RANDY WALDRUM wants to help the Trinidad and Tobago’s national women’s team qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2015, but will not give up his paying job as head coach of the Houston Dash, an American professional club.
Legendary American women’s coach Waldrum will coach T&T’s women’s team on a part-time basis only, according to an article by the American journalist Hal Kaiser.
Waldrum indicated that he was initially approached to take up the T&T job over a year ago, but it only came to fruition recently when he was announced at T&T’s head coach. During that time the former US Under-23 and Notre Dame coach had taken the head coaching job with the Dash. He informed the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) he was still willing to help prepare the team for World Cup qualifying in a largely administrative capacity.
“I said I can’t do it now because we (DASH) are in season and the only way I can help you is if you want to bring the team here for some training; I can train them in the evenings in my off-time, but you’ll have to send a staff with them.”
Most of the T&T footballers are currently in Houston where they will train under Waldrum’s staff, and also play two friendly internationals against Mexico. They then head back home to begin World Cup qualifying at the Women’s Caribbean Cup to be played in T&T from August 19-26.
The Caribbean tournament will qualify the final four teams for the eight-team CONCACAF Zone final leg of World Cup qualifying. Waldrum is clear that the role has no impact on his responsibilities with the Dash. The T&T national team will stay and train at the University of Houston.
“They (Trinidad and Tobago) are going to send staff, I am going to add a couple of coaches that I know who know how I want to play. So they will primarily be training the team although I’ll get over in the evenings as much as I can and help organise the training. That is really it,” added Waldrum.
Although working with T&T part-time, Waldrum is no less committed. Waldrum flew down to Trinidad early Sunday morning three weeks ago following the Dash’s Saturday night game with Western New York in order to observe the team play against Venezuela.
Sitting in the stands, Waldrum watched as Jason Spence oversaw the team in a 5-0 win over Venezuela. He returned to Houston Monday morning in time to work with the Dash, and was not present for the follow-up friendly with Venezuela a couple nights later. Having worked with the T&T national Under-17 team in 2008, Waldrum does not hide his enthusiasm about working with the Caribbean country again. He relishes the task of possibly qualifying them for a first women World Cup.
“I’m excited about it, I know a lot of questions have come up with the Dash about how it changes things here and it really doesn’t. First of all, I would not do anything to jeopardise the Dash, my commitment is here,” Waldrum said.
Financially, the priority is clear as well: Waldrum is not getting paid to manage Trinidad and Tobago. “I am doing it for free, so I certainly would not jeopardise this (the Dash role),” joked Waldrum.
“Trinidad and Tobago is something I agreed to probably about a year ago. I know the General Secretary really well, he’s a good personal friend. I was down there a number of years ago with the U-17s, to try to help them qualify (for the 2008 World Cup). He asked me about a year ago if I’d be interested in coming and doing the senior team. Of course I was still at Notre Dame at the time and I said, ‘sure, I’ll help you any way that I can’.”