Women's football in Trindad and Tobago took an eventful turn in the last eight weeks. Fans of the women's game were able for the first time to witness the first women's league where paid professionals would take to the field when the Women's Premier League (WPL) kicked off on 18th June at the St James Barracks.
A lot of the final product however, was a result of the work of the Brazil Link Company. The Brazil Link, or TBL was the brainchild of Narada Wilson and Cy Padmore three years ago. The company is based in Brazil, but also has a branch in Barataria where they have been operating during the entire duration of this year's inaugural WPL.
The company mainly deals with cultural exchanges between South America, mainly Brazil and Trinidad. Two years ago, they split the company into three sub sectors which are education, travel and sport. It was their sports segment that was the busiest in the past six months, as they were called into action to recruit players.
"The Minister had a vision to have a professional league for women," said Narada Wilson the company's sports executive.
"They were looking for about 40 internationals, and we put forward a proposal to bring 20-22 players from South and North America."
Despite the league being a platform to help develop the game of the national players, there also needed to be a foreign presence in the league to help raise the standard of competition.
TBL recognised that, and were on board to facilitate the influx of Latin American players.
"T&T is not yet at the stage to have a pro league with six teams made up of all local players," he said.
He also agreed with the general feeling that the foreigners would raise the profile and standard of the league.
"The reality is: if we don't have the standard in Trinidad, the only way to get the standard is to bring in foreigners so that the others could see and learn by example."
The company dug into their South American resources and were able to bring across the best players who were not at the Women's World Cup, which was taking place in Canada around the time the WPL had finally kicked off. These players included the Brazilians, who were mostly national U-20 players and a few former national senior team selects, players from Paraguay as well as Colombia, and even players from North America.
"I worked at the Copa Libertadores in 2012, as well as the FIFA World Cup Organising Committee in Pernambuco for three years," he said.
"I had access to different clubs and players, so I went speaking to different clubs and players about coming to the league."
Part of their negotiations were player contracts and salaries.
"They offered what the salaries would be. If we had difference in salaries in terms of a player being a higher calibre, or their clubs paying a higher fee, we decided we would cover the difference in order for the player to still come."
Despite the reservations of the media, as well as organisational issues along the way, the inaugural WPL came to a climactic end on July 30th and was generally well-received by the general public.
Wilson is already looking forward to the future where local women's football is concerned. According to the Minister of Sport Brent Sancho, the WPL has already been sanctioned to continue for three more years.
"The time-frame for the WPL is perfect," he said.
"University players are on break as well as players from South America, the US and England, who will all have their off-season breaks."
Wilson said that the WPL should go back to it's originially-carded three-month season next year, as it would allow them to bring in more professionals, and more corporate stakeholders would be able to get involved as well.
Locally, TBL are involved in athlete representation, player management and taking care of the off-the-field side of the game. They currently have on board women warriors Lauryn Hutchinson, and Akheela Mollon, as well as Zane Coker, the starting keeper for the beach football team and Ryan Augustine the team's captain.