List of TT Pro League seasons

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Digicel Pro League
TT Pro League.png
Country Trinidad and Tobago
Confederation CONCACAF
Founded 5 January 1999; 15 years ago (1999-01-05)[1]
First season 1999
Number of teams 9
Levels on pyramid 1
International cup(s) CONCACAF Champions League
CFU Club Championship
Current champions W Connection
(2013–14, 5th title)
Most championships W Connection (5 titles)
Top goalscorer Kerry Baptiste (122 goals)
2014–15 TT Pro League

The TT Pro League (formerly known as the Professional Football League) is the Trinidad and Tobago professional league for association football clubs. The league serves as the top division in the Trinidad and Tobago football league system and is the country's primary football competition. Contested by nine clubs, the league is one of the world's few football leagues that does not operate on an automatic system of promotion and relegation. Seasons run from September to May, with teams playing 24 games each, totaling 108 games in the season. Most games are played in the evenings of Fridays (Super Fridays) and Saturdays (Fiesta Saturdays), with a few games played during weekday evenings. The league is currently sponsored by Digicel and thus officially known as the Digicel Pro League.[2]

The Professional Football League, forerunner to the current TT Pro League, was inaugurated on 5 January 1999 as part of a need for a professional league to strengthen the country's national team and improve the development of domestic players.[1] The league lasted three years until a decision composed of club owners in March 2002 to cease league operations of the Professional Football League. Consequently, the TT Pro League was born as the country's new professional league operating as a corporation owned by the member clubs.[3] Teams competing in the Pro League may qualify for the CFU Club Championship on virtue of league positions. In addition, the top three Caribbean clubs enter the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. There is no automatic promotion to the Pro League from the country's second-tier National Super League. The league's club members vote to determine which, if any, applications for admission into the league will be permitted. Preference is given to the Super League champion. Since the inaugural season in 1999, 21 distinct teams have competed in the Pro League.

Five clubs have won the title: W Connection (5 times), San Juan Jabloteh (4), Defence Force (3), Joe Public (2), and North East Stars (1) with W Connection being the first team to win consecutive titles (2000 to 2001).[4] The record number of points accumulated by a team is 92 over 36 games by San Juan Jabloteh, who won the Pro League in 2003–04. At the other end of the scale, Tobago United remains the only club to have lost every game in a season during 2004. Tobago United also holds the record for the fewest goals scored in a season, having scored just 13 in the same season. San Juan Jabloteh hold the record for the most goals scored, with 113 during the 2003–04 season. Fourteen top goalscorers from seven different teams have been awarded the Golden Boot. Arnold Dwarika scored 45 goals in a 28 game season – the most in a Pro League season, while Jerren Nixon scored 37 in a 26 game season in 2004. Randolph Jerome was the first international player to win the award in 2003–04 having scored 28 goals in 36 matches.

History[edit]

For more details on this topic, see History of the TT Pro League.

Champions[edit]

In the inaugural season of the Professional Football League, Defence Force continued a theme set in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, which saw the club win a record twentieth league championship. W Connection earned the club's first two titles when the Savonetta Boys won the league in consecutive years in 2000 and 2001. In fact, W Connection became the first Pro League club to complete the league and cup double in 2000. However, San Juan Jabloteh ended the possibility of a three-peat when the club finished three points clear of W Connection to win their first league championship in 2002. Jabloteh successfully retained the title in 2003–04, having finished 12 points ahead of W Connection in the second successive season. North East Stars ended the San Juan Kings' Pro League reign having finished top during the regular season and gained enough points during the Pro League's inaugural Big Six competition to secure the club's first championship in 2004.[4] After finishing second in three consecutive seasons, W Connection won its third Pro League title in 2005 by finishing 15 points clear of San Juan Jabloteh. The 2006 season saw the closest finish in Pro League history with Joe Public claiming the title by superior goal difference over W Connection after the two teams ended equal on points. The league championship title came down to the last match day of the season. W Connection needed a win by at least three goals against Joe Public to win the championship. However, with a 3–1 victory to W Connection the title went to the Eastern Lions. The championship marked Joe Public's first Pro League title and second league championship overall.

San Juan Jabloteh reclaimed the Pro League title in 2007 after finishing first following the regular season by one point over Caledonia AIA. The Men from Morvant only earned one point during the Pro League Big Six to give the San Juan Kings a five-point title win. In 2008, San Juan Jabloteh and W Connection ran away with the regular season having finished 20 points clear of third place level at 61. Jabloteh and W Connection drew 0–0 in the final round of the Big Six competition to give Jabloteh their second consecutive title finishing two points ahead of W Connection in the final league table. Joe Public became the second Pro League club to complete the double in 2009, beating W Connection 3–2 in the 2009 FA Trophy final.[5]

On 25 March 2010, TT Pro League CEO Dexter Skeene announced that the Pro League Big Six competition was to be discontinued to increase attendances and importance of league matches, which would be moved exclusively to Fridays and Saturdays.[6] Furthermore, it was announced that by aligning Pro League seasons with those of the major leagues in Europe, the Pro League would afford the opportunity to further link culture with sport to harness and develop the talent of people in Trinidad and Tobago.[7] During the 2010–11 season, Defence Force won its first ten league matches in route to their second Pro League title and twenty-first league championship.[8] W Connection used a crushing 8–1 win over Police on the final match day of the 2011–12 season to claim their fourth Pro League title finishing one point clear of Pro League newcomer T&TEC.[9] Defence Force earned their second Pro League championship in three seasons and their third overall after securing the 2012–13 title. The following season, W Connection completed the club's second double with an emphatic 4–1 win over defending champions Defence Force in their next to last match.[10] The win marked the Savonetta Boys' fifth Pro League championship, which is the most for any club during the 15 years of the Pro League.

Expansion and contraction[edit]

Point Fortin Civic became the first club to be expelled from the Pro League after six players appeared for a match late in the inaugural season. Following the season, FUTGOF were also excluded since the club could not continue to maintain the standards set by the Professional Football League. Caledonia AIA and Arima Fire replaced the two clubs the following season. Prior to the 2002 season, Doc's Khelwalaas and Police did not follow the remaining six clubs into the newly established TT Pro League. As a result, two expansion clubs, North East Stars and South Starworld Strikers, were admitted to maintain league membership at eight.

No team was contracted from the TT Pro League after the league campaign in 2002. However, both South West Institute of Football based in Palo Seco and Tobago United from the sister isle of Tobago joined the league the following year. Joe Public were the first league champion to withdraw from the Pro League following the 2003–04 season. Although the club finished fifth in the table, the Eastern Lions withdrew from the league citing financial difficulties. South Starworld Strikers joined Joe Public a year later outside the top flight stating that the club would return after a year to resolve its financial obligations. Following the 2005 season, South Starworld Strikers returned to the Pro League alongside newly admitted Joe Public and Superstar Rangers from the National Super League. Rangers became the first club that were invited for admission into the Pro League from the second-tier of the league system. The 2006 season would again see South Starworld Strikers withdraw from the league. With the Strikers' departure the club became the first in the Pro League to withdraw from the league twice. However, with the inclusion of Police the league remained with ten clubs for 2007. This marked the first return to professional football for Police since 2001.

Following the 2007 season, Police withdrew from the league again as a result of commissioner Trevor Paul's directive to ban lawmen from participating in sporting activities.[11] Ma Pau became the next club to be admitted into the Pro League prior to the 2008 season. North East Stars withdrew from the Pro League following the season, citing the state of their home ground, Sangre Grande Recreational Ground, for the past few years as the cause to sit out the 2009 season.[12] Police were readmitted into the league following a one-year absence, whereas FC South End were admitted as a new club to replace North East Stars.[13] With an 8–0 loss to W Connection on 1 September 2009, Police became the first club in seven years besides Tobago United to finish bottom in the league. The club had a disappointing campaign having only recorded nine points with a -48 goal difference. On 8 January 2010, United Petrotrin announced that they had pulled the club from the Pro League.[14]

Starting lineup for Central FC, in their inaugural season, facing Defence Force in a league match on 9 November 2012

North East Stars were readmitted into the Pro League for the 2010–11 campaign following their one-year absence due to the state of their home ground.[15] In spite of maintaining its largest participation with 11 clubs competing for the second consecutive year, the league season was delayed for a month for rescheduling after Tobago United were expelled from the Pro League, leaving 10 teams.[16] Moreover, after the season had been concluded, CEO Dexter Skeene announced that Joe Public, Ma Pau, and FC South End would not be participating in the 2011–12 season.[17] This resulted in 2010–11 becoming the first season three clubs withdrew from the Pro League. Following a runners-up finish in 2009 and being crowned champions in the 2010 seasons, respectively, T&TEC became the third club to gain promotion from the National Super League on 1 March 2011.[18] Two months before the start of the 2012–13 season, Jabloteh announced that it had suspended its football club operations and would not be participating in the league season.[19] Central FC, a new club established by Brent Sancho to represent the Central region of the country, was formed, officially applied, and were admitted into the Pro League on 6 September 2012.[20][21]

After the 2012–13 season, however, T&TEC became the seventh team to withdrew from the league during a four-year period. The club cited that their financial struggles to support professional football contributed to their withdrawal. In response, the Pro League re-admitted Point Fortin Civic and San Juan Jabloteh on 10 September 2013 to increase league membership to nine.[22][23]

Top goalscorer[edit]

Peter Byers became the fifth foreign player to win the Golden Boot in 2007

The top goalscorer in the TT Pro League at the end of each season is awarded the Golden Boot. The first recipient was Arnold Dwarika of Joe Public, who scored a league record 45 goals in 28 games during the league's inaugural season.[24] Jason Scotland became the second Trinidadian to claim the award with 22 goals for Defence Force in 2000. Due to a shortened league season, the Golden Boot winner for the 2001 season is unknown. Sean Julien of South Starworld Strikers scored 16 goals in 28 games for the club in 2002 to win the award. In the 2003–04 season, Randolph Jerome (Guyana) of North East Stars became the first foreign player to win the Golden Boot with 28 goals from 36 games. Jerren Nixon scored an impressive 37 goals in 26 matches in 2004 to help North East Stars to their first Pro League title. Gefferson and Earl Jean both of W Connection were the joint recipients of the Golden Boot the following season, with 14 goals apiece. In 2006, the award was again shared between Roen Nelson and Anthony Wolfe of Joe Public and San Juan Jabloteh, respectively, with both scorers finishing with 16 goals in 32 appearances.

In 2007, the award was given to Antiguan Peter Byers of San Juan Jabloteh, scoring 15 goals in 32 matches.[25] Devorn Jorsling of Defence Force picked up the prise a year later with 21 goals in 27 league matches.[26] During the 2009 season, Kerry Baptiste scored 35 goals in 25 games, including three hat-tricks to give his side Joe Public their second Pro League title.[27] Jorsling became the first player to win the Golden Boot twice after scoring 15 goals for Defence Force on their way to becoming league champions in 2010–11.[28] Richard Roy of Defence Force was the recipient in 2011–12 with 15 goals from 21 matches.[29] Jorsling claimed an unprecedented third Golden Boot award following the 2012–13 season after recording 21 goals from 21 matches for Defence Force.[30] In 2013–14, Marcus Joseph scored 16 goals to secure his first Golden Boot and propel Point Fortin Civic to a fourth place finish in the club's first year back in the Pro League.[31]

Seasons[edit]

Key
Bold
League champions won domestic double
Italics League champions won continental treble
  Season   Champions
(number of titles)
Caribbean
Club Championship
Withdrew from the
TT Pro League
Admitted to the
TT Pro League
Top goalscorer
Player(s) Goals
1999
Defence Force W Connection FUTGOF
Point Fortin Civic
Arima Fire
Caledonia AIA
Trinidad and Tobago Dwarika, ArnoldArnold Dwarika (Joe Public)
45
2000
W Connection Defence Force Trinidad and Tobago Scotland, JasonJason Scotland (Defence Force)
22
2001
W Connection (2) Doc's Khelwalaas
Police
North East Stars
South Starworld Strikers
Unknown
2002
San Juan Jabloteh W Connection South West Institute of Football
Tobago United
Trinidad and Tobago Julien, SeanSean Julien (South Starworld Strikers)
16
2003–04
San Juan Jabloteh (2) Joe Public Guyana Jerome, RandolphRandolph Jerome (North East Stars)
28
2004
North East Stars South Starworld Strikers Trinidad and Tobago Nixon, JerrenJerren Nixon (North East Stars)
37
2005
W Connection (3) San Juan Jabloteh Joe Public
South Starworld Strikers
Superstar Rangers
Brazil , GeffersonGefferson (W Connection)
14
Saint Lucia Jean, EarlEarl Jean (W Connection)
14
2006
Joe Public San Juan Jabloteh South Starworld Strikers Police Jamaica Nelson, RoenRoen Nelson (Joe Public)
16
Trinidad and Tobago Wolfe, AnthonyAnthony Wolfe (San Juan Jabloteh)
16
2007
San Juan Jabloteh (3) Joe Public Police Ma Pau Antigua and Barbuda Byers, PeterPeter Byers (San Juan Jabloteh)
15
2008
San Juan Jabloteh (4) W Connection North East Stars Police
FC South End
Trinidad and Tobago Jorsling, DevornDevorn Jorsling (Defence Force)
21
2009
Joe Public (2) San Juan Jabloteh United Petrotrin North East Stars Trinidad and Tobago Baptiste, KerryKerry Baptiste (Joe Public)
35
2010–11
Defence Force (2) Caledonia AIA Joe Public
Ma Pau
FC South End
Tobago United
T&TEC Trinidad and Tobago Jorsling, DevornDevorn Jorsling (Defence Force)
15
2011–12
W Connection (4) Caledonia AIA San Juan Jabloteh Central FC Trinidad and Tobago Roy, RichardRichard Roy (Defence Force)
15
2012–13
Defence Force (3) Caledonia AIA T&TEC Point Fortin Civic
San Juan Jabloteh
Trinidad and Tobago Jorsling, DevornDevorn Jorsling (Defence Force)
21
2013–14
W Connection (5) Central FC Trinidad and Tobago Joseph, MarcusMarcus Joseph (Point Fortin Civic)
16

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ a b "New Trinidad & Tobago professional league kicks off in March". CONCACAF.com. 5 January 1999. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pro League welcome new sponsors". Ian Prescott (T&T Express). 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-08-01. 
  3. ^ "FCD goes to Trinidad for Hislop Tribute Cup". FC Dallas Media Relations. 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Trinidad and Tobago - List of Champions". Radek Jelínekm, Hans Schöggl and RSSSF. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  5. ^ "Joe Public lifts 2009 FA Trophy in dramatic style". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  6. ^ "Skeene: No reason why new format shouldn't work". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  7. ^ "Season change for Pro League". Ian Prescott (T&T Express). 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Defence Force well positioned to lift League Title". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  9. ^ "W Connection lifts 2011-12 Digicel Pro League title in emphatic style". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2012-05-20. 
  10. ^ Randy Bando (7 May 2014). "Couva millionaire: W Connection wins the 2013-2014 Digicel Pro League crown". TTProLeague.com. Retrieved 7 May 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ma Pau to play in Pro League". Joel Bailey (T&T Newsday). 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  12. ^ Inshan Mohammed (2009-04-02). "North East Stars doubtful of 2009". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-08-22. 
  13. ^ Inshan Mohammed (2009-01-29). "Police return to Pro League". T&T Guardian. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  14. ^ "Petrotrin pull out from Pro League". Joel Bailey (T&T Newsday). 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  15. ^ "North East Stars return to Pro League". North East Stars Press Release. 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  16. ^ "Tobago United out of Pro League". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  17. ^ "Joe Public withdraws from T&T Pro League". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  18. ^ "T&TEC predicts smooth transition into Pro League". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  19. ^ "Financially starved Jabloteh pulls out of League". Randy Bando (TTProLeague.com). 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  20. ^ "Sancho launches Central FC". Central FC Media. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2012-07-25. 
  21. ^ "Central FC joins Pro League; Jabloteh misses out". Lasana Liburd (Wired868.com). 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  22. ^ Randy Bando (2013-09-11). "Point Fortin, Jabloteh among clubs to contest million $ Digicel Pro League". TTProLeague.com. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  23. ^ Lasana Liburd (2013-09-11). "Million dollar league: Pro League’s back with big pay-out and new teams". Wired868.com. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  24. ^ "Dwarika Drifts Towards Coaching". Trinidad and Tobago Football Association. 2013-01-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  25. ^ Inshan Mohammed (2009-04-24). "2007 Pro-League Fixtures". Archived from the original on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  26. ^ "2008 Pro-League Fixtures". Soca Warriors Online. 29 November 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  27. ^ "2009 Pro-League Fixtures". Soca Warriors Online. 2009-10-23. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  28. ^ "2010/11 - Pro League, Season Stats Goal". Soca Warriors Online. 2010-04-24. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  29. ^ "2011/12 Pro League Fixtures". Soca Warriors Online. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2012-06-18. 
  30. ^ Inshan Mohammed. "2012/13 Pro League Fixtures". Archived from the original on 2013-06-02. 
  31. ^ Lasana Liburd (20 May 2014). "Marcus takes scoring title as Point Fortin closes on high note". Wired868.com. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 

External links[edit]