In Trinidad and Tobago, “soccer is everywhere, from the streets to the Queen’s Park Savannah,” said Adrian Foncette, a goalkeeper for the national team, the Soca Warriors. He grew up playing soccer in his hometown, La Horquetta, and in Cascade, where he spent time with his grandmother in a home on Foncette Road, named for their family. The game – and the position of goalkeeper, specifically – are in Foncette’s blood: His father was a goalkeeper, and his cousins all play that position on local teams.
Soccer linked Foncette closely with family and tradition, but the sport also afforded him a University at Albany education. Though his enrollment was delayed a year when a car accident nearly cost him his left arm, he was able to play again after undergoing six surgeries. Scouted by Johan Aarnio, head coach of the men’s soccer program, and offered a full scholarship, Foncette enrolled in 2008 to study economics and business administration. He recalled his experience at UAlbany as “the best four years of my life.”
Added Foncette, who started as first-string goalkeeper during his sophomore year: “The UAlbany soccer program was a professional one and pointed me in the direction in which I wanted to go. The staff – Coach Aarnio, R.J. Bevers, Anthony Benyarko, Jason Ramundo, Trevor Gorman, just to name a few – all helped me along the way. I’m very grateful to them all.”
Two years after graduation, Foncette received a call from the Soca Warriors. He joined the team in 2014 and currently plays third-string goalkeeper. Last Oct. 10, on his 29th birthday, Foncette played one of his first World Cup qualifying games. Trinidad and Tobago defeated the U.S. 2-1.
The victory was an important one “for me and the team, but also the entire country,” Foncette noted, recalling that, in 1989, a U.S. win kept Trinidad and Tobago from competing in the World Cup. Foncette, his teammates, and their fellow citizens saw last fall’s victory as revenge for the 1989 loss.
Eventually, Foncette plans to try to secure a contract to play abroad, either in the U.S. or in Europe, but for now, he’s focusing on his home country. “My plans for the future are to stay healthy, keep fit, and keep playing regularly while putting Trinidad and Tobago back on the map by playing at a high level,”