When Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz attracted world-wide attention by reaching the World Cup finals in 1998, it signaled the beginning of an era that the West Indies, and even the wider Caribbean, were in the business of soccer.
The excitement was followed by a wave of players entering top club soccer throughout Europe and the enthusiasm was felt in Toronto.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that a newly-formed Caribbean Selects is one of the first clubs to join the CPSL’s International Division which kicks off the 2006 season next month.
Aldwyn McGill, an attacking midfielder turned striker in the ‘70s when Trinidad & Tobago was making its mark in world soccer, who found his way to Canada to be one of the more prominent members of the Toronto soccer community, is one of the principals behind the launch. So is Neil Palmer of the Brampton Kickers Soccer Club to the northwest of Toronto who also helped to launch the professional Brampton Stallions in 2005.
McGill, who coached Metro Lions of the CPSL (now Oakville Blue Devils) and has excellent soccer skills to go with a reputation of being a top soccer administrator and writer for the Carribean Camera newspaper, expects the Selects to be the product of a gradual building process over time.
“While we will be making every effort to win our games from the word go, it’s going to take a little time to build a team to win this new division,” he said recently following a practice session that included several players on tryouts.
Caribbean Selects will continue to conduct tryouts every Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 12 noon at Downsview Park on Keele Street just north of Wilson Avenue in Toronto. For more information, call (416) 286-6292.
Caribbean Selects is one of five teams in the new International Division to play an interlocking schedule with seven community teams in the National Division, to kickoff the CPSL's ninth season on May 19. Other International Division teams are Italia Shooters, Portuguese Toronto Supra, Serbian White Eagles and Toronto Croatia. Additional teams are being interviewed for entry in 2007 when the total number in the new division is expected to reach eight.