FORMER national midfielder Larry Joseph received a guard of honour send-off from former teammates Clayton Morris and Brian Williams, at the La Brea Brighton Sports Ground, on Wednesday.
Joseph, who has 30 caps for TT, passed away on February 17. He was 56. The former midfielder played for Trintoc, United Petrotrin, captained the 1990 South team against their northern rivals and went pro in 1994, joining Charlotte Eagles in the US Inter-regional Soccer League.
Morris was brought to tears during his emotional tribute to his longtime friend. He reminisced on their glory days of football on both the national, pro and domestic levels.
The former Strike Squad captain paid particular emphasis on Joseph’s integral roles in domestic victories over Cosmos in Guaracara Park, Marabella, and Alcon at the Arima Velodrome back in the day.
In the latter, Joseph scored a long-distance goal from his team’s half to catch the late goalkeeper Michael McComie off his lines. Morris and Joseph shared over 35 years playing for country and both domestic and foreign-based clubs.
“Larry was instrumental in securing many titles for every, and any team he represented. He always had the extra in him whenever it was warranted,” said Morris.
The now 54-year-old credited the late Joseph for playing instrumental roles in having the 1989 Strike Squad registered as a company. According to him, Joseph was resilient to see the team’s legacy live on.
The former teammates even travelled to Orlando, Florida in 2015 and 2017, and to New York in 2019 to meet their foreign-based fans up close and personal.
“He always reminded us that Strike Squad was a brand that could not be underestimated. In 1990, the Strike Squad reunited for a football game against prisoners from Carrera Island. I contacted Larry and other players and journeyed to the prison.
“That was a unique experience for us because we were now providing hope to fellow humans who society seemed to have cast away and forgotten,” added Morris.
Former TT player and Joseph’s Charlotte Eagles teammate Philbert Jones also reflected on the trio’s (and Morris) stints at the US club. He deemed it was a “miracle” when the three Trinbagonians were on the field at the same time.
Additionally, paying tribute to Joseph’s football legacy in the community was longstanding La Brea Angels Masters member Randy Neptune. The former club-mate stressed how Joseph gave back to the community through sport by even starting a minor league by himself.
“I will miss my ‘soldier’. From the front door to the back door, this is Larry Joseph ground. If the Government me a chance I would have buried him on this grounds (La Brea Brighton) because he loved this field so much,” said Neptune.
Also sharing their memories of Joseph were Presentation College Old Boys Association member Darren White, La Brea Sports Foundation’s Julius Wilson and Point Fortin College 81ers (Point Fortin College’s graduating class of 1981) Diane Liverpool.
Joseph’s eulogy was read by his wife Cherryl, daughter Shimone and two sons Shimon and Akil, who all shared their past personal and private moments of the late “family man’.
After moving from Palo Seco to La Brea, in 1968, Joseph attended Brighton AC primary School and passed for PFC in 1976 where he continued to play football. He then got accepted to Presentation College where he obtained most goals in the college’s league in 1983.
After his secondary school stint, he played with Forest Reserve and was named MVP at the club level. He also acquired multiple MVP awards for Trintoc in the Caribbean Club Championship. Joseph went on to play at the national level and then went pro in 1994.
Following his funeral service, Joseph’s body was taken to the La Brea Public Cemetery. Several mourners walked alongside the hearse from the recreation ground to the cemetery to bid the former stalwart national player a final farewell.