Terry Finisterre- Saint Lucia’s national Under-20 men’s team travelled to Miami on Monday, October 29th, 2018.
There, they will play in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) Under-20 Championship, November 1-21, at the IMG Academy, in Bradenton, Florida. 34 Concacaf Member Associations will be participating, and Saint Lucia has been drawn with Haiti, Barbados, Bermuda, and Costa Rica.
The final 19-man roster was announced today (Monday), featuring eight overseas players, five playing collegiate football in the United States, one playing professionally in the United Kingdom, and the seventh playing as a pro in Trinidad and Tobago. An eighth overseas player picked up an injury during training, and will be unable to make the trip.
The team is led by goalkeeper Vino Barclette. Barclette is the starter for Morvant Caledonia United in the Trinidad and Tobago Professional League, and he has several years of experience at the youth and senior level. In 2017, Barclette was the goalkeeper for the Saint Lucia beach football side that copped gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Naussau, the Bahamas.
Among the defenders ahead of Barclette will be England-based professional, Joshua Solomon-Davies, a right-sided player. Solomon-Davies plays with the Stalybridge Celtic men’s team in the UK, although he is registered with Tranmere Rovers. Turning 19 in November, Solomon-Davies is the grandson of former Saint Lucia international, Carlos ‘Ball’ Southwell.
The five players from the USA include midfielders O’Neal Edward and Djal Augustin of the Talladega College Tornadoes; forward Aaron Richard and defender Jervel Tobierre of USC Aiken; and forward Nangee Philip of LSU Alexandria. With varying degrees of tenure on the national team, all are expected to be contributors and leaders across the park.
The remainder of the team includes several players who took part in the precursor matches to the recently concluded Blackheart Football Tournament, including young veteran defenders Dillon Fannis and Jardel Hakeem Harrow, as well as Sebastian Ribot and George Louis.
Alongside Augustin and Edward in the midfield, the options are Bryant Polius (aged 17, the youngest player on the team); Ectus David; Raphael Joseph; and Troy Edward.
Up front, aside from Richard and Philip, Saint Lucia can line up with Al Charles, Daniel Biscette, and Zane Amedee.
Zanzibar Reynolds, who kept ably for the U20 team in Blackheart warmups, will backup Barclette.
Meanwhile, Julius Desean Lansiquot, who is a midfielder with Barnet FC in the UK, is unable to travel with the national team, after joining them just a few weeks ago.
Four of these players – Barclette, Edward, Philip, and Tobierre – were part of the Saint Lucia team that made the Concacaf U17 Finals in Honduras in 2015, most of the members of that team having aged out. Polius, Biscette, Ribot, Harrow, Fanis, and Augustin have played together from at least the U15 level three years ago.
The 2018 edition of the Men’s Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament will be disputed between a record number of 34 teams. Unlike the previous format, which included regional qualifiers in the Caribbean and Central America and one final championship, this year’s redesigned competition ensures that all the participating teams have access to play more top-level football matches.
After an initial group phase, the six group winners will advance to the Qualification Stage, where they will be divided into two groups of three teams. The two group winners plus the second-place finishers of the Qualification Stage will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. Additionally, the two group winners will advance to the tournament’s final to determine the regional champion.