T&T’s defender, Keston Julien will be the first footballer from these shores since Khaleem Hyland playing for Genk in 2011-2012 to feature in the UEFA Champions League for 2021-2022 season. His club Sheriff Tiraspol became the first club from Moldova to ever qualify for the Champions League.
“It was a really crazy feeling; our goal was to qualify for the Champions League group stage. People thought we couldn’t do it, but we got some new players and they motivated us.” Said an elated Julien in a TTFA media interview.
In the qualifying playoff matchup against Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, Sheriff Tiraspol drew 0-0 away in the second leg after a comprehensive 3-0 victory at home in Moldova days before. Julien is following in the footsteps of T&T players Dwight Yorke, Marvin Andrews, Russell Latapy and Hyland.
He continued, “Its every footballer dream to play in the Champions League and I’m just 22 years old, it happened at a young age in my life. I’m thankful, I do hope I can play in the group stage and show what I can do. Qualifying for the Champions League really opens up a lot of doors for the club.”
Debutante Sheriff will have a daunting task of qualifying from the group stage as they will be coming up against top European clubs Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Julien played for local club W. Connection and represented the twin-island Republic at youth level and has three senior team caps with his last outing being the unsuccessful 2022 World Cup Qualifiers campaign.
The left back believes this momentous occasion can propel the club to higher heights. He added, “People could recognize us more because we are a really top club. We have 18 training pitches; we have an indoor field. A really, really professional club.”