A truce has been declared, and with a mere civil retraction for hurtful things said by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), former women’s national team coach Marlon Charles will begin working with American Randy Waldrum to qualify the Soca Princess for the Canada 2015 FIFA Women World Cup.
Charles has in essence agreed to take up the position of Waldrum’s first assistant, but is still hurt by recent developments, including not being informed about women’s team issues, including his demotion.
Last week, the TTFA issued a release indicating it had sacked long-serving former national coach Charles, having brought in former USA Under-23 and legendary women’s college coach Waldrum to head the women’s programme.
“After one month of programme review, concerns raised by players about the direction of the coaching and programme, and under the recommendations of a newly installed Technical Development Committee chairman, the TTFA has decided to relieve Marlon Charles of his present position and install former US U-23 and Notre Dame Coach, Randy Waldrum, as the head coach for the senior women’s team,” the TTFA release stated last week.
However, on Sunday, Waldrum and Charles were seated side by side and plotting strategy as the T&T senior women beat a young Venezuelan team 5-0 at Ato Boldon Stadium.
Also watching on Sunday were TTFA president and Port of Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee, and his general secretary Sheldon Phillips.
When asked to confirm their partnership, both parties replied positively and indicated they were desirous of rekindling the relationship they had on the 2008 T&T Women’s National Under-17 team when Charles was Waldrum’s assistant. Meanwhile, Charles still has to have his “minor issue” worked out with the TTFA, but assures that he would work with Waldrum.
”My situation was never about the coach, because we are friends. So working together is not a problem,” Charles declared. “The relationship between both of us is not an issue. Everything was about what I was standing up for.”
Meanwhile, Waldrum had a good first impression of the senior women.
“My first impression is positive. I think there’s a lot of talent. I think they got some good organisation,” Waldrum said of the side after seeing T&T dominate the match. “There’s enough to work with”.
“Obviously, they need some time together. You can tell they have not been together in a while with the fitness level and some of the pressing collectively, but I have a very positive first impression,” Waldrum added.
Waldrum added that the best players will be given a chance to make the team but that the situation was not similar to 2008, when he desperately had to search for talent to make up the Under-17 side.
“The last time I came here we had three months and when I saw the group we had we needed to find some players from outside. The last time the players had not been playing very long and the level was not very high.” Waldrum said. “I think it’s different now because these players have been playing since a young age. We might have a couple in Europe that would be good to get back, but I think the talent is here.”
Waldrum said because of the short time, he will have to depend on Charles and the technical staff to determine what players to carry to Houston for a one-month training camp ahead of the Women’s Caribbean Cup, the first leg of World Cup qualifying to be held from August 19-26 in Trinidad and Tobago.
Charles added that he was glad Venezuela sent a young team because it gave the Soca Princess a chance to find their legs after playing a first international in a couple of years.