Sports

'Finnish' product

Portmore's Morris revels in loan deal with Finland's Vaasan Palloseura

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sports Editor

Friday, August 23, 2019

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Another Jamaica footballer has joined the “great migration” to Europe.

Portmore United midfielder Ricardo Morris joins compatriots Shamar Nicholson (Begium's Sporting Charleroi) and Brian Brown (Albania's FK Partizani) on the continental drift on a season-long loan with Finnish top flight outfit Vaasan Palloseura, or VPS.

Morris, 26, will stay at the Finnish club “for the remainder” of the season, which ends on November 14. But the deal provides an option for the versatile player to stay on for the 2020 season “depending on how things work out for all parties”.

He will share the pitch in Finland with former Portmore striker Steven Morrissey, who has been at VPS since 2013.

Morris, a St James native, is revelling in the prospects of his first taste of plying his trade in football's greenest pastures — Europe.

“This is something I have been working very hard to accomplish as Europe is where it's at in football and to practice my craft in this environment is tremendous. I'm grateful to God for giving me this opportunity,” Morris told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Like his fellow Reggae Boyz teammates who slipped into Europe through the recent transfer window, Morris sees nothing but possibilities to scale new heights in the pursuit of the professional dream.

“It is my hope that this opportunity in Finland will propel me into even bigger leagues. That's my hope.

“It's every player's dream to play in the best competitions in the world and the possibility of playing in the Champions League or Europa League would be amazing. If this does not materialise, I still have the option of playing with Portmore in the Concacaf Champions League, which is the region's top club competition and this is the level that I'm aspiring to play consistently,” said the former Montego Bay United player.

Morris, whose team VPS edged IFK Mariehamn 2-1 in the Premier Division on Monday, says he wants to help his new club to maintain a winning streak.

“The objective is to help the team to get into the play-offs and qualify for the European competition,” said the player, who can also be deployed as left-back.

Morris said while other options were on the table at the time, a move to VPS seemed the perfect fit at this time.

“I had other options, but wanted a new challenge and especially in Europe.”

He said even if negotiations had steered him elsewhere, he would have been prepared for any challenge as his ownership club Portmore had nurtured him, like all its players, for the rigours of professional life.

“Portmore has really supported my ambitions and I am thankful for the way the club has managed my development.

“The way Portmore operates has prepared me well for the opportunity, so the confidence and belief is there. At the club, we've always been encouraged to think big, work hard, and follow your dreams and this is what I'm doing,” Morris stated.

“It was a blessing for me to have landed in a great environment in Jamaica like Portmore. The club challenged me from day one. No doubt it could have been much different for me had it not been for this club.”

While his move to VPS would be his first to Europe, Morris is no rookie to the overseas professional circuit, having done a stint at US second division outfit, the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

“This was an experience that confirmed that the way that we were being prepared at Portmore was correct, as a lot of the things I experienced at Tampa Bay were things we were being taught at Portmore. I have come to accept that professionalism can exist anywhere and it's all about having the correct attitude consistently,” Morris asserted.

The son of Montego Bay, who has been a standout for Jamaica's Premier League champions over many seasons, admits his growth comes from a double source.

“The exposure that I have received playing for trophies in the Jamaican premier league, Concacaf competitions, and the national team as certainly contributed to my growth and confidence on the pitch,” Morris shared.

With 13 caps and two goals under his belt has a senior Jamaica international, Morris added that playing for the national team was crucial to his overall development and says he's looking forward to the next chapter with the Boyz.

“Playing at the international level has definitely helped my game and my confidence and it is always an honour to represent Jamaica, and the experiences will live with me forever.

“It is my hope that I will continue to have the opportunity to play for Jamaica, and I will always give of my best if and when I am invited,” Morris reasoned.


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