Trinidad and Tobago are well represented by their national soccer team, which is one of the most recognized from the Caribbean. Their World Cup appearance in Germany 2006 was the most important feat in their history, and that opened the doors for them to the world of soccer.
They are also commonly known as the ‘Soca Warriors’, a nickname that has to do with a play of words as soca is a music genre from that region, and its pronunciation sounds like the sport.
Aside from their famous achievement of getting into FIFA’s main event 15 years ago, Trinidad and Tobago became the most successful team in the Caribbean. Here, find out more about their history in the beautiful game.
The first step: Joining Concacaf and FIFA
Trinidad and Tobago’s national soccer team played its first official game in 1905, in a 4-1 victory over Guyana. However, for many years the ‘Soca Warriors’ did not participated in official games, as they were not part of the soccer governing bodies.
That changed in 1962, when they joined Concacaf, first, and then made another step forward by becoming a FIFA member in 1964. That enabled them to start participating in the World Cup Qualifiers, and their first campaign was the one ahead of England 1966. From then on, Trinidad and Tobago started to take part in every Qualifying and in the Concacaf Championship, where they recorded impressive results.
A maiden runner-up result after a controversial match
The ‘Soca Warriors’ were up to the challenge in their initial Concacaf Championship tournaments, and in 1973, they had their best performance ever on the competition, finishing as runners-up.
However, the match they lost in that edition was full of controversy. In the 1-2 defeat against Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago were disallowed up to five goals and the referees of that game were banned for life by FIFA, which speaks a lot about the suspicious decisions made during that match.
That loss denied Trinidad and Tobago from qualifying for the 1974 World Cup that was held in Germany. Still, they bounced back many years later to fulfill that dream.
Caribbean success and the Strike Squad’s hurtful defeat
Trinidad and Tobago couldn’t repeat their performances in the following three World Cup qualifiers, but they had a huge improvement at the end of the ‘80s, having promising results in different competitions.
The ‘Soca Warriors’ claimed their first major title in 1989 with the beginning of the Caribbean Cup, where they would later become the most successful team with eight championships.
That same year, the so-called ‘Strike Squad’ headed into an extremely important match against the United States for a spot in the 1990 World Cup to be played in Italy. Over 30,000 fans attended the highly-expected match, which finished in disappointment as the US claimed the win and Trinidad and Tobago’s qualification dream was finished. But their fortunes would change some years later.
2006 FIFA World Cup: Dreams come true
Trinidad and Tobago made history by becoming the smallest country to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. Dutch manager Leo Beenhakker and iconic figures such as Dwight Yorke and Russell Latapy led the ‘Soca Warriors’ to their first-ever World Cup appearance.
After finishing fourth in the final round of the Concacaf qualifying, Trinidad and Tobago faced Bahrain, to whom they defeated on the second leg after tying at home to secure a memorable World Cup spot.
Sweden, England, and Paraguay were their rivals in the highly-desired tournament, where they began with a goalless draw against Sweden, before losing by 2-0 against England and Paraguay. Their historic participation showed how far Trinidad and Tobago have gone up to that moment.
Dwight Yorke and the most famous ‘Soca Warriors’ players
Many Trinidadian players performed in the best teams at soccer’s elite level apart from representing the national team. Dwight Yorke is probably the greatest figure Trinidad and Tobago ever had.
The former attacker had a brilliant career in the English Premier League, where he scored 123 times, a record for a non-European foreign player that was broken by Sergio Agüero many years later. Yorke played more than 200 matches in his eight-year spell with Aston Villa before making the move to giants Manchester United, where he won six titles, including the Premier League and the Champions League, and he was named Premier League’s Player of the Season once.
Russel Latapy was another Trinadian icon who featured in the World Cup campaign alongside York to make history with their nation. He played as a midfielder mostly in Portugal’s soccer, where he even signed for Porto, and in Scotland.
The former forward Stern John built a remarkable career in which he performed for nine English sides in 10 years: Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City, Coventry City, Derby County, Sunderland, Southampton, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, and Ipswich Town.
A Caribbean force among the best in the Concacaf
Even though Trinidad and Tobago couldn’t repeat the amazing campaign that took them to the 2006 World Cup, they always are a serious candidate in the Concacaf qualifiers, as they’ve become a regular in the final round, known as ‘The Hex’.
Moreover, the ‘Soca Warriors’ have also reached the Gold Cup quarter-finals twice, and they are constantly pushing to go further in this tournament. And they proved to be a tough team to face, no matter what their latest form is. Trinidad and Tobago showed that when they left the United States Men’s National Soccer Team out of Russia 2018, in the last match of the Qualifiers.
The USMNT only needed a point in that game to secure a place in the next World Cup. Soca Warriors’ form wasn’t the best, and it seemed like the US were positive that they wouldn’t fail to accomplish the goal. The hosts proved them wrong, though, and claimed the victory by 2-1, which alongside to Panama’s and Honduras’ wins, ended a streak of seven consecutive World Cup appearances for the United States team. Trinidad and Tobago showed they shouldn’t be underestimated, and took revenge from the famous clash of 1989.
BOL arrives to boost Trinidad and Tobago
The successful Trinidad and Tobago’s soccer national team will have a necessary boost with the partnership signed with BOL. Both join forces in a deal that promises to be very important for pushing the team to the next level.
BOL will provide the official game jerseys for a new Trinidad and Tobago, whose uniforms are going to be unlike anything seen before. The special jerseys designed by BOL will be released later this year, and they will also be available to purchase them anywhere in the world in the online store bolfootball.com. Find out more about BOL in their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
This is going to be a new, refreshing journey for Trinidad and Tobago, who already had a clear growth in the world of soccer ever since they joined Concacaf and FIFA almost 60 years ago. They became a top team from the region, qualifying for a World Cup, winning eight Caribbean Cups, finishing as runners-up in a Concacaf Championship, and third in two Gold Cups.
From now on, BOL joins the Trinidad and Tobago history looking to bring a new opportunity for them, expanding their brand in the world, reaching new places, and pushing together for higher goals.