Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley had arrived into Trinidad for the second time in his life to play soccer – what isn’t well know is that he easily could have been wearing the colors of the Soca Warriors.
Findley’s parents Rawle and Vanessa – are both natives of Port-of-Spain, having moved to New York in the early 70’s where they married and eventually had Robbie. After Findley’s soccer career became promising, a family friend arranged a tryout with the T&T U-21 team in December of 2005.
“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Findley. “It was good to get over here and see where my family grew up, and see a lot of aunts and uncles.”
While the soccer experience wasn’t memorable, the chance to see his parents’ roots has stuck with him.
“I had seen pictures, but to actually see it really opened my eyes. I visited the neighborhoods where my parents lived, and even saw the houses they grew up in. It was tough for them growing up here. There were a lot of people living in a small house, but they made it work. It made me realize how great we have it in the U.S. I’m very thankful for what I’ve been blessed with.”
And the emotions of coming back to the land of his heritage, this time wearing a U.S. jersey?
“It’s tough, but I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made. Hopefully I get chance to contribute Wednesday.”
Whatever the case, Robbie will certainly have supporters in the crowd since plenty of relatives still live in the area. Just as important as what they will bring to the game is what they will bring after.
“There is a local dish called Roti that I love. There are a bunch of different kinds. It’s basically a flour tortilla that can be rolled with things like chicken curry and potatoes. My aunt is going to bring me some for the trip home.”
With all the special memories and glimpses into his heritage, Robbie will indeed be heading home.