Williams keen to regain starting spot after injury layoff

After a year out of competitive football due to injury, Reggae Boy Dicoy Williams played 45 minutes for Toronto FC against Liverpool recently in a preseason game and cannot wait for more.

“That was the first real test I have had since my comeback and I can’t wait for more,” the 25-year-old six-footer told The Gleaner following his “satisfying” run out.

“I played five minutes against Houston (Dynamo) recently, but this 45 minutes against Liverpool I would say is my official comeback,” added Williams, who had featured in four reserve games and has been on the bench for a number of first team matches.

Williams expressed satisfaction with his performance.

“I feel good man. I feel like I put in a good shift, I got some tackles in and passed the ball around. I was not frightened because it was Liverpool that we were up against. It was a normal game for me,” said the player who had torn both his Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the Medial Collateral Ligament in his right knee while representing Jamaica against Guatemala in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Miami last year.

“I approached it like any other game. I wanted to prove to the coach that I am back, that my confidence is back and that I can give more than say five minutes,” the former Mona High School, Arnett Gardens and Harbour View player explained.

The right knee, Williams said, is sound and ready to handle the pounding on the football field.

“The knee feels good. It was strong and I got in some real tackles man. I am not worried about it anymore and went into the tackles without even thinking about it. People asked me about it afterwards, but I wasn’t concerned so you know that it is good,” added the man who can play anywhere across the backline.

Good measurement

The test (Liverpool) he got from the Jamaica-born Raheem Sterling he said was a good measurement of his recovery.

“He is very good and has plenty of skill and I kept pace with him and handled him well. He is the fastest player I have ever played against. He is young still and has more to learn, but he will be even better,” he said of Sterling.

Coming back was a major achievement for Williams.

“One of the biggest moments was getting back on the bench. Being out injured was hard. It was the first time that I got injured, but it wasn’t the injury itself that was the worst for me, it was the process of rehabilitation, the mental part of it and getting back to playing, but I got a lot of support and encouragement. Once one is over the mental part it is good,” a relieved Williams said.

Having achieved one of his objectives of getting back into competitive football, Williams said the next step is to get back into the Toronto FC first team. This he said will not be easy.

“I have been on the bench for a little while, but my objective is to get into the starting team. We have a new coach and are getting good results, so it would be difficult to get in now because a coach does not necessarily change a winning team and it is even more difficult for a defender.

“What will have to happen for me to get in right now is that one of the current starting defenders will have to get a card or an injury, but I am not wishing bad for anybody. I’m working really hard, but I know it will be difficult because everyone is doing well,” Williams said.

Williams believes that he is in good enough shape to be considered for the national squad, but knows that will only come after he gets back into the Toronto starting team.

“I feel like I am ready, but no one watches a player on the bench. If you are not playing it is very difficult to be considered for selection. Within myself I know I can do it, but I know for me to be considered I have to be playing and if there are other players playing then they would be considered ahead of me. But if there are no other choices then I am willing.

“I am always willing, but right now I am focused on getting back into this set-up and getting a 90-minute run. I would never want to be in a situation where I am not ready and short-change the country,” added Williams.

While he has been out of the Jamaican team, Williams said he has been keeping a track of what is happening and keeping in touch with coach Theodore Whitmore.

“I have been keeping track of the team. I watch the news every night and read the newspapers online. I also keep in touch with the coach and let him know what is happening with me. My teammates I keep in touch with through email, Facebook and BlackBerry messenger,” Williams revealed.

LONDON, England — When Noel Morris came to the United Kingdom as a nine-year-old boy, racism was so rampant the teachers at the all-white school he attended hastily pulled the Caucasian children from the swimming pool when he got in with them.

Fast-forward almost 50 years later and the man who still retains his Jamaican passport and dialect will always be known as one who helped to carry the Olympic Torch on its 8,000-mile stretch around Britain, as a reward for the contribution he has made to his adopted country.

“I am quite proud to have carried the torch, especially at the time of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary, and I am proud of my heritage,” a beaming Morris told the Jamaica Observer.

“I enjoy the fact that when I arrive home the immigration officer says, ‘Welcome home, Mr Morris,” he added.

Morris is also known for being one of three persons in Britain to have attained the sixth dan rank in judo.

Six months ago when he got a letter in the mail informing him that he was nominated and approved as a torch bearer, Morris, however, could not help reminiscing on the early days when he first migrated to this country.

Growing up in the then middle-class community of Harbour View in Kingston, Morris, who is affectionately called ‘Mo’, said it was very difficult to adjust when he first arrived in London.

“When we just came here it was very difficult because it was in the middle of winter and so everywhere looked grey and every house looked like a factory with smoke coming out of the chimney,” he recalled.

Added to that, he was the first black child in his school and this did not go down well with parents.

“The first time I went swimming the teachers took the kids out because they weren’t sure what would be the reaction of the parents and that was the last time I ever went swimming,” he said.

He recalled going home to ask his mother what the words ‘nigger’ and ‘spade’ meant as that was how he was addressed.

Although life got a bit better when he went to high school where there were other black students, and although he excelled in sports, his colour once again prevented him from attaining his utmost.

An excellent judo player who later went on to win nine national championships, Morris was initially sidelined for the national team.

“None of the black guys got selected for the national team because there was this great racial divide, and more so in sports,” he said.

This only started to change when the limited number of black athletes who had broken through the glass ceiling started to excel.

Determined to make his mark on the black community, Morris left a thriving music career managing some of Jamaica’s top reggae acts to establish a football academy.

He got the idea to start this academy when he discovered that a lot of the youth who were registering for a Sunday team he had started could barely read or write their names.

As such, he opted to use football as the carrot to get these young people to a facility where they could develop their sporting prowess as well as their academics.

“I discovered that there were a lot of good athletes between ages 16 and 20 who, once they left school, access to coaching and development stopped and so they ended up on the street getting into petty crimes and selling drugs,” he said.

This was how the LA (London Athletics) Raiders, which has since produced some 200 qualified coaches, was born. While many of the alumni are employed full-time in high schools, others are said to be working in the United States, Africa, Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

His dream is to establish a partnership with Jamaica where grassroot youth can be sent to participate in the programme at the academy.

“If you have 16-year-olds coming abroad to the academy they can go back as mentors in their neighbourhoods and that is one quick way of changing the ghetto mentality,” he said.

Morris now bemoans the fact that this generation of black children in Britain has lost attachment with their roots and has failed to recognise the struggles of the older generation to make things easier for them.

But Britain, he said, has come a long way in addressing racial issues and is now one of the most tolerant countries.

He, however, believes that more Jamaican parents should influence their children to identify with their heritage.

“A lot of kids born here don’t even want to go to Jamaica. If you ask them where they want to holiday they will say Spain or some place like that,” he said.

Morris said he tries to make it back to Jamaica as often as he can to see the only relative he has living there — his cousin Norwyn Gayle in his beloved Harbour View.

FORMER national goalkeeper and coach Donovan ‘DV’ Hayles, was officially named technical director of football at Kingston College (KC) yesterday.

Hayles, a KC old boy, was chosen from a group of other coaches to spearhead a revamped football programme at the school.

His duties will include the coordination of activities surrounding the Under-14 and Under-16 squads, as well as coaching and providing technical guidance to the senior (Under-19) squad, which will participate in the Corporate Area Manning Cup competition which begins next month.

Hayles replaces former KC and national footballer, Trevor ‘Jumpy’ Harris, who resigned as coach of the Manning Cup team on the grounds of “personal reasons and family commitments” last week.

Hayles, who formerly coached Harbour View Football Club to success in the National Premier League, is a former KC Manning Cup goalkeeper, who, like Harris, played for Harbour View Football Club and was a member of the Jamaica national football squad of the 1980s before a broken leg ruled him out of frequent national representation.

A rounded sportsman, Hayles also played Sunlight Cup cricket for KC.


“We welcome Donovan Hayles to take charge of the football programme at KC, and we thank Mr Harris for his support of KC over the years and wish him well in his future endeavours. The school’s choice was arrived at following consultation with its stakeholders,” said Everton Burrell, the institution’s acting principal.

“Mr Hayles will be full time at KC and will also participate in an ongoing mentorship programme. Our primary focus at KC is on academic work and Mr Hayles will be charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the boys who are involved in football must also perform to a high standard in their academic work,” Burrell explained.

“He will work closely with Sports Master Noel Channer, to whom he reports directly, in spearheading a drive that will lead to a resumption of the inter-form football competition at KC.”

Hayles said that he was looking forward to assisting with the football programme at his alma mater.

“I am excited and optimistic about the role that I have been asked to play,” Hayles said.

“There is a lot of raw talent at KC and I will do my best to ensure that those who want to represent the school can get the necessary technical support and at the same time ensure that they perform well in their academic work,” Hayles said.

KC, founded on April 16, 1925, won the Manning Cup football title 14 times.

Richard Edwards departed the island on Sunday, July 29 for a four weeks trial at Premier League Club Assyrianska, Sweden after scouts had been tracking his local Premier League season with “The Stars of the East” and the senior National Team.

His hard-nosed tackling, leadership and supreme work rate gained him the respect of his teammates and opponents, in the Reggae Boyz Teams in the last two years before earning 11 national senior caps, in May 2012 he went to Alpha United on Loan in Guyana, where we played the CFU Club Championship while winning the local Premier League before returning home three weeks ago.

This season he represented HVFC with up to 37 starts, 1 substitution scoring 1 goal, all in 3012 minutes of playing time, to help HVFC secure 6th position. He forged a reputable midfield quartet with other national players Jermaine Hue, Joel Senior, Romario Campbell or John-Ross Edwards.

His Coaches and Teammates voted him “Player of the Round 1” where he was awarded the Lucozade Most Outstanding Player cash prize of $10,000 and 5 cases of Lucozade Sports.

Jevaunne Benjamin’s 85th minute 24 yards deadball screamer, goes through the wall and knocks the stuffing out of the resilent defending Champions, Arnett Gardens FC who were looking to double after mastering the recently concluded Under 21 League where they won all 3 trophies on offer.

HVFC were off to a positive start as firm tackles and hard running goalwards highlighted the opening minutes by the young “Stars of the East” as they imposed their will on the more usually aggressive opponents.

Jorginho James, Rohan Royes, Benjamin and Taval Whittaker moved alertly to finish off attacking passes coming from midfielder, Kevaughn Frater along with assistance from central defenders, captain, Jhamie Hyde and Tazio Gilpin.

Benjamin came closest on 2 occasions but his final effort hit the side-netting twice as he penetrated the defensive line with speed and skill as the half ended 0-0, Arnett also responded through Javonne Simms who was held in check by Hyde and Gilpin, with little 17 year old Romario Atkinson at leftback working overtime.

Special congratulations to Coach Ludlow Bernard, who registered his fifth title following 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 following in the tradition of Donovan “DV” Hayles initial double in 1998 and 1999. Making it our unprecedented 7th Title KSAFA U20.

The team completed the league without senior National players, leftback Kemar “Taxi” Lawrence, injured defender Kemo Wallace, strikers, Romaine Lewis and Akeil Barrett who had to return to US College and on Loan in the USA Professional Developmental League (PDL) Damion “Chullups” Lowe who played a Final on Wednesday night before returning home last night.

The joyful squad hoisted the trophy after the game as they splashed Coach Bernard with water and made merry, to deserving applause from the good crowd at the UWI Mona Bowl. reach.

Harbour View FC’s Under 17 player, Jaheel Hyde flourished as he netted a hat-trick to guide Jamaica’s Under-17 footballers to an emphatic 5-0 victory over Bermuda in the opening Group One game of their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) World Cup qualifier last night at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium.

Hyde, the son of former national player and well-respected coach, Lenworth ‘Teacher’ Hyde, netted in the 15th, 28th and 61st minutes.
Captain Junior Flemmings (50th) and Michael Seaton (71st) were the other goalscorers for the Wendell Downswell-coached junior Reggae Boyz.

Hyde, a student of Wolmer’s Boys’ School, was very delighted with his achievement.

“I feel wonderful scoring three goals for the national team,” said Hyde.

“I went out there and I did my best because I worked hard and I never stop playing until the final whistle,” added Hyde, who stated that he is an admirer of Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie.

Downswell said he was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We are happy that we have made a positive start because it is our first game. There were some butterflies, but overall it was good that we scored five goals.

“This will put us in good stead for our second game against Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday and the youngsters are confident that they will come out victorious in the game,” Downswell added.

The Jamaicans made their intentions clear from the opening minutes when Flemmings collected a through pass from Ryan Miller inside the penalty box, but his shot went wide of the target.

The homesters were finally rewarded when Hyde fired home a spectacular 35-yard shot, which went between the hands of custodian Bell Detre.
The speedy and skilful Hyde netted his second goal when he slotted home from point-blank range past Bell.

He then completed his hat-trick 11 minutes into the second half with 20-yard free kick.

The competition continues today when Bermuda tackle Antigua and Barbuda at the same venue, starting at 6 p.m.

Of the four teams participating in this group, the top two will advance to the CONCACAF Finals in August.

Harbour View FC’s 15 year old player, Martin Davis who recently was invited for this tournament from a two year stint in Valencia , made his debut as the first substitute in minute 67, adding some spice to the proceedings as his neat footwork’s excited the large crowd on hand and just missed a goal opportunity 2 minutes after coming onto the pitch as he pulled his effort wide from inside the area.

He returned soon after to supply the lofted cross to the far post for Michael Seaton to head home in minute 71, after he won possession from a deflected corner-kick.

ARNETT Gardens and Harbour View will contest the final of the KSAFA U-20 Football League after victories over Cavalier and Seaview in their semi-finals on Sunday.

Favourites Arnett turned back their high-flying opponents, 4-1, at the Tony Spaulding Sport Complex to book their spot, while Harbour View topped Seaview, 2-0, at Seaview for their right to contest the decider.

In the feature game at Tony Spaulding, Vishinur Harris and Tamar Edwards scored braces for the home team. Edwards opened the scoring for Arnett three minutes into the second half and added his second five minutes later.

Harris got his first and Arnett’s third goal in the 57th, while Jason Wright pulled a goal back in the 76th for Cavalier.
Harris scored his second in time added to give his side a convincing win.

At Seaview, the hosts held the visitors scoreless until four minutes before the break when Rohan Roye gave Harbour View the lead.
Romario Osbourne sealed the win for the Ludlow Bernard-coached team when he scored in the 89th to put the game out of Seaview’s reach.

Last season the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) announced a new initiative to register all players on a world renowned global website database named SoccerAssociation, regarded as the popular reference site for FIFA agents, clubs, coaches and managers in all the leading football leagues worldwide.

Having successfully completed season one of this long-term initiative, the database now guarantees every single NPL player global visibility. In previous years, players who were not heavily involved with the national programme, the Reggae Boyz, had absolutely no international online database identity, and thus limited realistic chances of earning overseas opportunities.

Today, young players such as Romeo Parkes, Tremaine Stewart, Dino Williams, Mauricio Gordon, Cordel Simpson and Jeremy Lynch, just to name a few, benefitted from having outstanding profiles on the database. Some of them have been contacted and have gone on trials throughout the season initiated by international agents, primarily due to the exposure on SoccerAssociation.

Jamaican clubs now have an improved global profile, where international clubs can now correlate the success of individual Jamaican players abroad, with that of their local clubs.

“The global profile of the Premier League has no doubt been raised; as a Euro-based company we (Pro-Goals Sports, PGS) can attest to that, based on our interactions with club officials and agents. There is a distinct association factor; as it is generally believed that if the Premier League is covered by SoccerAssociation, then it will have more credibility,” said Romel Wallen, managing director.

This is why a handful of small national football associations have paid good money just to get their respective league data onto SoccerAssociation, in the hope of some kind of global credibility. Malta, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are examples of countries who have adopted this approach.

Naturally, it is impossible to quantify how much this new exposure will ultimately lead to profits, transfers, etc. However, it is certain local Premier League clubs and players can now creatively use this new exposure to source more international professional opportunities.

“For this it is helpful to see profile for the Jamaican players on the data-base, because this makes life much easier for speaking with clubs for these players. It is great that you now have this feature,” remarked Czech Republic/Poland/Germany-based agent Tomas Bahnik, who is now interested in the Jamaica football market.

“The site has been a tremendous assistance in the PLCA office as we are able to get a more accurate look at individual and collective data, therefore giving us more comfort in the preparation of our reports. It provides just the right support we need in office to correspond internationally,” noted the PLCA.

NATIONAL player and Bristol City defender Damion ‘Stew Peas’ Stewart yesterday presented a Western Sports gift certificate valued at $200,000 to Reverend Claude Ellis, acting principal of Ardenne High School.

The donation was to help facilitate the Ardenne’s Manning Cup team in its preparation for the schoolboy football competition later this year.

The 31-year-old Stewart, a past student and Manning Cup player at Ardenne, told the Jamaica Observer after making the presentation and just hours ahead of his departure for England where he is scheduled to begin his pre-season training at Championship outfit Bristol City that as a professional footballer, he thought it was his duty to give back to his alma marter.

“I’m a past student of Ardenne High School and I have to remember where I’m coming from, so I’m doing this in the hope that it may inspire some of these footballers here to strive to make football a professional career, like I have.

“I know it will not be easy, and everyone will not make it, so at the same time I would urge them to continue to pay keen attention to their academics, just in case they don’t make the transition to the professional leagues,” he said.

Stewart attended Ardenne between 1991 and 1997 and played on the Manning Cup team from 1995 to 1997.

He also turned out for local outfit Harbour View FC upon leaving school, helping the Stars of the East to the National Premier League title in 2000 and the Caribbea Football Union (CFU) Club Championship four years later.

Stewart joined Bradford in England in 2005, but his quality quickly saw Queen’s Park Rangers making a successful six-figure transfer bid.
AFter a successful stint, he joined Bristol on a three-year contract in July 2010, but went on loan until the end of the season in January.

Stewart, who turns 32 next month, played for the Jamaica U-20 and Ur-23 youth teams. He made his senior debut in 1999 against Ghana and played in the 2003, 2005 and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments and numerous World Cup qualification matches since.

Rev Ellis was thankful for the donation.

“We’re humbled by the gesture and appreciate that past students are willing to contribute to their alma mater. This contribution will go a far way in assisting us in our Manning Cup programme.”

A week away from hosting the Caribbean Qualifiers for the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship, Jamaican head coach Wendell Downswell is satisfied with the progress being made by his young charges.

“Things are going in the right perspective and I think the preparation has not been bad; it is satisfactory at this stage for this leg,” said Downswell.
Jamaica, who qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011, will host a three-team group involving Bermuda and Antigua and Barbuda in Kingston from July 11-15.

The Caribbean leg was scheduled to start yesterday with Cuba and Haiti hosting four-team groups. Trinidad and Tobago will also host a series from July 24-28.

The five group winners and the best second-placed team will advance to the final six-team Caribbean qualifiers, with the top three gaining spots to the CONCACAF Championship set for April 6-19, 2013.

Downswell, who has the distinction of being the most recent Jamaican coach to lead a team to a FIFA World Cup Finals, has been impressed with the current crop of players.

“We had an all-island trial and selected some players and brought them into camp for training. Then we entered into the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) U-20 competition with the Corporate Area team playing on Wednesday and the squad itself plays on weekends,” he noted.

“That was good in terms of the response from the players and we were able to expose a large volume and the technical staff had a good opportunity to look at them under match condition,” added Downswell.

The young Reggae Boyz, playing among players two to three years older, have won seven of their 10 games so far. They drew twice, with their only defeat coming against Harbour View.

“In terms of the competition, it served as a catalyst for our competition going forward. Overall, the exercise was good for… the youngsters, although there were challenges…,” he said.

Jamaica are favoured to brush aside Bermuda and Antigua and advance to the next stage of the qualifiers from August 19-30.