Colombia-bound W Connection signs Italian striker Delia and Brazilian defender Jordão

Mirko DeliaDIRECTV W Connection improved its status as one of the powerhouses of Trinidad and Tobago football by signing the first Italian player in the TT Pro League.

On Monday the Couva-based club announced signing 24 year old Italian striker Mirko Delia and Brazilian right-back João Ananias Jordão Júnior ahead of the 2013-2014 season, which includes challenging top clubs of the region in the Concacaf Champions League.

Delia, 24, a former player of present Serie A outfit Calcio Catania  and a former Italy Under-20 striker, penned a one-year agreement with Connection which leaves for Cali, Colombia on Wednesday for a 3-week camp as part of its 2013-14 preseason preparations.

"I would say he(Delia) is one of the highest profile signings (of W Connection) in terms of where he has played already," said W Connection president David John-Williams.

Delia will add to an enigmatic Connection offense which includes the likes of defender-turned-attacking midfielder Joevin Jones, Surinamese forward Stefano Rijssel, forwards Hashim Arcia and Jerrel Britto, and wide attacking teenager Neil Benjamin.

Meantime the 22 year old Jordão, on a six-month loan deal from Brazil's First Division outfit Clube Nãutico Capibaride, is another high profile addition to Head Coach Stuart Charles Fevrier's roster.

Jordao boosts the back-line which also welcomed the return of 22 year old Mekeil Williams, who recently completed a short stint with the now dissolved Danish club FC Fyn, and includes the likes of Daneil Cyrus, Kurt Frederick and Leslie Russell.

W Connection players during a recent training session at the Ato Boldon Stadium CouvaWhen quizzed as to how Delia and Jordao came to join Connection, John-Williams preferred to keep his secrets close to his chest.

"We are a resourceful club," he said with a bit of laughter. "When we want something we go after it. We have contacts all over the world."

W Connection's pre-season trip to Cali, Colombia will include an intense training programme and four games, including two games against top teams Deportivo de Cali and America de Cali, according to the Couva club.

“It's all abaout preparations for the season,” explained Charles-Fevrier. “It’s simply our pre-season. We just decided to go to Colombia. We want to continue with our fitness programme, and we also want to get some high quality match practice.”

Connection will travel with a 27-man squad that includes Colombians Christian Viveros, a defensive player, and Alejandro Figueroa, the first choice goalie. The rest of the squad includes Arcia, goalkeeper Aquelius Sylvester, Britto, Jomal Williams, Benjamin, Gerard Williams, Clyde Leon, Leslie Russell, Andrei Pacheco, Silvio Spann, Frederick, Tremain Shayn Paul, Devaughn Elliot, Julani Archibald, Alvin Jones, Mekeil Williams, Matthew Woo Ling, Jabari Mitchell, Isaiah Hudson, Aaqil Campbell, Jordão, Delia, Rijssel, Brendon Boucaud and Tobagonian striker Jem Gordon.

Gordon, 19, who trialed at Connection last season and is attached to Tobago 1976 Phoenix, recently showed sharpness in front of goal during a visit by English League One club Walsall FC. Gordon is said to be in his final stage of trial at Connection, and following the Colombia trip, a final decision will be made.

The Connection technical staff will be headed by Technical Director/Head Coach, St. Lucian, Stuart Charles Fevrier and made up of assistant coaches and countrymen Earl Jean and Eligah Joseph, goalkeeper coach Trevor Nottingham, team administrator Raymond Mc Lean, physiotherapists Jo-Ellen Cole and Chandeo Boodoosingh, equipment manager John Jerry, videographer Kurt Ross and team cooks Christine Riley and Anne Ifill.

Defender Cyrus and midfielder Joevin Jones, presently with the Trinidad and Tobago Men’s Senior Team which on Monday advanced into the quarterfinal round of the Concacaf Gold Cup and will face Mexico on Saturday, are expected to join the Connection camp in Cali, Colombia following national team assignments.

Connection, which finished third in the Digicel Pro League last season and captured the Digicel Charity Shield, Lucozade Sport Goal Shield and Digicel Pro Bowl titles, will then travel from Colombia to Panama on August 6 ahead of its opening game of the 2013-14 Concacaf Champions League against Panama's Arabe Unido on Thursday August 8 at the Armando Dely Valdes Stadium.
Connection will then return to T&T to take 2012-13 Major League Soccer (MLS) runners-up Houston Dynamo at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, on August 20. Connection, Dynamo and Arabe Unido occupy Group One.

Meanwhile TT Pro League compatriot, Caledonia AIA of Morvant-Laventille, makes up Group Six along with Mexico’s 10-time Liga champion, Deportivo Toluca and Guatemala’s Comunicaciones.

Caledonia have been scheduled to open this year’s competition with a clash against the Mexican squad at the Toluca Stadium on August 6. And will hosts Comunicaciones at the Larry Gomes Stadium on August 29.

2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League Groups
Group 1: Arabe Unido (Panama), Houston Dynamo (USA), W Connection
(Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 2: Olimpia (Honduras), Sporting Kansas City (USA), Real Esteli (Nicaragua)
Group 3:  Herediano (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico),  Valencia FC (Haiti)
Group 4: Club America (Mexico), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Sporting San
Miguelito (Panama)
Group 5: San Jose Earthquakes (USA), Montreal Impact (Canada), CD
Heredia (Guatemala)
Group 6: Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Toluca (Mexico), Caledonia AIA
(Trinidad & Tobago)
Group 7: Club Tijuana (Mexico), Victoria (Honduras), Luis Angel Firpo
(El Salvador)
Group 8: LA Galaxy (USA), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), Cartagines (Costa Rica)

2013-14 Group Stage Schedule
All times Eastern
Schedule is subject to change
Tuesday, August 6
8PM  Deportivo Toluca FC (MEX)   Caledonia AIA (TRI)
10PM  CD Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)   Club Tijuana Xolos (MEX)

Wednesday, August 7
8PM  Impact de Montréal (CAN)   San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
10PM  Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)   Club América (MEX)
10PM  Real Estelí FC (NCA)    Sporting Kansas City (USA)

Thursday, August 8
8PM  Valencia FC (HAI)    CS Herediano (CRC)
10PM  Isidro Metapán (SLV)    CS Cartaginés (CRC)
10PM  CD Arabe Unido (PAN)   DIRECTV W Connection FC (TRI)

Tuesday, August 20
8PM  DIRECTV W Connection FC (TRI)  Houston Dynamo (USA)
10PM  LA Galaxy (USA)    CS Cartaginés (CRC)
10PM  CD Victoria (HON)    Club Tijuana Xolos (MEX)

Wednesday, August 21
10PM  CD Heredia (GUA)    Impact de Montréal (CAN)
10PM  Real Estelí FC (NCA)    CD Olimpia (HON)

Thursday, August 22
8PM   Cruz Azul FC (MEX)    CS Herediano (CRC)
10PM  Comunicaciones FC (GUA)   Deportivo Toluca FC (MEX)
10PM   Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)   LD Alajuelense (CRC)

Tuesday, August 27
8PM   Houston Dynamo (USA)   CD Arabe Unido (PAN)
10PM  CD Olimpia (HON)    Sporting Kansas City (USA)
10PM  CS Cartaginés (CRC)    Isidro Metapán (SLV)

Wednesday, August 28
8PM   Valencia FC (HAI)    Cruz Azul FC (MEX)
10PM  CD Heredia (GUA)    San Jose Earthquakes (USA)
10PM  Club Tijuana Xolos (MEX)   CD Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)

Thursday, August 29
8PM  Caledonia AIA (TRI)    Comunicaciones FC (GUA)
10PM   LD Alajuelense (CRC)    Club América (MEX)

Tuesday, September 17
8PM  Sporting Kansas City (USA)   Real Estelí FC (NCA)
10PM  Club América (MEX)    Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
10PM  San Jose Earthquakes (USA)   Impact de Montréal (CAN)

Wednesday, September 18
8PM  Caledonia AIA (TRI)    Deportivo Toluca (MEX)
10PM  LA Galaxy (USA)    Isidro Metapán (SLV)
10PM  CS Herediano (CRC)    Valencia FC (HAI)

Thursday, September 19
8PM  DIRECTV W Connection FC (TRI)  CD Arabe Unido (PAN)
10PM  CD Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)   CD Victoria (HON)

Tuesday, September 24
8PM   Cruz Azul FC (MEX)    Valencia FC (HAI)
8PM  Impact de Montréal (CAN)   CD Heredia (GUA)
10PM   CD Olimpia (HON)    Real Estelí FC (NCA)

Wednesday, September 25
8PM  Houston Dynamo (USA)   DIRECTV W Connection (TRI)
10PM  CS Cartaginés (CRC)    LA Galaxy (USA)
10PM  CSD Comunicaciones (GUA)   Caledonia AIA (TRI)
Thursday, September 26
10PM  LD Alajuelense (CRC)    Sporting San Miguelito (PAN)
10PM  Club Tijuana Xolos (MEX)   CD Victoria (HON)

Tuesday, October 22
8PM   Club América (MEX)    LD Alajuelense (CRC)
10PM  CS Herediano (CRC)    Cruz Azul FC (MEX)

Wednesday, October 23
8PM  Sporting Kansas City (USA)   CD Olimpia (HON)
8PM  Deportivo Toluca FC (MEX)   Comunicaciones FC (GUA)
10PM  San Jose Earthquakes (USA)   CD Heredia (GUA)
10PM  CD Victoria (HON)    CD Luis Angel Firpo (SLV)

Thursday, October 24
8PM  CD Arabe Unido (PAN)   Houston Dynamo (USA)
10PM  Isidro Metapán (SLV)    LA Galaxy (USA)