Sport

From Danvers Pen to Portland Timbers Alvas Powell is rising to the occasion

Alvas Powell is rising to the occasion

BY SEAN WILLIAMS

Saturday, September 07, 2013    

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PANAMA CITY, Panama — Danvers Pen is a humble farming community in the eastern parish of St Thomas.

When it rains, the impact on crops and the narrow roadways is incalculable and makes headlines at times in extreme cases.

Most times it's a forgotten village, far away from the bright lights of urban life on the outside.

Like Sherwood Content in Trelawny, which spawned the greatest track athlete of all time, Usain Bolt, Danvers Pen has hatched its own sporting star.

Alvas Powell is a long way off from the mega-star status of a Bolt, but he is indeed a star on the rise in his own right.

The 19-year-old footballer has transitioned from the amateur ranks to a full professional, having recently made a season-long loan move to US MLS outfit, the Portland Timbers.

And life, as he puts it, has been good.

"Since I joined the club my life has changed, and I am giving thanks for the opportunity... more people look up to me as a professional player," said the former Paul Bogle High School standout.

His change of fortune, reward for his hard work and commitment, has been especially satisfying since he can begin to effect change in his and his family's standard of living.

"I am helping my family much better than when I was playing in Jamaica. I am doing good and my family is doing good, so I am happy," said the defender, who travelled to Panama for the Reggae Boyz's crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifying match against the host slated for last night.

Capped five times for Jamaica's senior team after an unbroken run through the national junior ranks, Powell told the Jamaica Observer that he's happy with his progress as a player.

"So far I am doing well and I have to just keep up the good work. In all the games I have played so far for the Timbers in particular, I have done well, I think," he said.

Standing at 5ft 11, Powell said since moving to the Timbers a couple of months ago, his reception has been warm.

"To tell you the truth, it's the best set of players I have been around for a long time, as they make you feel comfortable, so I am getting a good vibe from them whether in the dressing room, training or during games."

As a bonus for the young professional, two of his Reggae Boyz teammates — goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and striker Ryan Johnson — also play in Portland, which helps him to feel at home.

"It makes it easier for me to settle there, plus they encourage me a lot, and I am just thankful for them," said Powell.

Timbers coach, Caleb Porter, has also been a positive influence on the teenage player since arriving at the club and had a few wise words for him.

"The coach said to me that I should not get swell-headed and that I should keep up the good work and I will reach far," noted Powell.

On the international front, the utility player believes that Jamaica could turn around their fortunes in the World Cup qualifying, but stressed team work to be the key component.

"Over the two games, we have to work hard as a team and we could get something out of them... but of course we are aiming to win both games, firstly against Panama and then Costa Rica on Tuesday," he said.

Powell, who played for Jamaica's Under-17 team at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011, said Jamaica's predicament of sitting at the bottom of the hexagonal of the CONCACAF qualifiers with only two points, was less than desirable, but not totally hopeless.

"I just believe that we didn't work hard enough in the first part, but I am 100 per cent confident that we can make it," he ended.

Alvas powell (left) in training with the Reggae Boyz at the National Stadium.

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