Sports

Footballer Jamoi Topey confronts the cold truth of pro life

IAN BURNETT
SPORT EDITOR
with the REGGAE BOYZ
In Central America

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Cavalier FC head coach Rudolph Speid has long touted this young central defender as the best at his position in Jamaica's local football, after having manfully led the club at the top-level Red Stripe Premier League for the past few seasons.

Well, a month ago Speid could hold out no longer and loaned his marquee 6'5” player to the Chester, Pennsylvania-based Bethlehem Steel, which competes in the United Soccer League Championship, and the official affiliate of Philadelphia Uniona, a Major League Soccer outfit.

At 19 years old, Jamoi Topey has now completed the whole gamut of representing Jamaica at Under-15, Under-17, Under-20 and now earning his first call-up to the senior men's unit.

He was a member of Head Coach Theodore Whitmore's 23-man squad for last night's final round Concacaf Nations League contest here against El Salvador, but has been with Bethlehem Steel for the past month of a season-long loan.

And the shy juvenile is lapping up every bit of his new experience in cold Pennsylvania.

“It has been good so far, apart from the weather. It's cold, much different from Jamaica,” Topey told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Slowly but surely he's getting accustomed to life in North America and has found a way to counter the bitter cold as he faces his new job.

“When I go to training I just put on the gear that is required, the sweat pants, jacket and gloves,” he added, before explaining that his transition was made easier by the welcoming arms of his teammates.

“The players let me feel welcome and I have a good bond with all of them.”

But there are other challenges to overcome on the field of play, but the former Camperdown High School Manning Cupper is facing them head on.

“It has been very good so far, but much different from being in Jamaica because the game is played much faster and more technical.

“I have improved; I think I have gained more speed because since I have been there I have done a lot more extra work on my speed. And on some days we have lifts (weights training), so when we finish training on the field, we go to the gym and do weights, so I think I am stronger now, faster and better,” even as he lauded the coaches in charge of the team.

Bethlehem Steel have played two games so far in the new season, beating Birmingham Legion 2-0 before losing to North Carolina FC 0-1. Topey will miss today's game against Memphis 901.

The good news for Topey, who played three years in the Manning Cup competition, is that he has played every minute of the two games contested so far this season, which is a good sign that his coaches believe in his ability to do the job.

And now he's living the dream of playing in a professional environment, even if it is just the start of his career.

“This was my dream to get a professional contract overseas and showcase my talent,” he beamed, even as he looks forward to making the transition to the next level, which is playing for the Philadelphia Union, the team of his compatriots and Reggae Boyz captain Andre Blake, as well as striker Cory Burke.

But like many of his peers, Topey, who idolises Real Madrid FC captain and defender Sergio Ramos, also dreams of playing in Europe, whichever country or club that is interested in his services.

He likes Ramos “because he reads the game very well and he can tackle good”, and is also known for his decent handling of the ball.

Topey sees himself in that vein, having played as a central midfielder in his earlier days, thus enhancing his ball handling skills and his ability to score goals.

Yesterday, Whitmore told the Observer that he had been monitoring the player's progress for some time and believes he is now at a stage where he deserves a call-up to the senior team.

“He is still young, but we have plans to guide him along the way and see how well he develops,” Whitmore said.

It's now up to the player to make the best of the opportunities falling at his feet. How well he accepts those opportunities is left to be seen.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Flirting while in a relationship is disrespectful.
Yes
68%
No
11%
It depends
21%

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT