The Home of Caribbean Football talked to Louis Moss about his passion for Barbados, scoring on his debut for Wrexham and eventful bus journeys in the Caribbean Cup…
When not working for his family’s jewellery business ChloBo Jewellery, Louis Moss is playing semi-professional football with Runcorn Town, who he put pen to paper with in February earlier this year. And for the Barbados national team, whenever the opportunity arises.
Moss was born in the English city Chester – close to the border with Wales – but qualifies to play for Barbados through his mother, who is from St. Peter, north of the island. His father hails from the Wirral and Moss’s parents met in Barbados before moving to Cheshire.
The 24-year-old has been a part of the Bajan setup for just under a decade having worked his way up from the U-15s to seniors, who he first appeared for in 2014 World Cup qualifying. He first burst onto the scene at U-15 level, scoring four goals in a 5-0 victory over Guyana at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad.
“I love Barbados and see it as home,” Moss tells The Home of Caribbean Football. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you the first time I visited as I would have been just a baby! I tend to go over four or five times a year.”
Moss was recruited by Wrexham’s academy at the age of nine and spent ten years there, learning from “some really great coaches” who helped him rise through the ranks. He made a dream start in the first team, scoring on his debut against Luton Town whilst still a teenager: “[That was] maybe my best moment in football, it doesn’t get much better than scoring on your debut. It was a great moment for me as I was only 18 at the time. We should have won that game but Luton scored a dubious penalty to take away my glory in the 90th minute.”
A hard-working, versatile player who has a strong left foot and can pose a threat taking set-pieces, he played one more season after that debut goal and left at a time when Wrexham were going through a very tough financial situation. His father, Geoff, was the club’s owner and had to put the club up for sale with players not being paid on time.
A chance came about to play in the United States as a family friend who used to work for Liverpool’s academy was working as a coach in LA California and reached out to Moss. He signed a short-term deal with Ventura County Fusion in the American fourth tier. “It was probably two years too early for me at the time,” he says. “I had just left Wrexham and was still a teenager so struggled to adapt. Saying that, I had a great three months, the lifestyle was brilliant and I made some lifelong friends.”
A stint with Vauxhall Motors followed but Moss wasn’t there very long. He joined Colwyn Bay along with his brother, Ed, at the beginning of the 2013/14 season and it is in northern Wales that he enjoyed his best form: “Colwyn Bay is a great club where I played consistently for two seasons in the Conference North. We had two different teams in two different seasons and a good manager in Frank Sinclair [former Jamaica international]. After he resigned our decline started and we were relegated on the last day of the season on goal difference. I still look out for their results now even though they have been relegated again since my departure. A really good club with good people.”
A string of impressive performances during his first season for Colwyn Bay coincided with a return to the Barbados national team, his first call-up in three years. He had featured in three out of six games throughout the second round of 2014 World Cup qualifying in a group consisting of Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Bermuda and was invited back into the fold for Caribbean Cup second round fixtures against hosts Haiti, French Guiana and St Kitts & Nevis. The Tridents picked up three points versus St Kitts & Nevis in their opener but succumbed to defeats in their following two matches and were subsequently eliminated. “It was great to be back and I thought I was one of our best players,” he says. “Playing in Haiti was very eye-opening! Our trips from the hotel to the Stade Sylvio Cator were interesting to say the least…I think we all feared for our lives as the roads were nearly as bad as our driver who thought because we had a police escort he could become Lewis Hamilton with a big bus full. That’s a memory that sticks out for sure.”
Moss was very much looking forward to appearing in his country’s first qualifier on the road to Russia 2018 against the US Virgin Islands yet in a training session just a few days before the first leg, he tore his Achilles tendon, an injury which Moss calls “a nightmare“. Barbados lost 1-0 on home soil before redeeming themselves by winning 4-0 in the second leg. They overcame Aruba in the next round but were disqualified from World Cup qualifying by FIFA due to fielding an ineligible player in Hadan Holligan who played and scored in the second leg despite being suspended.
Having missed out completely on the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, Moss was eager to get back playing for his country in this year’s Caribbean Cup qualifiers which kicked off in March 2016. He helped his team to a very impressive 1-0 win over Curacao in Bridgetown to get off to a fantastic start; six days later, though, they were beaten 2-0 by the Dominican Republic and ended up missing out on advancement to the next round on goal difference. That was a bitter pill to swallow for Moss’ side as they had worked so hard initially to beat Curacao. If they had gone through, they would have faced Guyana in their first game – the same country that Moss made his senior debut against as a teenager at Wrexham.
A couple of months ago, Moss was recruited on a short-term contract by Runcorn Town who compete in the Hallmark Security League in the lower echelons of English football. He has only managed three games, though, due to a persistent groin injury which has disrupted his progress since signing. It remains to be seen whether he will continue at Runcorn at the end of this campaign or seek a fresh challenge elsewhere.
The Windward Islands Men’s Championship is slated for next month and Barbados are expected to be involved for the first time since 1995 when they were guests, according to the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Moss is unlikely to play any part. “I was hoping so but my groin has set me back and I will have to recover very quickly to be involved. It will be a big disappointment but I’m sure it won’t be the end.”
With the proposed League of Nations reportedly going to kick off next year, Barbados along with many other Caribbean countries will likely benefit from greater amount of games against CONCACAF opposition. “We can be as good as anyone on our day, this current squad is hard working and there’s lots of talented players,” he insists. “It’s the best it’s been since I’ve been involved so who knows. Our ambitions are high so let’s go for it!“
By Nathan Carr
Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave any constructive feedback in the comments box below. You can check out the ‘Caribbeans In Europe’ page here. Big up to Louis for answering my questions, you can follow him on Twitter here. Meanwhile, you can get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.