Steve Green: 19-year veteran at Tivoli
WHEN the Digicel Premier League (DPL) kicked off last Sunday, Tivoli Gardens' veteran Steve Green celebrated his 19th season with the West Kingston outfit in Jamaica's top football league.
This makes Green, who has been playing since the age of 15, one of, if not the longest-serving, player in the competition.
Known for his explosive speed and thunderous shot from both feet, Green rose to prominence during the 1990/1991 Manning Cup campaign when he starred for Tivoli High as a 14-year-old goalscoring sensation.
As a member of the Reggae Boyz squad during the 1990s, Green was one of the players who impressed technical director Rene Simoes.
Consequently, the Tivoli youngster was included in Simoes' squad in the build-up to the France 1998 World Cup campaign, but was not selected in the final squad.
"It (my selection by Simoes) was because of my energy and fight, because I was in a tournament with the national team and I was playing up front and the team was leading 1-0.
"But the team came under sustained pressure and I had to use my energy to help out in defence, which helped the team move forward," said Green at a pre-season training session last week at the team's home base at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex.
Green described his years at Tivoli --the only club he has ever represented -- as "wonderful".
"I couldn't ask for anything else. The club has been great for me, and my aim is to just help them win a lot of trophies, so this year you can look forward to Steve Green and Tivoli being a champion and lifting the trophy again," he said.
Though he's had his moments as an international player, Green made his greatest impact at Tivoli and intends to end his career with the former national champions.
"It (career) could have been better, but I did my best at all times, so I can't complain. But maybe I'm still here (at Tivoli) because I'm the one who is supposed to help the younger ones coming up.
"If all of our best and experienced players leave, the club will not have anyone to pass on the tradition... everybody that I started out playing with is gone, and I'm the only one left. So, probably God left me here to keep the trend going," he explained.
At 33 years old, the veteran -- who is commonly called 'Askel 45' due to the number 45 he sports on his playing shirt -- says he feels he has another 18 years of playing left in him.
"My mind is not on stopping right now, so I couldn't tell how long I will continue. It all depends on how my body feels and how the club treats me, but I'll be taking it one day at a time," Green noted.
"The experience has been great because you learn to carry yourself on and off the field like a professional... and that's why I'm still playing and I play hard because I'm still following the method of simplicity," he ended.
Meanwhile, former Tivoli goalkeeper and current Under-21 team coach Desmond Francis, who played alongside Green, described his former teammate as "a very forceful player".