Why I stayed two nights at Jack Warner’s João Havelange Centre of Excellence


Back in April, I went to Trinidad and Tobago, stayed a couple of nights at the João Havelange Centre of Excellence (which FIFA paid for but Jack Warner owns), and spoke to a bunch of people about the ways that Warner helped and hurt soccer in the country. I interviewed journalists, players, and the current head coach of the national team, and I think the resulting mini documentary paints a pretty interesting picture.


One of the weirder things to come out of my reporting was a widely-held belief in Trinidad that the crucial 1989 USA-Trinidad qualifier — the one where Paul Caligiuri scored that famous, looping goal — was fixed. I had never heard this before, but a bunch of people in Trinidad believe it. I think it’s unlikely but not impossible. And it’s the possibility that it could be true is so tantalizing, so compelling, that I decided to include it in the doc. You’ll have to decide for yourself how credible you think these suspicions are. But before you write it off as a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, listen to what some Trinidadians — people I find quite credible — have to say. It wouldn’t be the craziest FIFA scandal, but for American soccer fans, it would hit closer to home than anything else we’ve heard so far.