Darren Mitchell eager to make T&T National Team impact

    Darren Mitchell eager to make T&T National Team impactNewly selected ‘Warriors’ midfielder Darren Mitchell wants to create a lasting impression in the minds of the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team selectors that will secure his place in the team.

“I don’t want it to be a one shot,” said the 23 year old Princess Town born footballer over his debut call-up for two friendly internationals against Belize and Peru on March 22 and 26 respectively.

Mitchell was named among an 18-man squad, inclusive of youth and experience that will depart the Piarco Airport on Tuesday with co-Head Coaches Hutson Charles and Jamaal Shabazz focused on preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.

The squad includes 2006 World Cup players Densill Theobald (Caledonia AIA / T&T), Chris Birchall (Port Vale / England), Kenwyne Jones (Stoke City / England) and Cornell Glen (North East Stars / T&T), along with Carlyle Mitchell (Edmonton FC / Canada), Keon Daniel (Philadelphia Union / USA), Marvin Phillip, Darren Mitchell (Central FC / T&T), Cleon John, Daniel Cyrus (W Connection / T&T), Aubrey David, Ataullah Guerra, Keyon Edwards (Caledonia AIA / T&T), Joevin Jones (W Connection / T&T), Curtis Gonzales, Kevon Carter, Devorn Jorsling (Defence Force / T&T) and Marcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic Centre / T&T).

“I’m not just here for a trip,” continued Mitchell. “I want to put in a performance that would always be on the coaches’ minds and to be selected for other teams. So I’m really hoping that they use me in the matches against Belize and Peru.”

    Darren Mitchell eager to make T&T National Team impactMitchell, nicknamed ‘Chucky’, quickly made a name for himself, since joining Central FC from Tobago Phoenix during the December/January transfer window, as one of the season’s most electrifying midfielders.

And just under three months since joining the Pro League club, earned himself a call-up with the ‘Warriors’.

“It’s a great feeling you can never truly explain,” Mitchell said over his call-up by Charles and Shabazz.

“Clearly they are seeing something that they like, and I’m ready to prove to them that I can add a lot to the National Team. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and I want to make the best of it. I never thought I would be getting such an opportunity so soon. I’ve only been playing with Central for a short time. I have to thank (Central) Coach Terry Fenwick, because if he wasn’t pushing me to do better every day, I wouldn’t have earned this opportunity.”

Last season Mitchell was one of the Super League’s top goal-scorers at Phoenix and is yet to transfer that form in the Pro League, but explains, “I’m the new kid and I’m still working on fitting in. I’m creating chances for myself upfront and I admit it’s a bit of shyness in front of goal, and normally create the chances for my teammates.”

Mitchell, who calls Tobago his home, added, “Playing in the Pro League is just a start. The National coaches saw me, and once I keep improving I’m hoping that foreign scouts would be interested. As for my future, I would like to play in Europe or Asia.”

Sometimes referred to as a Tobagonian, Mitchell explains, “I call Tobago home, because although I was born in Trinidad and spent some of my younger years growing up in Princess Town, there aren’t much that I can remember.”

Mitchell said he began his football life at Scarborough Secondary, during which time he joined Tobago Phoenix under the request of coach Terry Williams.

“I have a lot of connection to Tobago. Even when my friends and family in Tobago saw the news of my selection to the National team, they started calling me up and congratulating me and it was such a good feeling,” concluded the Central FC player.

While Mitchell focuses on his involvement with the T&T squad, co-Head Coaches Charles and Shabazz already have two friendly international European opponents on the agenda, in their preparations leading up to the Gold Cup.

The ‘Warriors’ are expected to tackle Romania’s Senior Team in Bucharest on June 4 and also Estonia in that country on June 7.

And looking ahead to the Gold Cup fixtures, T&T are drawn alongside El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras in Group B of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and will play their opening game at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey against El Salvador on July 8.

The twin-island republic will play its second game against Haiti at the Sunlife Stadium in Miami on July 12 before travelling to face Honduras at the BBVA Stadium in Houston on July 15.

The top two teams of Groups A, B and C, and the best two third place finishers will advance to the quarter-finals from July 20. The Gold Cup Final is slated for July 28 at Soldier Field, Chicago.

GROUP A:  Mexico, Panama, Canada, Martinique
GROUP B:  Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti
GROUP C: USA, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba
(local time followed by EDT time)
First Round
Sunday, July 7 – Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
Canada vs. Martinique, 2:30 p.m.  (5:30 p.m. EDT)
Mexico vs. Panama, 5:00 p.m.  (8:00 p.m. EDT)
Monday, July 8 – Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
El Salvador vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 7 p.m.  (7 p.m. EDT)
Haiti vs. Honduras, 9:30 p.m.  (9:30 p.m. EDT)
Tuesday, July 9 – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, OR)
Costa Rica vs. Cuba, 5:30 p.m.  (8:30 p.m. EDT)
Belize vs. USA, 8 p.m.  (11 p.m. EDT)
Thursday, July 11 – CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)
Panama vs. Martinique, 5:30 p.m.  (8:30 p.m. EDT)
Mexico vs. Canada, 8 p.m.  (11 p.m. EDT)
Friday, July 12 – Sun Life Stadium (Miami, FL)
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti, 7 p.m.  (7 p.m. EDT)
Honduras vs. El Salvador, 9:30 p.m.  (9:30 p.m. EDT)
Saturday, July 13 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Salt Lake City, UT)
USA vs. Cuba, 1:30 p.m.  (3:30 p.m. EDT)
Costa Rica vs. Belize, 4:00 p.m.  (6:00 p.m. EDT)
Sunday, July 14 – Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver, CO)
Martinique vs. Mexico, 2 p.m.  (4 p.m. EDT)
Panama vs. Canada, 4:30 p.m.  (6:30 p.m. EDT)
Monday, July 15 – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
El Salvador vs. Haiti, 6 p.m.  (7 p.m. EDT)
Honduras vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 8:30 p.m.  (9:30 p.m. EDT)
Tuesday, July 16 – Rentschler Field (Hartford, CT)
Cuba vs. Belize, 5:30 p.m.  (5:30 p.m. EDT)
USA vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m.  (8 p.m. EDT)
Saturday, July 20 – Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
Group A runner-up vs. Group B runner-up, TBD (x)
Group A winner vs. Group B/C third-place, TBD (x)
 x-matches scheduled for 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. local (3 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT) with order TBD
Sunday, July 21 – M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
Group B winner vs. Group C runner-up, TBD (y)
Group C winner vs. Group A/B third place, TBD (y)
y-matches scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. local (4 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT) with order TBD
Wednesday, July 24 – Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)
X quarterfinal winners, TBD (z)
Y quarterfinal winners, TBD (z)
z-matches scheduled for 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. local (7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT) with order TBD
Sunday, July 28 – Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m. (4 p.m. EDT)