Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Johnson follows Jamaican trailblazers
by Paul Kennedy, January 3rd, 2013 11:48PM

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 included Payton Fuller, Tony Keyes and Trevor Harris, father of future MLS player Wolde Harris at 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: Tim Howard    
"A friend sent me an image of a flyer that was on the Internet. Free beer ...
What They're Saying: Paul Ratcliffe    
"When you play North Carolina, they bring so much pressure, you have to weather the storm ...
FC Dallas savors its most impressive victory yet    
[MLS: Friday] FC Dallas is for real. It lost Panamanian Blas Perez to its league-high ninth ...
International stars turn attention to NWSL playoffs    
[PREVIEW] The second NWSL season moves into the playoffs with a repeat of last year's semifinal ...
Accent on youth as Green dresses for Bayern opener    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Julian Green dressed for only the second time with the Bayern Munich first team ...
Bayern gets break with woeful Wolfsburg miss    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Defending champion Bayern Munich started its 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign with a ...
What They're Saying: Harry Redknapp    
"I'd pick him up every morning at quarter to six at the top of his road. ...
Fire sends Hurtado to Chivas USA    
[MLS TRANSACTIONS] A day after acquiring Nigel Reo-Coker from Vancouver for Mauro Rosales, Chivas USA acquired ...
'Cubo' Torres joins select MLS group on El Tri    
[MEXICO] Erick Torres has parlayed a strong second season with Chivas USA into his first call-up ...
San Antonio and Minnesota aim to pull away from pack    
[NASL: Fall Week 7] The San Antonio Scorpions and Minnesota United FC, the NASL fall leaders, ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives