KERRY BAPTISTE is looking at life after football, as he embarks in his new role as player/assistant coach at Terminix St Ann’s Rangers.
The 36-year-old striker made his debut for Rangers on Wednesday afternoon, and the team registered a 1-0 victory over Point Fortin Civic in a Pro League Round One Match Day Four contest at the Larry Gomes Stadium, Arima.
Baptiste joined Central FC as a free agent earlier this year, after a victorious 2017 Pro League season with North East Stars.
Central FC have been plagued with financial difficulties and Baptiste have decided to make the switch to Rangers.
According to Baptiste, “At the end of the day, I can’t play football forever. The sponsor of the team Terminix has a long-term vision – that’s what I’m looking at.”
Baptiste has no hard feelings towards Central FC owner Brent Sancho and coach Stern John, his former national teammates.
“I thank them so much for the opportunity they gave me to play (for the club) again,” said Baptiste, who was also part of Central FC during their league-winning season of 2015-2016. “It’s life. I moved on, I made the decision for me and my family. I’m here to help, to motivate, and do the best that I can for St Ann’s Rangers.”
Asked if his long-term plan is coaching, Baptiste replied, “Yes, because I’ll eventually get into the coaching after I (retire). That’s one of the things I’m willing to do.”
Currently, he’s serving as the assistant to rookie Rangers’ coach Dave Quamina. Quamina, a former San Juan Jabloteh youth team coach, noted, “Me and Kerry go way back. He was my assistant in Jabloteh. He’s a real good human being. He’s not disrespectful. He’s positive.
“I just approached him and he came on board,” Quamina added. “It wasn’t no hard thing for him to do. Kerry is a legend in the league.”
At this moment, Baptiste is not ready to hang up his boots.
“At the end of the day, nobody can tell me when to stop playing,” said the ex-Joe Public forward. “There is a God above. At the end of the day, He gave me the talent. Once I’m fit, healthy and strong, I’ll be playing.”
He is even hopeful of adding to his 51 international caps for the national team.
“It’s always good to represent your country,” Baptiste said. “I know what I can bring to the national team if I do get a call back. But I’m playing my football, if it happens, it happens. I’m enjoying myself.” And Quamina, reflecting on Wednesday’s match, was pleased with the involvement of Baptiste as he earned his first win at the Pro League level.
“It felt good,” said Quamina. “It’s youngsters and we just need to be consistent. I think Kerry helped us a lot with the experience, just being out on the field, and we can take it from there.”