Age doesn't matter for Michael Seaton
Precocious 17-year-old striker makes immediate impact on Boyz
PORT of Spain, Trinidad — He's only 17 and a half year old, but stands at 6'1" and tips the scales at 186 lb. He's confident, self-assertive even, fearless, yet fully prepared to put in a shift for his team.
He's DC United's striker Michael Seaton, who debuted for Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz in last Friday's 0-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.
The rookie entered the field at the start of the second-half alongside Montego Bay United's midfielder Jermaine Woozencraft, and the duo proceeded to inject new life into the home side's play as the Boyz rallied to tip the balance back into their favour, though the equalising goal never materialised.
The coaching staff was pleasantly surprised with Seaton's 45-minute display.
"I was quite impressed with him, seeing him from the Under-17s, he has never impressed me at that level, but one thing, he has grown and he has matured, seemingly, he came on and did extremely well," enthused Vin Blaine, assistant head coach of the Reggae Boyz.
"He showed composure on the ball, he showed maturity, his movement off the ball, I think, had changed the game up top. You could see that there was some mobility up front that we were not getting in the first half, so with that in mind I'm really impressed with him now," added Blaine, who noted that at times during the game Seaton's play belied his tender age.
Added Blaine: "Definitely he is one for the future and he wants to play for Jamaica. What I also liked about him was that he was enjoying his game, he wasn't intimidated by the fact that he was playing against people who were much older than him, and for a moment I lost the fact that he was only 17, but he looked great.
"I think the coach was pleasantly surprised by his play and his inclusion was based on how well he performed in training; there was just something about him in training the day before that piqued the coach's interest and he brought him in over more experienced players and I think that augurs well for him in the future."
For Seaton, who migrated to the United States of America almost 10 years ago, this has been a meteoric start to his professional career.
He started the season at DC United in Major League Soccer, was lent out to Richmond Kickers in the lower USL, and before he knew it, he's been drafted into the national senior team. But he's not complaining.
"It was great," he told the Jamaica Observer with a childish laugh yesterday.
"Coach said to me that in the second half I was going to go in, but going in was not overwhelming because I wasn't nervous like I usually am. I felt good and my first touch was positive, that's the main thing when I go in a game, if the first touch is good, then overall your game is going to be good, and every time I touched the ball I never lost it, so I felt good," he reflected.
Seaton has admitted that head coach Winfried Schafer is yet to review his game in a one-on-one situation, but he revealed that he has had encouraging words from the other members of the technical staff.
Throughout the interview Seaton's joy at his senior debut was evident, but he has claimed that his mother, Kamone Lee Henry, enjoyed it even more.
"I enjoyed it, but my mom enjoyed it even more than me," he said. "She called me right after the game and my grandmother was there and they told me I played great and that people behind them in the stands were saying who's that, he's a baller and things like that, so that was good."
The player also noted that he was surprised when his mother got a telephone call from team manager Roy Simpson that he was invited to the national team for the two friendly games.
Seaton was a member of the Jamaica Under-17 team which failed to qualify for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup during the CONCACAF Championship in Panama earlier this year.
But he is more than happy with his first season as a professional, even if it didn't start as well as he would have liked.
"I am a forward so they (DC team management) expect that if I can't turn and dribble a guy, then hold the ball up and that's what I lacked at pre-season because I'm not going to lie, because every time I touched the ball in pre-season I was on my face on the ground, but now I'm putting people on the ground, so it is a lot of change.
"I didn't get significant playing time at DC United, I got one 90-minute game, but not much after that. You have to give a young player a lot of minutes for him to go in there and shine, but they lent me out to Richmond Kickers in the USL where I played well, scored a number of goals (five in 10 matches). I know I could have scored a lot more goals, but it comes with development and learning the game.
"Next year I know I can go up to 10 goals easily because I hit the post a couple of times and the goalkeepers made some incredible saves."
The player, who patterns himself off Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luiz Suarez, is hopeful of returning to DC United for preseason training and proving himself good enough to earn a place in the first team.
"I'm gonna go in preseason in Indonesia with the team and I'm going to show them that I should be starting, not the first string forward, not the second string forward, I want to be the top forward and that's what I'm going to show them," he pledged.