DEREK KING, former assistant coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team, who led two clubs to TT Pro League glory – Joe Public (2009) and North East Stars (2017), have undertaken a new challenge as coach of TT Super League outfit FC Santa Rosa.
This news was announced at a media conference at the boardroom, Arima Town Hall, yesterday morning.
The team, also known as “Big Cannons”, has been coached by Keith Look Loy, its owner, president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is also the president of the TT Super League.
Upon the conclusion of the 2017 season, which saw Santa Rosa finish second to Guaya United in League One, Look Loy stated his desire to pass on the coaching baton to a new face, instead of performing a dual role as club coach and organisation’s head.
King stepped down as North East Stars coach in February, after the Pro League kings implemented a wage structure which saw drastic cuts in salaries for players and members of the technical staff.
According to Look Loy, “I approached him. He said he was not only available but willing to do it. One thing led to another and so here we are.”
And King, the former Trinidad and Tobago central defender, pointed out, “When the opportunity arrived I took it with both hands. I believe we’ll compete, not only with the Super League teams but with the Pro (League) teams, in the FA (Cup).
Look Loy revealed that King was given a one-year contract and both will have special connections with the Eastern borough, having been born and bred in Arima.
FC Santa Rosa, who will be celebrating its 26th year of existence, will be using the Arima Velodrome, which has seen new lighting and soon, an upgraded field.
And the long-serving FC Santa Rosa boss stated, “This year we’re looking to play our matches on Friday nights and Saturday nights to maximise the appeal to the crowd and to maximise the gate receipts.
“FC Santa Rosa is one of the clubs in Trinidad and Tobago football that is not content to ask people for a handout or a favour. We want to generate our own income stream.”
King admitted that he is a fan of Barcelona and Brazil, and may want to use those styles of play with his team. However, Look Loy emphasised, “One of the challenges Derek will have is working with Keith Look Loy, who is a demanding fella. My ultimate demand is not about strategy or tactics, my ultimate demand is that the team must win.”
The 37-year-old King does not see a problem in moving a step down, from the Pro League to the Super League level.
“If you coach at the highest level it shouldn’t be a problem coaching in the Super League,” he acknowledged.
Look Loy made it emphatically clear that his club will not be entering the TT Pro League anytime soon, if at all.
“Not only Santa Rosa is receiving calls from Pro League players (but) other Super League clubs (are) being contacted, because they recognise that the Super League is a stable league,” he noted.
“If the powers-that-be, in Trinidad and Tobago football want to sit with the Super League and talk about how we can do better with the organisation of our elite football, specifically merging the clubs that belong to both leagues into a true united national elite competition, then we can begin that discussion immediately.”