaits the commencement of his duties as he seeks to lead T&T into the knockout phase and subsequently Peru 2019.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I’m excited about the challenge. It’s not an easy challenge but I’m excited and I’m relishing the opportunity to work with the youngsters,” John said yesterday.
Leading the national team for the first time is an honour for the ex-Sunderland and Southampton marksman, who has also led Central FC as head coach in the T&T Pro League and CONCACAF competitions.
“I’ve been working with the T&T men’s team for a couple years and also with Central FC, so I have a little experience under my belt. Hopefully, I can continue with my experience and bring something to the youth team. It’s definitely an exciting period to be serving as head coach of a national team for my country. I’ve played at every level and now getting a chance to lead from the front and to work with upcoming players is a big deal for me. I’d like to thank the heads at the TTFA for giving me this opportunity to make another contribution."
The ex-Columbus Crew player says he has already assessed the opponents that T&T will face in the group in May.
“I think from watching the teams we will play against, I think we have a great opportunity. Three teams will come out of the group and the main thing in these competitions is to try and win your first game. It’s not going to be an easy challenge, but I think we have the quality in the players in T&T. We have a good bunch of young players who played under Russell Latapy before, and I think I just have to continue on what he has done before and keep building and working with the team,” John said.