Commentary

Manswell picks Trinidad, Tobago and USF

Updated: November 6, 2008, 8:18 AM ET
By Sheldon Shealer | ESPNRISE.com

For many American youth soccer players, representing the red, white and blue would be an honor.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Manswell
Baltimore BaysMalcolm Manswell will play at South Florida next season.

Malcolm Manswell has chosen the red, white and black.

Manswell, a senior at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Md., and a member of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Baltimore Bays, has opted to play for his father's homeland -- Trinidad and Tobago -- in pursuit of the under-17 world championship. The 16-year-old also told ESPN RISE that he verbally committed to the University of South Florida on Monday.

"I liked the area, the weather, and the players and coaches were very friendly," said Manswell, who projects as a wide midfielder or attacking player.

It didn't hurt that Manswell was at USF this past weekend on an official visit when he saw the No. 11-ranked Bulls defeat Rutgers in the teams' Big East regular-season finale. Rutgers and Vermont were the other two schools of Manswell's final three choices.

Class of 2009 soccer prospects cannot officially sign with a university until the first week of February.

Manswell said he also was attracted to South Florida's program because three players who play the same position there will graduate this year.

Manswell said he was ready to commit during the trip.

"Coach [George Kiefer] told me to go back home, talk it over with my parents," Manswell said. "I made the decision Sunday, and I called him Monday morning."

This past summer, Manswell's stock soared during his performance at the Dallas Showcase. He was offered a spot on the Trinidad and Tobago under-17 team and is the only player on its 28-man roster who does not reside in the country. Manswell's father was born in Trinidad, so the younger Manswell is eligible to represent that country. He said that his family has made several trips there and that he was comfortable playing for the country. Interestingly, Trinidad has advanced to the next round of CONCACAF qualifying, where it could meet the United States.

Manswell has played four matches with Trinidad.

"If we play the U.S., that will be odd -- at first," he admitted. "I know so many of the guys."

Sheldon Shealer is the soccer editor of ESPNRISE.com. You can mail him here.