ST. VINCENT’S PART-TIMERS AIM FOR THE STARS

Members of St. Vincent and the Grenadines men's soccer team take part in a practice Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in St. Louis. The team is scheduled to play a World Cup qualifying match against the United States on Friday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

By STEVE BRENNER

If Jurgen Klinsmann, the German coach of the United States national team, thinks he is at his lowest ebb, Cornelius Huggins can offer him a startling reality check.

When Klinsmann’s team begins the qualifying cycle for the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Friday night, it will do so on the heels of a string of desperately disappointing results. Fans are grumbling, and faith in Klinsmann’s leadership seems to dim with each new unimpressive display.

Yet if Klinsmann ever fears that all hope is lost, he can always put himself in the shoes of Huggins, a man once known as the Outlaw who faces a much taller task.

Huggins coaches the young national team of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which will serve as the first hurdle for the Americans on the road to Russia. The teams play Friday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Currently ranked 122 in the world by F.I.F.A, St. Vincent encounters the kind of difficulties no major nation — or any of its current opponents in qualifying — will endure. The team, a collection of part-timers, does not even have a training field of its own. It best-performing striker is a fisherman. The captain is a member of the coast guard.

“You cannot be jealous of what others have, like the United States,” Huggins said in an interview last week. “It’s been a struggle for us. We don’t have the resources. We don’t have the finances. We just thank God for helping us reach this point.

For his tiny Caribbean country to have reached this moment is special. The 103,000 natives who inhabit St. Vincent, a 16-mile, economically ravaged island at the southern end of the Caribbean, would fit inside Penn State’s Beaver Stadium with room to spare. But triumphs over Guyana and Aruba in the earlier rounds have given fans, and Huggins’s team, a chance to dream.

St. Vincent has never won a match at this level. In fact, it is only the fifth time its team has reached the main qualifying tournament. Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala make up the rest of its group, but meeting the United States is the main event.

“Life here is hard,” said Huggins, the country’s most celebrated player.

If not for soccer, Huggins might still be clocking in at the plastic-bag factory where he used to work. Instead, he will lead the Vincy Heat, as St. Vincent’s team is known, into some of the biggest games of their lives.

“It’s a real struggle for the players to make a living for themselves and their families,” he added. “The rich people aren’t playing the game; it’s the poor ones. There’s no professional league in St. Vincent. They get nothing. They work from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., and then at 4:30, they can start doing their stuff.”

He called the chance to share the stage with the region’s biggest players and teams “a massive opportunity.”

“That’s why playing for the national team is so important: you go overseas and someone might see you,” Huggins said. “Scouts come here very rarely, which is a shame because there is a lot of talent in the smaller Caribbean countries.”

Comparing the infrastructure of these two soccer nations, however, is an illuminating exercise. No expense has been spared for Klinsmann and his support staff in the search for progress. In St. Vincent, the situation is strikingly, and depressingly, different.

F.I.F.A’s Goal program, which finances development projects — sometimes controversially — in member associations, approved a project to build a headquarters for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation in 2013. The plans, though, were soon scrapped.

“Our main training pitch is the one where we play all our games, and that is a shared facility with a cricket team,” Huggins said. “Now that we are in the World Cup qualifying competition, they have allowed us more freedom. They are still playing on it at this time of year though, so we don’t always have it totally to ourselves,”

“They want to keep training so we only use certain areas, to go down the sides and keep off the main part. We just need a facility where we can train whenever we like. We can’t keep sharing a surface which is used for other sports.”

While the United States striker Jozy Altidore earned almost $5 million this year in Major League Soccer, his opposite number Tevin Slater earns precisely nothing playing for Camdonia F.C. in the St. Vincent Premier League. Slater earns his income by catching fish.

No matter. Slater, 20, is a raw, exuberant danger in attack, scoring seven goals in his first 11 international appearances, and a Concacaf-leading five in World Cup qualifying.

“We are the underdogs, so there is no pressure, but it’s difficult for us,” said the St. Vincent captain, Darren Hamlett. “I am a coast guard officer, so I work from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., go to training, and then come back at night to keep working.

“Some of our squad have just come out of school, while others are unemployed,” he added. “A lot of our players are young, but if you want to become a professional, you have to start acting like one, so we work hard.

“That’s what we are up against. But we love football. And we love our country.”

Pingbacks

  1. cwnt54mxwct7nvencwv4ebycf
  2. 298cn54mr25cnt5nctrw
  3. www.paydayadvance.us.org
  4. free mp3 download
  5. casino games
  6. Brazzers House 2
  7. farming simulator 19 mods
  8. http://derekframpton.com/
  9. bad credit loan online
  10. farming simulator 19 mods
  11. Haroon ur Rasheed columns
  12. Marcel Stahr
  13. http://carinsurancequote.us.org/
  14. credits.us.org
  15. meet new people and make new friends
  16. cashloans.us.org
  17. click here
  18. best ivf centre in delhi ncr
  19. Manifestation Magic
  20. golf socks
  21. Indoxxi
  22. poker online
  23. Demeter Fertility
  24. poker online
  25. Prices
  26. https://allthingscrypto.tech/morrison-foerster/
  27. 123Movies
  28. jasa view youtube
  29. 15 Minute Manifestation Reviews
  30. tobacco online australia
  31. Cheap Jordans
  32. https://casinoclb.de/book-of-moorhuhn/
  33. Film Terbaru 2019
  34. animal control
  35. wildlife removal
  36. seo
  37. volume area calculator
  38. Latest Urdu Columns
  39. Wedoitforthenextgirl.wordpress.com
  40. 123Movies
  41. drug
  42. Acompanhantes Caxias do Sul
  43. sosyal medya yönetimi"
  44. dijital ajans
  45. How to Make Money with LinkedIn
  46. Roxanne Hurlock
  47. Make Money on Youtube
  48. MAKE MONEY BLOGGING
  49. Cheap Escort London
  50. Ben Marks
  51. all black 12s jordans
  52. New Video
  53. nindy terbiasa bahagia
  54. Jasa Youtube
  55. low cost web design
  56. Cheap Escort London
  57. busy podkarpackie szwajcaria
  58. https://foxtailmarketing.com/ico-marketing-agency/
  59. Gavin
  60. teen porn
  61. amateur porn
  62. dragkrokskungen
  63. Adventures of Bill in Globe Island
  64. Sheree Alaimo
  65. tipobet365 giris
  66. sex tube
  67. plumbers in my area
  68. lucky patcher
  69. buy houses in ikoyi
  70. khadubds.blogspot.com
  71. http://newyearposter4.wallinside.com/
  72. https://justbring.quora.com/Buy-Music-Cards-and-Much-More-On-the-web
  73. when time does the restaurant close
  74. Parallel Profits
  75. Parallel Profits
  76. jual subscriber
  77. fuck
  78. Power Efficiency Guide
  79. over door hook
  80. more Hoverwatch Reviews
  81. Ben Marks
  82. smm panel
  83. poker online
  84. Roxanne Hurlock
  85. door hanging hook
  86. dubai
  87. jasa like instagram
  88. Jasa Backlink Murahan
  89. powerball
  90. Large Canvas Art For Living Room
  91. Free sex videos
  92. sbobet
  93. agen bola
  94. lagu hits
  95. kratom nera me
  96. malta properties
  97. How to do your own credit repair
  98. Best Stock Market Signals
  99. click for more info
  100. see this
  101. jual view
  102. Sarah Mills
  103. ATTACHMENTS
  104. Find Out More
  105. runescape classic revolution
  106. posture corrector for teenagers
  107. digitad
  108. thelovelydayblog.blogspot.com
  109. Layar Kaca 21
  110. metaal techniek
  111. check these guys out
  112. reputation monitoring
  113. 8-05-2014
  114. Skin tags
  115. All Blacks Store
  116. myloweslife login
  117. online art
  118. Free scan to see if your PC is part of a bot
  119. crear cuenta hotmail
  120. ps4 игры
  121. click
  122. walmartone login
  123. bookkeeping services
  124. Exporting Dogs from Sri Lanka
  125. Health requirements when bringing pets in to Sri Lanka
  126. 123Movies
  127. Large Abstract Art For Sale
  128. google apps free
  129. www walmartone com
  130. cpi certification online
  131. Funny Christian T-shirts
  132. matilde menendez presa

Comments are closed.