Shivanni: A Leader in Soccer at 13

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

AT just 13-years-old, Shivanni Saroop is already a football leader.

Born to a Trinidadian father and a Canadian mother, Saroop who lives in  New York will be representing Trinidad and Tobago for the first time in an international football competition.

She was selected to be part of the Under-14 National Girls Football Team and is currently in Antigua anticipating her first game this weekend.

The Trinidad and Tobago team will be competing against 19 other countries in the 2023 Caribbean Football Union Girls U-14 Challenge Series.

The ninth grader at Roslyn High School in New York sent a video demo of herself to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) last year and was selected for the local under-16 girls national football team, her father Shawn Saroop told AZP News via WhatsApp.

He said, “Due to her age and talent, they felt she would be a good prospect for the Under-14 team.”

Shivanni has two younger sisters, 11 and ten to whom she is an inspiration. In America, they call it soccer.

Shawn Saroop said, “They are really inspired by what she has done. She is really nurturing as a big sister and she puts in a lot of hard work.”

She also helps train kindergarten children in football. She has been playing since five years.

Along with his job as head of technology with Excellence Community Schools, which oversees 13 schools, Saroop is also the director of soccer for the Nassau County, Police Athletic League, (NCPAL).

He told AZP News that Shivanni helps him and also trains kindergarten children.

Her football career started recreationally with Rockville Center Soccer (former home of US Women team player Crystal Dunn).

Then she went on to play 1st division football with East Meadow Soccer Club and was now the captain of the NY Surf G2009 National team playing in the Elite Development Program (EDP) soccer league competing against teams in the northeast US states.

Shawn Saroop said, “In the past, she has helped her teams top their respective leagues, play in finals of the New York State Cup, beat other clubs in top tournaments such as FC Stars Cup, DELCO Tournament, Richmond Strikers Cup, SUSA Fall Tournament and SC Del Sol PDT in Arizona.

Shivanni Saroop in action

“More recently she has helped former school-Bronx Community School for Excellence to win the Charter School Athletic Association (CSAA) Co-Ed Soccer championship.  She was awarded the team MVP for the season,” her proud father said.

Saroop left New York for Antigua on Saturday as Trinidad and Tobago battle their first game against Puerto Rico.

For the CFU Challenge this year in Antigua, the 20 teams were divided into two tiers (Tier I & II) with 14 national teams from around the Caribbean competing in Tier II and six teams will battle in Tier I for the coveted Challenge Series trophy.  

Trinidad and Tobago was placed in Tier 1 with the main opponents being Puerto Rico and Jamaica.

All games will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

The Trinidad and Tobago roster from the TTFA website:

  • Akeila Marryshow, Goalkeeper, Gasparillo Youths;
  • Amara Bhagan, Goalkeeper, Cox Coaching School;
  • Hackeemar Goodridge, Midfielder, Trendsetter Hawks;
  • Jayda Herbert, Forward, Trendsetter Hawks;
  • Lexi Sankersingh, Midfielder, Queen’s Park Cricket Club;
  • Mikalah Guerero, Midfielder, South Stars Princes Town;
    Timera Ottley, Defender, Fyzabad United;
  • Shakila Hamilton, Midfielder, South Stars Princes Town;
  • Jessica Nesbitt, Defender, Eastern Counties United;
  • Taya Williams, Forward, San Juan Jabloteh;
  • Daniella Paul, Defender, Gasparillo Youths;
  • Kimani Wallace, Defender, Jewels Sports Club;
  • Mia Lee Chong, Midfielder,Tampa Bay United (US);
  • Onesha Gregouir, Forward, Jewels Sports Club;
  • Naima Julius, Defender, Diego Central United;
  • Shivanni Saroop, Midfielder, NY Surf Soccer Club;
  • Arielle Villaruel, Defender, Eastern Counties United;
  • Scarlett Cole,Forward, Pro Series;
  • Zyesha Potts, Midfielder, Jewels Sports Club;
  • Gyasi Lewis,Forward, Combined Ballerz Academy.

Marlon Charles (Head Coach), Afiyah Matthias (Assistant Coach), Ricarda Nelson (Manager), Natalie Harper (Kit Manager), Cristal Bernard (Team Doctor), Kiren Johnson (Team Medic)


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