FORMER TT footballer and current coach of Central FC, Stern John, is encouraging his players to make full use of the opportunity while playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, as it can open a window for an international contract.
Central FC booked a place in the semifinal round of the CONCACAF Champions League with a 1-0 win over home team Atlantico FC in Dominican Republic, on Sunday night.
The victory meant Central FC won Group B and will play Group A runners-up Arnett Gardens of Jamaica in the semifinals. That match is tentatively scheduled for May.
John, who scored 70 goals in 115 appearances for TT, spoke about the importance of the CONCACAF tournament in an interview posted on the Central FC Facebook page.
“It is a massive role for the players to get exposure. Players could put themselves in the shop window. A lot of players from the Caribbean, especially TT, they want to go abroad and play, and I think playing in CFU (Caribbean Football Union) you put yourself in the shop window so someone could see you. You never know how far you might go, somebody might be interested in a player and they see you and the sky is the limit from there.”
John, who played professionally in England and USA, said players in the Caribbean have to perform at a higher standard to get noticed but this must not be seen as a deterrent.
“I try to tell the players they have to stay focused. I think coming from a small country in the Caribbean, you have to work a lot harder than the European players. You have to stay focused and put that work in, and like I said, the sky is the limit. Once you put in that work, and you work on your trade, and you continue playing well, you will do well and you will get to the next level.
“When you play at this level, you get to express yourself and showcase yourself. Like I said, put yourself in the shop window and play international football. Everyone will see you on ESPN, ABC and Flow Sports and it is a great opportunity for Caribbean players to have a stepping stone to play in CFU and make it to a different level.”