It was a successful National Team call-up for the Crew's Kevan George, who joined the Trinidad and Tobago side for a three-match run in qualification for the 2014 Caribbean Cup. The Soca Warriors swept their way through a four-team, three-match qualifying group and earned the right to be in the eight-team 2014 Caribbean Cup taking place from November 10-17 in Jamaica.
George started the Soca Warriors' second of the three matches, a 2-0 victory against St. Lucia on October 10. In doing so, the Crew midfielder earned his eighth cap for his country.
"It was a great experience, definitely a different type of play," said George. "[St. Lucia] were very, very physical. Not necessarily the best soccer team, but they posed a different threat for us and for me as a player to experience a more physical game, which will help me moving forward."
Overall, Trinidad and Tobago defeated the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda by an aggregate score of 9-1.
In the 2014 Caribbean Cup, the Soca Warriors now have an opportunity to qualify for even higher-level tournaments down the line, including the new Copa America Centenario, to be held on American soil in 2016.
"It's a huge step in the right direction, because we've qualified for the next round," said George on what the three-match sweep meant for his nation. "If we finish in the [top four], we get automatic qualification for Gold Cup, and [winning] would be automatic qualification for the [Copa America Centenario]. That's very important. That will be great for our country, not only as a team but for the entire soccer nation back home."
Captained by Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones, the Soca Warriors' roster for qualification featured plenty of MLS influence. Beyond George, Carlyle Mitchell (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes) and Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC) all were in the team. George said that the League is gaining in notoriety in his home country.
"Everyone [in Trinidad and Tobago] is very familiar with MLS. A lot of people recognized that I play for Columbus Crew and who the other guys play for. It's a well-respected league. This previous trip, I really noticed that everyone is talking about MLS with the addition of the new teams and the bigger-name guys coming in.
"MLS has definitely grown leaps and bounds in the Caribbean as well."