Nathaniel James, centre, celebrates a goal for Club Sando last season in the TT Premier League. – TT Premier Football League
Trinidad and Tobago Premier Football league (TTPFL) top-scorer Nathaniel “Natty” James has joined his Soca Warriors teammate Kaile Auvray at Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions Mount Pleasant Football Academy.
James, 19, made his debut for the TT men’s football team in a friendly international versus Jamaica on March 12, 2023 at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The French-born Auvray also made his debut in that game.
James then turned out for TT in a friendly versus Guatemala on the eve of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup in June.
He scored 15 goals to lead the goal-scoring charts in the inaugural TTPFL season as Tiger Tanks Club Sando finished in third spot and qualified for the Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield tournament. Despite calls in many quarters for his inclusion, James was not named in national coach Angus Eve’s squad for the Gold Cup.
The talented attacker was drafted into the TT squad for the start of their 2023/24 Concacaf Nations League (CNL) A campaign though, and his impact was immediate. He came on as a late second-half substitute in TT’s opening CNL match versus Curacao at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on September 7 – scoring the team’s lone goal in a 1-0 win.
The La Horquetta resident dedicated his first TT international goal to his friend Kaylon Jacob, who was killed in their La Horquetta neighbourhood on July 22, 2022.
As James embarks on his new journey with the Jamaican champions, Club Sando director Eddison Dean is wishing him nothing but the best.
“We are very happy for James. This move will definitely help his career,” Dean told Newsday. “It’s all about the player’s future. This move could potentially open the door for other moves abroad and into Europe.”
Sando’s loss is now Mount Pleasant’s gain though, and the latter team’s general manager is happy to welcome their new TT recruits.
“These young Trinidad nationals, I think, can help us. They are both full of fire and ready to contribute to the forward movement of the organisation at the Concacaf level and beyond,” Mount Pleasant’s general manager Paul Christie told the Jamaica Gleaner. “It was a no-brainer for the organisation to make the decision to acquire their services.
“We are trying to develop, export and compete all at once. We are trying to do all three at the same time and still be very competitive at our core premier league level. We want to bring good quality football to the people of St Ann and, by extension, Jamaica and the Caribbean.”