CONCACAF Q&A: Cornelius Stewart (Trust and Care FC and St. Vincent & the Grenadines)

St. Vincent & the Grenadines international Cornelius Stewart, shown playing for Finland PS Kemi, has scored 13 career international goals (Photo courtesy of PS Kemi)

St. Vincent & the Grenadines international Cornelius Stewart has enjoyed an interesting career, playing club football in his country, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Finland and now the Maldives. The 27-year-old attacker scored one goal in helping SVG reach the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He took some time to speak to about his life as a footballer and the future of SVG football.

How old were you when you first started to play football?
I started to play football when I was about 8-years-old. However, I did not take it serious until I was 10. That was when I started to think of this as a career choice and since it was a passion of mine I stood with it.

Growing up, who did you look up to as a player?
I always admired former Vincentian player Marlon James growing up. He was a true professional, so I try to follow in his footsteps. The first time I saw him play was in a World Cup qualifier versus Mexico (in 2004). I was a ball boy at the time and I said to myself after that game that I want to play with him. Then, three years later, we were playing national team together and playing for the same club, the Vancouver Whitecaps. In a way, it was a dream come true for me in that respect. He is an icon of our country.

Which team or teams do you or did you support?
That would be Chelsea FC. They are one of the best teams in England and I admire how they approach football.

Did you always want to be an attacking player, whether it was a forward or attacking midfielder?
Yes, I always wanted to be an attacking player. I would say I was very skilful on the ball growing up and as I got older I got faster. Also, I like to score goals, so it is a passion and desire of mine.

What was it like making your debut for St. Vincent & the Grenadines in 2008 as a teenager?
I was nervous, but it was a blessing at the same time to play with some of the best players in St. Vincent & the Grenadines with the likes off Wesley Charles, Cornelius Huggins, Marlon James and many others.

You have scored 13 international goals. Do you think you can break Shandel Samuel’s SVG record of 50?
Honestly, I think that will be very difficult to beat. I don't think anyone is going to pass Shandel Samuel’s record…he was a goal machine.

What are your goals for 2017?
My goals for 2017 are just to stay healthy and play good football. I believe everything in time will fall into place. Whether it is a success of winning a trophy or a goals target, it will come in time for sure.

What advice do you have for youths who want to play football professionally?
My advice for the youth is just three simple things. I encourage them to work hard, believe in themselves and their talent, and surround themselves with positive people who will push you to do better and improve.

Outside of football what do you like to do for fun?
I like to play the FIFA (video) game. Some people say I have no life, but this is what I like to do (laughs).

With the likes of Oalex Anderson and Tevin Slater coming through would you say the future of SVG football is bright?
Yes, I must say we have some very promising footballers. I just hope they keep on the right path and, for sure, we will have a bright future in the years to come. Football in St. Vincent & the Grenadines is certainly on the rise again.