KAILE Auvray, 19, has quickly become a popular Soca Warrior. The diminutive attacking midfielder has skills and an understanding of the game beyond his years. His low centre of gravity and slippery style make him a nightmare for opposing defenders, and he already has the support of the TT fans.
Auvray was born in Caen, France, and has lived in US, Guadeloupe and TT, where his mother was born.
TT got a good look at Auvray in January when the midfielder lined up for St Martin, coached by his father Stephane Auvray, against Soca Warriors at Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo. Auvray's father was born in Guadeloupe, but also spent part of his childhood in St Martin.
St Martin lost that match 2-0, but Auvray impressed everyone in attendance including TT coach Angus Eve.
By March Auvray was representing TT, making his debut in a friendly against Jamaica.
Growing up with a father as a professional player, from early on Auvray knew he wanted to be a footballer. "I always played football, from the age of five. I grew up around football because my dad was a former professional footballer himself, so I guess I was fully immersed from the youngest of ages, so naturally I began to play. I will say at the age of ten I definitely knew that this was the path that I wanted to go on."
Auvray said all his TT team-mates have welcomed him to the team.
"The fellas welcomed me with open arms from the first day and they made things very easy for me."
He said brothers Alvin and Joevin Jones have really made the transition smoother for him. "I will mention guys like Joevin Jones, Alvin Jones. They really brought me into the group in the best of ways."
Auvray said despite feeling comfortable in TT colours already, he wants to continue improving on the field. "As a player you never fully satisfied, because the most important thing is for there to be growth and just to learn from each game in order to improve for the next one. So never satisfied, but always working towards getting better and better, but I've heard good echoes so I am always happy for that."
The midfielder, who was a member of the Sporting Kansas City Club in the US, signed for Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions Mt Pleasant recently. Fellow TT international Nathaniel James, also 19, has signed with Mt Pleasant too.
Auvray believes the move to Jamaica will benefit him because of the physicality of the JPL. "Getting stronger physically (is what I need to work on) because I am still relatively lightweight, so I am trying to work physically and also get into the (18-yard) box more often."
Auvray has not scored for TT yet in his nine caps, but has certainly looked dangerous attacking.
"We (Mt Pleasant) started training for the past two weeks or so. So far it has been pretty good. I have been working very hard as the approach here is very physical. This is what I have been trying to work on, so it is actually perfect and I am looking forward to helping the team once the league officially begins (in a few weeks)."
Auvray has played practice matches already with Mt Pleasant.
With James at Mt Pleasant, Auvray has adjusted to life in Jamaica.
"It is great because we have been in (national) camp together multiple times, so obviously we get along well. We are the same age...so it's cool."
The Soca Warriors are coming off back-to-back wins against Curacao (1-0) and El Salvador (3-2) in the Concacaf Nations League and are now preparing for a match against Guatemala at Hasely Crawford Stadium on October 13 at 9 pm.
"We know Guatemala is a tough opponent as we played them recently in a friendly. We are familiar with them and we've had a strong start, so it is very important to be able to put in a strong performance in order to stay ahead of the pack and hopefully a big crowd shows up, because we will need all the support we can get."