Hart: New football league can benefit Caribbean players
TORONTO, Canada (CMC):
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) is the ideal professional league for Caribbean footballers who are finding it difficult to break through into the European circuit.
That is the view of Stephen Hart, a former coach of the Soca Warriors, who has been named as Halifax (HFX) Wanderers Football club coach in the CPL.
The CFL is scheduled to kick off in April 2019 and will feature seven franchises; York9 FC (York, Ontario), Forge FC (Hamilton, Ontario), FC Edmonton (Edmonton, Alberta), Calvary FC (Calgary, Alberta), Valour FC (Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Pacific FC (Langford, British Columbia) along with Halifax.
Hart, who coached the Trinidad national team from 2013 to 2016, said the exposure to professional leagues, would only help to improve the standard of Caribbean footballers.
"I think it's important for everyone to understand that CPL is a brand new league, and just judging from the tryouts (CPL got game trials) that we have been having, there are many players from the Caribbean and Latin America that have been trying out.
"It's one of those situations where opportunity does exist. For the players from Trinidad & Tobago when you understand how difficult it has been to get into Europe in the past due to work permits that are necessary [and] it is an avenue to get into the USA market ..." Hart said.
Hart, however, acknowledged that while the CPL could offer in some cases easier travel home and easy cultural assimilation due to Caribbean heritage population in Canada, he noted some unique Canadian conditions that will provide their own challenges.
"Then, of course, preseason in the winter will be different, playing indoors and with the league being east to west, despite sounding exciting, it does put wear and tear on the body for players who are potentially lucky enough to be chosen, but these are things one has to adapt to if they want to be professional in the CPL," Hart explained.