Edwards heads to Turks and Caicos; aims to lift Fifa rankings

By Dwayne Richards
Observer writer

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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One of Jamaica's most promising young coaches is taking his expertise overseas.

Andrew Edwards, who was on the panel of Jamaica's coaches up to two years ago, will take up the position as technical director of football in Turks and Caicos, with a view to having a significant impact on the status of the game there.

Edwards began his coaching career in schoolboy football at his alma mater Titchfield High, but rose to prominence when he guided St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) to daCosta Cup glory in 2009. He then moved on to STETHS' main rivals, Munro College, before his last stop in the daCosta Cup saw him guide Manchester High to the quarter-final round last season.

The 43-year-old got his first national appointment as assistant coach of the Under-20 team in 2010 before being appointed as head coach of the Under-17 team from 2014-2017.

Before his appointment as head coach of the Under-17 team, Edwards studied in Germany, completing the International Trainer Course (ITK) in Football Specialisation.

Armed with a wealth of knowledge and experience, the trained teacher will take on a challenge that is likely to test all his knowledge of the beautiful game.

Turks and Caicos are currently ranked 207 on the Fifa Football list, so there is no illusion of the size of the task ahead, however, the University of the West Indies graduate has already set himself some clear objectives for the next two years, the length of his contract.

“I want to create a solid foundation for future successes, especially at the youth level by helping to develop a football philosophy and culture.

“I want to make the TCIFA recognised as a strong, technically effective FA through the performances of the various teams, coaching staff and coaching education, referees and also infrastructure.”

Having served as a lecturer at the JFF/JMMB/UTech Coaching School since 2014 and a Concacaf educator since 2015, the Portland native is familiar with how to impart knowledge to regional coaches and plans to make the most of this huge opportunity.

“It is a fantastic opportunity that fits my ambitions to impact football in the Caribbean at the youth level, in a way that raises our profile.

“When I was getting ready to return from Germany I wrote on paper that I would become technical director of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in 2018. That hasn't quite been the case, but this is a great place to launch my career as a 'TD' and I am eager to learn, grow and make a positive difference.”

A teacher and also a student of the game, Edwards is using the experience of another international coach as personal motivation on his latest quest.

“I am heartened by the fact that Andreas Vilas Boas, former Tottenham Hotspur Manager, was TD of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) before he became a top -flight coach. I am also delighted to have an opportunity to chart a course others may follow,” he said.

In addition to coaching at the schoolboy level, Edwards won the St Elizabeth Major League in 2012 with Appleton Estates FC and had stints with St George's Football Club from Portland and Axum from St Mary. He is also the founder of the Manchester-based Genesis Football Academy.

Jamaican coaches Omar Edwards, formerly of Tivoli Gardens FC, and former Reggae Boy Aaron Lawrence have also taken up two-year coaching contracts with the Turks and Caicos FA.

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