The 32-year-old midfielder, who played for Caledonia AIA last season (he transferred to San Juan Jabloteh during January), admitted that he felt “speechless” when the announcement was made.
“Getting an award like this, playing a team sport, being recognised individually, it just feels great,” said the dreadlocked, soft-spoken Oliver.
Oliver, who only spent a year with Caledonia before moving to the Pro League kings, humbly said, “It’s a team sport. (People) don’t tend to focus on individual awards.” When asked if he was expecting the trophy and a Toyota Yaris vehicle, which was on offer for the first time in the League’s history, Oliver replied, “To be honest, maybe yes, maybe no. “With the ups and downs you have sometimes, with the administrative part of it in the country, with being left out of the national team, it makes me feel good to see that I’m being recognised for my accomplishments individually,” he admitted.
Oliver, who got his lone national cap against Guadeloupe on February 6 at the Queen’s Park Oval, noted, “I’ve been trying to get on the national team for the past 15 years. I don’t know what more I might have to do. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
A resident of Bourg Mulatresse, Lower Santa Cruz, Oliver made it clear that he wants the award to be an inspiration to the youths, especially the underprivileged.
“This is great for me, for all the ghettos and communities in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said. “A guy like myself could come from nothing and accomplish this.
“I’m sending a message to all the youngsters in the country to stick hard at it and sports do pay.”
Oliver was also named as the Midfielder of the Year while his new striker at Jabloteh, Antiguan Peter Byers, took the Golden Boot (as the leading Goal-Scorer — 15) and the “Striker of the Year.”
“I got ‘Most Goals’ in my first season and I know this year will be much better,” said Byers. “It will be more goals from me.”
How many goals is he targeting this season? “In the 20s,” he replied. “I’ll be (aiming) high this season. I’ll work hard and I know, with my goal-scoring, I’ll be under pressure this season.”
How he felt in his first season in the Pro League? “My first season in Trinidad was good,” he responded. “I know it would have been harder than in Antigua but (the other teams) should watch out because I’ll be coming harder this season.” Another Jabloteh standout, Cleon John, was named as the “Goalkeeper of the Year” while W Connection’s captain Elijah Joseph took the Defender of the Year accolade.
HONOUR ROLL –
Under-13 Division: League winners - San Juan Jabloteh; Top Goalscorer and Most Valuable Player - Shackiel Henry (Petrotrin).
Under-15 Division: League winners - San Juan Jabloteh; Top Goalscorer and Most Valuable Player - Jerrel Britto (Jabloteh).
Under-17 Division: League winners- W Connection; Top Goalscorer - Kevon Durham (Rangers); Most Valuable Player - Jevaughn Vance (Joe Public).
Reserve Division: League winners - W Connection; Most Disciplined team - Petrotrin; Top Goalscorer and Most Valuable Player - Kerron Smith (W Connection).
Knockout Winners: Under-15 - W Connection; Under-17 - W Connection; Reserve League - Caledonia AIA; Pro Bowl - W Connection; First Citizens Cup - W Connection; Toyota Classic - Joe Public; Lucozade Sport Big Six - W Connection.
Referee of the Year - Neal Brizan.
Assistant Referee of the Year - Joseph Taylor.
Match Commissioner of the Year - Norris Ferguson.