TEACHER TO PLAY IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
A CHESHAM fitness instructor has swapped the classroom for the football pitch as he competes in a World Cup qualifier for Russia 2018.
Gavin James, who works as a health and fitness instructor for Aspire at Chiltern Skills and Enterprise Centre in Cameron Road, Chesham, will play the biggest game of his football career tomorrow (Fri) when his team, St Vincent and the Grenadines, take on the United States in the fourth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018.
Mr James’ team is in a group with the United States, Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago.
Each team plays each other home and away and the top two advance to fifth round, the hexagonal. The hexagonal is the final CONCACAF stage of qualifying for the World Cup.
Mr James, who worked at Chesham Grammar School last year as a PE technician, joined his squad in New York on Monday, November 2 to start their training for the upcoming games. They were based at the University Campus, which New York City FC also use and who they played a friendly against.
Tomorrow’s game against the USA at Busch Stadium, St Louis, will kick-off at 6.10pm, which is 12.10am British time.
Mr James, who also plays for Maidenhead United FC, said: “I am very excited at the prospect of potentially playing in front of 30,000 plus fans. It is the biggest game of my career to date, and maybe the biggest game I will ever play in.”
The team will then play a home leg against Guatemala on Tuesday, November 17 at 3pm local time at the Arnos Vale.
Mr James’s colleague Aaron Couch, who qualifies to play for St Vincent and the Grenadines through his grandfather, has also travelled to the USA for trials with the team.
Mr James originally received a trial after some conversations with the St VincentandtheGrenadines Football Federation via email after a successful season with Flackwell Heath FC Last season.
After a successful training camp he made the squad and started the first leg of round two against Guyana. He also appeared in the return leg.
He then appeared in both legs of the round three match against Aruba.
The Bucks New University graduate scored his first international goal in August in a friendly against Barbados.
Road to Russia: Gavin James