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T&T skipper makes appeal on behalf of Women Warriors after loss to Ecuador

The Women Warriors need jobs.
Team captain Maylee Attin-Johnson specifically mentioned her colleague Ahkeela Mollon when she highlighted a problem facing many of the players on the national team, which failed to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup when it lost 1-0 to Ecuador Tuesday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
Many have been through the United States college system and have graduated with degrees, but cannot find jobs in Trinidad and Tobago. At best, most of them have gotten ‘on-the-job training’,” she said in an interview after the match.
Attin-Johnson also called for meaningful resources to be invested in women’s football.
“A lot of us are not only talented footballers, but we are very intelligent young ladies as well. We went abroad, got a degree, and it is very difficult to come back home and not get jobs,” Attin-Johnson pointed out. “So, hopefully the heads that be can facilitate that. Help us throughout our football career and even after.”
Like many of the older players, the women’s team captain has to think of a career ahead, and at age 28 she is unsure whether she will see another World Cup qualification campaign.
“Four years from now? It’s hard to say. Especially with a loss like this. I am very distressed at this moment,” Attin-Johnson stated. “A lot of things have to change for us to commit our time. We (are) getting older, so we have to find a career that will finance us through our lives,” she added.
The captain also called on the authorities to improve the status of women footballers, so that upcoming footballers do not have to face the hardship they went through during the World Cup qualifying campaign.
“Football is not my life, it a passion for me. I graduated with a degree in sport management, so I can fall back on that. But for the other kids coming up, who are in school right now, they have a lot of football to play. Granted, I hope, a lot of resources is pumped into women’s football,” she said.
“I hope now they can see what we can give and what a little resources and investment in women’s football can do. Hopefully, the head that be, take charge and start putting money into women’s football,” she added. “I hope a lot of resources is pumped into women’s football to make it easier for the ones going to school, and the ones that are coming up to have a way of life,” she ended.

Early August, 2014: US-based coach Randy Waldrum is hired and accepts leading the team without pay until the TTFA gets funding.

August 27: One day after winning the Caribbean Championship, captain Maylee Attin-Johnson and the team’s coach Randy Waldrum appealed for funding to gather the team together to train and prepare properly in preparation for the October 12-26 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

October 5: Six days before the start of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, some members of the Women Soca Warriors are stranded in T&T ahead because the TTFA had trouble raising $40,000 to process visas for the team. A planned pre-tour camp that was expected to include warm-up matches, is compromised and the TTFA scrambles to get the team together in time for their first match against world number one ranked USA.

October 6: The final members of the team travel to Dallas, Texas, four days after the team’s originally scheduled departure. In a last ditch effort the Ministry of Sport bailed out the TTFA providing financial support to cover costs for the training camp in Dallas to run until October 13 and other allowances and team-related expenses. Petrotrin provides casual wear and $75,000 to assist in the visa payments.

October 8: Coach Waldrum tweets about the T&T female soca warriors, “I need HELP! T&T sent a team here last night with $500 total. No equipment such as balls, no transportation from airport to hotel, nothing.”
October 9: The Haitian football team and the T&T diaspora in Dallas contribute over US$10,000 to the team. The coach is able to raise much needed funds while the Ministry of Sport injects over $200,000 to help the team.

November 26: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar scolds the TTFA organisation to get its house in order to provide funding for football in T&T as she delivers a promised one-off $1.5 million incentive payment to the team.

December 2: At a post-match interview after their 1-0 loss to Ecuador, captain Attin-Johnson appeals for help with securing jobs as she and several of her teammates have failed to secure jobs despite being qualified.

—Compiled by Mark Pouchet

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