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 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: John Molinaro    
"Going to games and trekking up to the team's training facility in north Toronto to cover ...
U.S. Awards: Nominees set in five categories    
U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for its 2016 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards ...
What They're Saying: Bob Bradley    
"I'm still confident. I think we have made progress, but it's up to us to prove ...
MLS Awards: Giovinco and Hedges repeat Best XI picks    
Three teams each landed two players on the MLS Best XI. Supporters Shield winner FC Dallas ...
MLS Moves: Atlanta United signs Almiron as its No. 10     
Another vital piece has been added as Atlanta United prepares for its first season in MLS ...
MLS Moves: USL MVP Okoli signs with NYCFC    
Though it is well-stocked with attacking firepower, New York City FC has signed a goalscorer to ...
NASL: Decision day arrives for ailing Division 2 league    
Players and staff of clubs in the six-year-old North American Soccer League should learn their fate ...
Video Pick: Ridiculous red-card meltdown     
MSV Duisburg's Baris Ozbek took swings at half the players on Sportfreunde Lotte and stamped on ...
MLS Cup: Remaining tickets sell out in three minutes    
Major League Soccer announced that tickets for Saturday's MLS Cup between Toronto FC and the Seattle ...
What They're Saying: Chapecoense mourner Claudiane Penegalli     
"It creates indignation because it was a human failure. It wasn't a problem with nature, with ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives