For 13 years, Antigua & Barbuda’s Peter Byers (pictured) has been one of the best forwards in the Caribbean. (Photo: Thaddeus Price)
Since his debut in 2004, Antigua & Barbuda has not only depended on Peter Byers for goals, but also to take the national team to the next competitive level. He has delivered consistently for 13 years, putting the Benna Boys in position to be counted among the Caribbean’s best.
The 31-year-old SAP FC standout has 38 international goals, some of them historic, including one at the United States in a qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has traveled the region at the club level, living a football life.
With Antigua & Barbuda advancing to the second round of 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup, Byers has more to accomplish, such as playing in his first CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He sat down with CONCACAF.com to talk about the past and, more importantly, the future.
If Antigua & Barbuda was to qualify for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, what would it mean to the nation?
Right now we are pushing hard for the Gold Cup. The past few years we’ve been close and a little bit short. This time around we’re going hard and going all out to make it to the Gold Cup.
Antigua & Barbuda seems to be close to joining the elite of Caribbean football. What needs to be done in order for that to happen?
As you know we’re pushing very hard so that Antigua can become one of the big teams in the Caribbean. We’re doing a lot of work and hopefully in the next few years we’ll be in the top five teams in the Caribbean.
What has been the highlight of your career with the national team?
It’s been very good playing for the national team in the past few years. I’ve really enjoyed it and I really hope I can help Antigua reach the Gold Cup before I finish playing for Antigua. I’d like the kids to look up and see how important it is to take Antigua further.
What has been the highlight of your career at the club level?
The biggest highlight was playing professionally for the (Montreal) Impact. I really enjoyed it. I’ve played in different places all over, but the Montreal Impact was a really nice place for me.
You scored against Joe Public FC for the Montreal Impact in the first-ever CONCACAF Champions League (2008/09). What do you remember about that goal?
First of all, my dad died before we played Joe Public, so that was a very important goal for me. I cherish that goal and talk about that one, also, because of my dad.
According to FIFA records, you have scored 10 goals in 21 all-time World Cup qualifiers. What was your most memorable WCQ goal and why?
The goal against the USA (on June 8, 2012). I came off the bench, got my chance and scored a goal. I think that’s one of the biggest goals I ever scored in my life, so it’s one I’ll always remember and talk about.
What motivates you as a player each day?
Football is not an easy sport, so working hard and getting to play places. You have to go there and push yourself and work as hard as you can to make sure you come out on top as a footballer.
If you could play with any player in the history of football, who would it be and why?
I’d want to play with Cristiano Ronaldo because watching Portugal and watching Real Madrid and watching Manchester (United), when he used to play with them, he’s a very good player. So if I get a chance to play with one player, I’d choose to play with him. He’s the guy I look up to all the time.
Has your game as a player changed over the years? If yes, how?
It’s changed over the years because from playing in Antigua growing up we play a different style to Trinidad. It’s a different style and in Montreal we played a different style. Every country I went to and played, it’s a different game they play, so it helps to get my game better.
What are your future goals in football?
I’m not sure about our next World Cup qualifying, so our goal right now is to get Antigua to the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup will be my World Cup. I can see us playing in that competition. My goal right now is to get Antigua to the Gold Cup and score a few goals.