Congrats Vassell, on your MLS draft

The Sporting Edge

Paul Reid

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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Just over a week ago, former Cornwall College football star Peter-Lee 'Jakey' Vassell was selected in the second round of the US Major League Super Draft by Los Angeles FC.

Vassell, who was part of the ISSA daCosta Cup winning team two years ago, became the second former Cornwall College player to be drafted in the MLS, after Dane Richards 12 years ago.

It was a big step for the youngster who, two years ago, was playing schoolboy football and chose not to attend college in the USA. Instead, he stayed at home to play in the Red Stripe Premier League.

The next step for 'Jakey' will be to make the LA FC roster and get significant playing time. But given that Coach Bob Bradley used his first selection to take Vassell, and is reported to have said he was surprised the midfielder was still available with the 40th pick, means it is a spot for Vassell to lose.

One gets the impression that the MLS is not his ultimate goal, but Europe, and I would not bet against him getting there, after improving his game in the USA.

It is, however, impossible to talk about Vassell and not talk about Jourdaine Fletcher, his teammate. Since they were seven-years-old they started to play together and both seem set for international football stardom.

They won together at Catherine Hall Primary, Youths in Action in the St James FA youth leagues, at Cornwall College they teamed up to win the ISSA Rural Area Under-14, won the all-island Under-16, and also the daCosta Cup two years ago, where Fletcher was lethal, scoring more than 35 goals in the season.

He also scored an eye-popping eight goals in a historic run by Cornwall to the final of the then Flow Cup, where they lost in the last minute to Wolmers Boys'.

Fletcher, who is blessed with better than ordinary speed and goal-scoring instincts that cannot be taught but can only be 'God given', netted in his first RSPL game, coming off the bench to score the winner for Montego Bay United against Harbour View at Wespow Park.

He was soon drafted into the national senior team by coach Theodore Whitmore and then came the first hurdle where he seemed to slow down, but an unexpected move to the US where he played one decent season of college football might have revived his passion for the game.

On Sunday, while many were still basking in Vassell's achievements, Fletcher was on the bench as MBU beat Mt Pleasant to end a seven-game winless run. But if it is one thing about sports, there are multiple second chances and with youth still on his side, it would be folly to write off his chances of delivering on his prodigious talents.

Time, however, waits for no man, and those who has Fletcher's ear and confidence would best advise him that the time to start the trek back to where he was two years ago, is now.

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