A dream come true: St Lucia and Cavalier's shot-stopper Barclett eagerly awaits Concacaf Champions Cup kick off

By Sports Desk January 17, 2024
Vino Barclett Vino Barclett

It is always exciting when a club makes its debut on a stage which they long dreamed of. Such is the case of Jamaica Premier League outfit Cavalier, who is among the first-timers set to grace this year’s edition of the Concacaf Champions Cup, after they finished as runner-up in last year’s Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

Anchoring what is the youngest team in Jamaica’s top-flight league is goalkeeper Vino Barclett, who started all eight matches for Cavalier during the tournament, and made 28 saves, which assisted the Rudolph Speid-coached team to the Caribbean Cup showpiece.

Though they lost 0-3 on aggregate to Suriname’s Robinhood, their main objective was met, as their vision of playing against some of the best clubs in the Concacaf region, has come to fruition.

“It was a big achievement for a Jamaican club. We played in a knockout tournament domestically and got to the finals, we played in the domestic league and got to the finals and so getting to the Caribbean Cup final and qualifying for Champions Cup was another big achievement for us,” Barclett said in a recent interview with Concacaf.com.

“All of the players were deserving, we worked hard for it, the only thing we lacked was winning silverware,” he added.

While most of his Cavalier teammates are from Jamaica, Barclett is one of the team’s full-time international players, as he represents St Lucia on an even bigger stage. Giving his vast experience representing St Lucia in Concacaf Nations League, Barclett is not one to shy away from tough competition and, as such, is now eager to parade his skill in Concacaf’s premier club competition.

“Representing St Lucia on this stage is like a dream come true. I’m still a relatively young player, just 24 years old, I think I’m the only goalkeeper from St Lucia to have played in this tournament. It is a big achievement for me, and I want to show our amateur players back home that they can be on this big stage. I’m excited for the exposure and opportunity,” Barclett shared.

Cavalier’s Round One encounter will be against Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit FC Cincinnati, scheduled for February 22, and Barclett knows a sturdy challenge awaits as their opponents capped the 2023 MLS regular season with the best record.

“The preparation has been going up to standard, we have been putting in the work. In our domestic league in the last six games, we are unbeaten with five wins and one draw, so I think the team has prepared with full conviction. We know it won’t be easy game. We have to be focused in every second of the game, we cannot switch off. Our team has a good chemistry and in preparation for that game we are working very hard,” the agile goaltender said.

With Cavalier boasting so many young players, the 2024 Champions Cup represents the perfect platform on which a group of hungry players can demonstrate their skills to the world. It is also a chance to show everyone the strength of Jamaica’s domestic football.

“I would say this is the biggest moment of my career. I have been in finals, but this will be the biggest game of my career. This is a game that can be an opportunity for many of us. Maybe scouts see us and who knows where that might lead. Representing the Caribbean is a responsibility that we embrace, knowing that we are representing the Jamaican nation, so we will be relying on our fans in the home game,” Barclett ended.

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