Lowe enjoying life at IK Start, but eyes big move elsewhere in Europe

By Sean A Williams
Deputy Sports Editor

Monday, October 15, 2018

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WILLEMSTAD, Curacao — Damion Lowe has settled into his new home in Kristiansand, the Norwegian city where his club side IK Start is located.

Since joining the Eliteserien outfit last year, the Jamaica central defender has grown into a team regular in Manager Kjetii Rekdal's outfit.

Lowe, 25, has played over 20 matches for the top flight club, claiming at least five Man of the Match awards so far.

“I have been doing well personally and was man of the match in the last game. In fact, I have had five of those already... right now I think I am in the form of my life, and it kind of reminds me of my Minnesota days in the USL. But obviously I have grown and I am just trying to keep working hard every day,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

So far, notes the towering player, the season for IK Start has been a mixed bag, but things have been looking up of late.

“Our season started out slowly, kind of a rocky ride by losing a couple of games in a row and it kind of hampered us a little... but now we have a change of coach and now we are wining games. We won three in a row, lost one, then won two straight and a draw — so now we are in a good spot and managing to stay above the red line,” noted Lowe, son of France '98 veteran Onandi.

The Jamaican, who is in Curacao for the Reggae Boyz' Concacaf Nations League qualifying game against Bonaire, said his club is on the fringe of booking a Europa League spot, a mouth-watering prospect for the former Minnesota United standout.

“We are also in the semi-finals of the Norwegian Cup and if we win that we qualify for the Europa League, and that is also a big thing for us,” he noted.

At 6ft 3in Lowe may have levelled off in physical height, but he is still reaching higher when it comes to his professional career.

“The prospects are good and the first place they (big European clubs) look is Scandinavia, especially for younger players like centre backs and strikers.

“It's a big market, and if you are doing well as a player it will draw a lot of interest,” he said.

Not wanting to give anything away, Lowe did hint that the conversation is open on possible moves elsewhere in Europe.

“We have to see what happens at the end of the year. And yes, we are getting some interests because I have been performing well, but we can't talk too much about that right now. Myself, my agent Damani (Ralph), and the club are working closely to see what will be the best options for me, and we will see where we go from there,” he said.

Lowe, the former Seattle Sounders FC man, admits that playing international football for Jamaica has aided his growth and development in the professional ranks, and adds the converse is true.

“I gain a lot of experience playing outside the country. You get exposed to different cultures, different people and different styles of football... and you get to come back to the national set-up and share those experiences, especially with the younger guys, and I think that helps them to grow and understand the professional life more and the sacrifice they need to make to become successful.

“By doing that it helps you to mature and grow as a man; and I see myself as one of the leaders in the present crop of players, and it's good when you can help others,” shared Lowe, who was instrumental in the Boyz' run to the of the Concacaf Gold Cup final of 2017.

The former Harbour View FC youth player said he was delighted to have a young player from his former Jamaican club visit IK Start recently on trial.

Jamaica midfielder Peter-Lee Vassell, 20, only recently returned from Norway after a one-week stint, and Lowe was impressed with the attitude and effort of his Boyz teammate.

“I was happy to know that another young Jamaican player got the opportunity to not only have a trial, but to have the experience of the footballing culture outside of Jamaica.

“What I know is that he did well and I got good feedback from the coaches and they told me what they thought of him, and they liked him a lot... so now it's down to negotiation between the agent and the clubs,” noted Lowe.

Young Vassell, Lowe argues, represents the potential of players coming out of Jamaica, but believes the former Cornwall College star comes with special qualities.

“I think he is a good young player with big aspiration and he works hard in training. I truly believe that he is as good as it gets when it comes to technical ability of young players coming straight out of Jamaica.

“For me, when I was 18 or 19 years old I was not as technically good as he is coming out of Jamaica and that is a plus for him, and it shows that he being in the national team and getting games is helping him,” said Lowe.

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