SEATTLE, Washington – When Jordy Delem learned of Club Franciscain’s 2-1 victory over Central FC in the playoff to qualify for the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF League, he felt a wave of joy wash over him.
“I was very happy for the club, for the players, everyone there at Club Franciscain,” said Delem in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
As a former Club Franciscain player who is now currently with the Seattle Sounders of MLS, Delem could fully understand and appreciate the scope of the Martinique club’s achievement.
It goes back to CONCACAF’s implementation of the Caribbean Club Shield, which is for clubs in Member Associations that do not have a professional or semi-professional league. Thanks to CONCACAF’s initiative, there is no a pathway for clubs from nations such as Martinique to qualify for a prestigious tournament like the SCL.
Club Franciscain did just that by winning the 2018 Caribbean Club Shield and then defeating Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC, the fourth-place team from the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship, to earn a spot in the 2018 SCL, where they will face Walter Ferretti of Nicaragua in the Round of 16.
Delem, who left Club Franciscain in 2016 to join the Seattle, hopes that his former teammates make the most of playing on the SCL’s big stage.
“I think it’s great that CONCACAF is giving a chance to these island clubs. For Club Franciscain, it is an opportunity to show their talent and get better by playing good teams in the region. All of the islands have talent and a lot of players want to be professionals. This helps with that,” said Delem.
The buzz on Martinique has been palpable ever since Club Franciscain’s qualification for the SCL. While it was a time to celebrate, it also marked the start of a long preparation process to host an official CONCACAF match, which Delem feels will benefit the club.
“I speak with friends and family every day. They are all happy and excited. It will be a lot of work but it will be good for the club and will help them in many ways,” said Delem.
It is not a stretch to say that in addition to representing the club and the nation of Martinique, that Club Franciscain will be representing clubs from all over the Caribbean in the SCL.
Delem thinks that can serve as inspiration for the Club Franciscain squad.
“They are playing for everybody from the islands. Perhaps that means there is more pressure on them, but I think it’s a positive thing for them to be the team that represents other Caribbean clubs,” concluded Delem.