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JOHN Stern

08 June, 2006

JOHN Stern from Trinidad & Tobago.Yorke’s medal-laden club career may have seen him dominate the headlines in his homeland, but it is John who is his country’s all-time top scorer with 64 goals from 91 international appearances up to April this year.

Name:  JOHN Stern

Date of birth:  30 October 1976

Height:  180 cm

Weight:  84 kg

Position:  Forward

Current Club:  Coventry (ENG)

Int'l Goals:   65 (as of 4-Jun-2006)

Int'l Caps:  95 (as of 4-Jun-2006)

First Int'l Cap:  Trinidad & Tobago v. Finland (15-Feb-1995)

Detail:  Who would you imagine to be Trinidad and Tobago’s top marksman? Dwight Yorke, right? Wrong. That honour rests with Stern John, who, with 12 goals to his name in their 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign, appears to be T&T’s best hope of upsetting opposition defences in Germany.

Yorke’s medal-laden club career may have seen him dominate the headlines in his homeland, but it is John who is his country’s all-time top scorer with 64 goals from 91 international appearances up to April this year. The Coventry City striker was also the second highest scorer in the entire CONCACAF region in Germany 2006 qualifying, with his final tally just two short of the 14 claimed by Mexico’s Jared Borgetti.

Like T&T goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, John took his first tentative steps in the game in college soccer in the United States, before earning a move to Major League Soccer outfit Columbus Crew. There, he became one of the most prolific strikers in the fledgling league’s short history, netting 26 times in his first season in 1998 to finish top of the scoring charts.

This sudden and remarkable success captured the attention of England’s Nottingham Forest, whom he joined in 1999. John spent two and a half seasons at the City Ground before making a mid-season move to Birmingham City and scoring seven goals to help his new employers win promotion to the Premiership.

After five goals in 20 starts in the 2002/03 season, John gradually fell out of the first-team picture at Birmingham and dropped back down a division to join Coventry City in 2004. In his first season there John hit 14 goals and, after a brief spell on loan at Derby County, he continued to find the net regularly for the Sky Blues in 2005/06.

Of course, it is for his country that John has scaled the greatest heights in his career. To put his international tally into perspective, it compares favourably to the totals achieved by renowned greats of the game such as Gabriel Batistuta, Ronaldo, Bobby Charlton, and even the peerless Pele. His name may not have the lustre of some of those stars but T&T coach Leo Beenhakker says of his front man: “He is a fantastic player. Sometimes you play good, sometimes you don’t, but Stern is pure class.”

John, who began his international career as he intended to continue with a debut goal against Finland in 1995, knows that he will never have a better chance to show what he is capable of than on the world stage in June. And the prospect of playing against Group B opponents England, the country where he has spent so much of his career, is one to really whet the appetite. “If they underestimate us,” he warned, “we’ll turn them over.”


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