Sounding the Red Brigade!
Dr McMorris balances Boys' Town duties with teaching
HE is likely to be the only Premier League footballer who holds a PhD, but Boys' Town central defender Nicholas McMorris says he would rather be outstanding as a player than to stand out.
The holder of two advanced degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and a first degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI), McMorris somehow manages to balance family life (he is married with a four year old son) with football and lecturing at the University of Technology (UTech).
The 34-year-old player who joined the Red Brigade just over two years ago after returning home from the United States where he worked and studied, says those in the community of Trench Town did not know he was a 'doctor' until they heard it mentioned during Monday Night Football.
These days when they want to tease him they call him 'Doc', as opposed to his other nickname, 'Fellaini', after the former Everton player known for his shock of curly hair.
"I have to tell them I'm not a real doctor," McMorris told the Jamaica Observer.
"I don't want to be going out there trumpeting my horn saying I'm this or I'm that. I'm just there to play football and I think most of the guys down there realise that," he explained.
The nephew of renowned former Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Easton McMorris and his father a cricket aficionado, McMorris has been playing football since his formative years at Mona Prep School where he won the Alberga and Henriques Cup.
"I did backyard cricket and that's about it. We were exposed to football from an early age, my brothers and I, and that's just where we stuck. I think I played high school basketball here and I played for the UWI team," the six-foot-seven inch tall McMorris said.
He recalled a game against Boys' Town at Collie Smith Drive while he was a striker for Major League team Real Mona and there was a head-on collision with an opponent which left him unconscious for a few minutes and losing 25 minutes of his memory.
"The story is I've gone back to Boys' Town to recover that lost time," McMorris said, adding, "Ever since I've gone back to Boys' Town, I've just realised there is something quite interesting and special about Trench Town."
It is a far cry from his middle-class upbringing. And whereas some would choose football as a career path in itself, the Campion College alumnus went the route of academia.
"I've been exposed to that professional situation; I know what it's like and it also can be a hustle," McMorris said.
"Having got that exposure, having been down that road, I realise that you have to have something sure — that sure income that you can get from day to day, from month to month. I think it's wise to do that. I would recommend that to a number of other players as well, especially in the Jamaican context where it's not really a professional situation we have here; it's more a semi-professional situation," he added.
McMorris said his academic training has helped him balance preparing lessons for school and training.
"I've been playing football and working for many years and also I'm in engineering and one of the key things that teaches you is organisation and efficiency, so I don't find it to be too difficult. I have a lot of spare time."
Having had trials and spent time playing for teams in the US, including the New England Revolution and Atlanta Silverbacks, McMorris realises there is something special about the team he has now chosen.
"I've played on enough teams to realise that the vibe and camaraderie we have at Boys' Town is quite special, and that's one of the reasons from I got there. I was like 'this team not only are they good, but the vibe is nice', and that's one of the things that attracted me."
He said there are similarities and differences with the team dynamics in Jamaica and those abroad.
"To be honest, the attitudes are a little different. The professional attitude hasn't been fully instated here. Punctuality, work ethic, those are definitely some of the fundamental differences.
"The banter is just as good and I think that's an important part of playing in any team — it's having great inter-player dialogue. Just being able to take the pressure out of situations and just have fun.
"(But) that may be tied to incentive as well and there isn't strong incentive here. People aren't being paid any... great among of money to play here and that's probably where the disconnect is (I don't know)," he said.
Boys' Town have come close to winning the Premier League in the last two seasons and come tomorrow, will meet Harbour View in the first End-of-Round Final. It is a match up McMorris is eagerly anticipating.
"From I got there I realise that not only did we have talent individually and we could play well as a team, but the vibe was good down there and once you have those things in any unit, then you're gonna be geared for success," he declared.