- Deon McCaulay scored 11 goals in the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying for Brazil 2014
- He shared the record with Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands
- “It’s something that nobody thought was possible and for me to be in that category is something that will live with me for the rest of my life."
- McCaulay’s incredible goal haul started in the first match with a hat trick against Montserrat in the first leg in the first round of qualifying
MIAMI, Florida – When World Cup Qualifying for Brazil 2014 came to a conclusion, three men stood atop the worldwide scoring table with 11 goals.
Two of those players would go on to star in the tournament in Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands, but the third player, Deon McCaulay of Belize, was a man who only played in two rounds of WCQ, yet still left an indelible mark on the entire Concacaf region.
“In that time, it was Chelato from Honduras [Jose de la Paz Herrera] who was our coach. I think he brought a very attractive style of play and I think we had a good physical trainer as well, so they both did an excellent job in preparing us for those games,” said McCaulay in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“It’s an accomplishment that I didn’t even think was possible. I wasn’t thinking about setting any marks. I was in the best shape of my life. I was very focused on what I was doing and for me it is a joy to score goals and to help the team win. It’s a beautiful moment in my career that I can never forget,” added McCaulay.
When McCaulay reflects on the goal-scoring company that he kept during WCQ in Suarez and Van Persie, the FW admits that there is a sense of mixed emotions.
“It’s something that nobody thought was possible and for me to be in that category is something that will live with me for the rest of my life. I wish I had the opportunity to play on the stage that those guys played on, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Being from Belize, sometimes people don’t take Belizean players seriously, especially in Europe and in most parts of the world. It was mind-blowing to me that people didn’t give me that opportunity to showcase my talent at the highest level, even in MLS, but I’m happy that I made history,” said McCaulay.
McCaulay’s incredible goal haul started in the first match with a hat trick against Montserrat in the first leg in the first round of qualifying. He would add another goal in the second leg to complete the first round with four goals.
In the second round of qualifying, Belize were drawn into a group with Guatemala, Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. McCaulay would tack on another seven goals in the group, including goals in five of Belize’s six matches, giving McCaulay the outstanding achievement of at least one goal in seven of the eight WCQ matches in which he played.
“To know that I was that consistent is shocking to me. To hear it now is unbelievable. Over the years I have scored in almost every other game. I have 26 goals in 50-something games, so to hear that I was that consistent at scoring goals during that time, I would call it a dream come true,” said McCaulay.
Out of the 11 goals that he tallied during that WCQ cycle, McCaulay points to the one he scored at home against Guatemala in a 2-1 defeat in which he collected a pass and beat two Guatemalan defenders before firing into net as his personal favorite.
“It is definitely one of my favorites. Sometimes I play out of my mind, I play out of my soul. I don’t really even think about it, the game just comes to me. I know that whatever I need to do, I just do it. At that time, I was training really hard. At every practice I gave 100 percent and I kept my focus on playing,” said McCaulay.
McCaulay is set to embark on his fourth venture into Concacaf WCQ, and with the newly revised format for the first round, the 32-year-old is looking forward to getting a crack at four different opponents.
“I think the format is very good, we have more games. It all depends on us. Our opponents do matter, but at this point we have to be able to compete with whomever we get in our group and try to get out of the group,” said McCaulay.
In addition to staying fit ahead of WCQ, McCaulay currently spends his time as a coach for the Georgia Rush Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. McCaulay could definitely see himself in a coaching role once he hangs up his boots.
“I would love to be a coach. That’s what I’m doing now. I love to work with the kids and teach them different aspects of the game, so that is one of my passions,” said McCaulay.
While he is unsure how much longer his National Team career will last, McCaulay says it is imperative that the team’s youth help lead Belize forward.
“Hopefully the other players that are coming up take it seriously because it all starts with them. They need to be disciplined, consistent and put in the work. We don’t want to fall back to that situation when we were losing 8-0, 9-0 in 2007 when I started. We need a coach who selects players who can hold their own and it’s up to the Federation to make the right decisions and give the team a chance,” said McCaulay.
That is not to say that McCaulay is ready to step aside. In fact, just reflecting upon his previous goal-scoring successes is enough to stoke his competitive flame.
“It’s amazing to go over everything, the goals I scored, it touches my heart. It gives me a little bit more motivation going forward in thinking about all of the things that I did. I’m not one to brag, so I try to stay humble, but when people remind me of things, I say, ‘You know what? That was remarkable,’” concluded McCaulay.