Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Johnson follows Jamaican trailblazers
by Paul Kennedy, January 3rd, 2013 11:48PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  college men, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[THIRTEEN FOR '13]Jamaicans are a hot commodity in MLS. Jason Johnson joined All-Americans Andrew Farrell, Mikey Lopez and Walker Zimmerman as MLS's first Generation adidas signings of 2013. The VCU junior was not a big name on the college scene, but he is considered in the class of such MLS Reggae Boyz as Ryan Johnson and Darren Mattocks. He was still a high school student when he made his debut for the Reggae Boyz against Argentina. Not bad for a player who didn't take up soccer until high school after earlier concentrating on cricket.

THIRTEEN FOR '13:
10. Jason Johnson (VCU-signed to Generation adidas contract)
9. Gyasi Zardes (CSU Bakersfield-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
8. Walker Zimmerman (Furman-signed to Generation adidas contract)
Follow @thewalkerzim
7. Gale Agbossoumonde (Carolina RailHawks-signed with Toronto FC)
Follow @galecuse17
6. Oscar Sorto (Los Angeles Galaxy U-17/18s-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
Follow @oscaritosorto13
5. Mikey Lopez (North Carolina-signed to Generation adidas contract)
Follow @MLopez5tarheel
4. Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls U-17/18s-signed with New York Red Bulls)
Follow @Amando_moreno
3. Andrew Farrell (Louisville-signed to Generation adidas contract)
Follow @louisville5
2. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
1. Wil Trapp (Akron-signed with Columbus Crew)
Follow @wil_trapp


For many young Jamaicans, the route to a higher education and a college scholarship in the United States is through soccer.

Jamaican trailblazers includedPayton Fuller, Tony Keyes and Trevor Harris, father of future MLS player Wolde Harrisat Michigan State in the 1960s. Howard University became a national power in the early 1970s with players from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Nigeria. In recent years, players like Shavar Thomas and Khari Stephenson took the boarding school route and others like Damani Ralph, Dane Richards and Omar Cummings began in the JC ranks before moving on to four-year schools and MLS.

Johnson says that the chance to pursue a college education was one of the reasons he took up soccer. He switched to Manchester High School for his final year and attracted the attention of Jamaican national team scouts as well as VCU.

The Argentina match played in 2010 was intended to give the Reggae Boyz a look at some young players with an eye on 2014 qualifying. When Johnson entered the game in the 90th minute, he thought he was dreaming.

"I thought I would've been nervous, but I wasn't," Johnson told reporters after the game. "I noticed that it was no different than playing against my fellow Jamaican teammates in training."

VCU coach Dave Giffard recruited Johnson and Manchester High School teammates Romena Bowie as part of his first class after leaving Akron, where he was an assistant.

The 6-foot-0 Johnson scored only four goals as a freshman but had 11 as a sophomore and 13 as a junior when he was named the Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Year.

Giffard was Akron when it had Steve Zakuani, Teal Bunbury and Darlington Nagbe, and he says Johnson is in their class.

“He’s got an interesting combination of size, speed, power, and technique that not a lot of guys have,” Giffard told RVA News. “Those were the things that attracted us to him.”



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jason Kreis    
"The importance of the win has nothing to do with the opponent,. It wasn't about me, ...
MLS Talking Points: Timbers will be tough to stop    
The Portland Timbers definitely left a wakeup call for the rest of MLS that they will ...
Video Pick: A forward flips out to beat keeper    
In Colorado high school ball, Columbine junior Dylan Prichett-Ettner won a one-on-one with ThunderRidge's goalkeeper thanks ...
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"They need to get the job done in St. Vincent, and then see how we can ...
USMNT: Loss of Dempsey and Zardes complicates matters    
No captain Michael Bradley for Friday's game -- suspended for yellow-card accumulation -- we've known that ...
U.S. Abroad: Americans battle for top spot in Mexico    
Michael Orozco started and Paul Arriola was a late sub as Tijuana beat UNAM, 1-0, to ...
NWSL: Hope Solo granted 'personal leave'    
The Hope Solo saga took another turn on Saturday as her NWSL team, Seattle Reign FC, ...
MLS Week 25: Results & Standings    
Montreal ended Toronto FC's seven-game unbeaten streak (six wins and a tie) when Ignacio Piatti's goal ...
Video Pick: Wood strikes in Bundesliga debut    
It took 23-year-old American Bobby Wood, who scored 17 second division goals for Union Berlin last ...
U.S. Abroad: Johansson returns in crushing Bremen defeat    
Aron Johannsson returned to action in the Bundesliga for the first time in 11 months, starting ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives