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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

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