Trinidad and Tobago are currently undergoing a footballing renaissance at all age levels. Piggybacking a first-ever qualification for a FIFA World Cup finals by their senior team this summer in Germany, the U-17 Trinidadians are hoping to make their own mark in the Korean finals. Though they will be considered outsiders to take the crown or make much of an impact, the dual-island nation has a number of talented young players in the team and, despite only winning two games in qualifying, they will be fancying their chances of, at least, a spot in the second round. Led by head coach Anton Corneal and standout striker Stephen Knox, the Young Soca Warriors will surely bring colour, style and a little Caribbean guile to the junior finals.

Qualifying
The islanders had themselves a rough old start in CONCACAF qualifying Group B in Kingston, Jamaica in April and May. Losing their first two matches to the USA and Costa Rica, they were outscored 5-0 on the aggregate and failed to find the back of the net in 180 minutes of football. However, they managed to find their form on 5 May with a 2-1 win over fancied Canada. Goals from Stephen Knox and Leston Paul were enough to see the Trinidadians through with a shout of qualifying for Korea. A final match against hosts Jamaica loomed with all-or-nothing consequences. Kevin Molino turned out to the be the hero for T&T as his strike in the 13th minute was enough to see off the home Reggae Boyz and send Trinidad back to the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals for only the second time in their history.

Coach
Anton Corneal, son of well-known Trinidadian cricketer Alvin, hails from Maracas Valley, Trinidad and is an up-and-coming coaching talent in the dual-island nation. He had a successful playing career with a number of local clubs, Erskine College in the USA and the Trinidad & Tobago senior national team - he even played a number of FIFA World Cup qualifying matches for his home country. Corneal then took his firsts steps into coaching shortly after hanging up his boots and was an assistant to the Trinidadian senior national team as well as director of development for the country's youth football.

Star Player
Stephen Knox of fabled Trinidadian club side San Juan Jabloteh is one of the most potent strikers in the Caribbean youth ranks. Although he only managed one in the qualifying campaign, he has the speed, class and eye for goal that could make him a tricky customer come finals time this summer. A forward who likes to run with the ball at his feet and get defenders backing off and pulled out of position, Knox will carry T&T's attacking hopes in the Far East.

History

  • Trinidad & Tobago hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup back in 2001, but the team failed to make it out of the first round.
  • Korea 2007 will be T&T's second appearance at a FIFA U-17 finals.
  • Trinidad & Tobago have lost all six of their matches in FIFA youth competitions: three at the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1991 and three at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2001.
  • T&T's U-17 team is the only one of their national sides to have scored a goal in a FIFA competition (two in 2001) and neither their U-20 team nor their senior side, which played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, have found the net at a FIFA tournament.
  • What they said...
    Before we were preparing for the qualifying phase, but now we actually have to prepare for a World Championship. There will be a different approach in some ways and a very detailed outline as to how we go about getting the boys ready for Korea (Trinidad & Tobago U-17 head coach Anton Corneal).