Hardware itching to prove he’s Boyz material
After a six-year absence from the national set-up, young Jamiel Hardware will be hoping to grab this opportunity with both hands and become a permanent fixture in the Reggae Boyz squad.
A former national youth player, Hardware — now 24 years old — is back in Jamaica at his childhood club Boys’ Town following several stints overseas.
“I have been back here four months now and it has been going good so far,” he told the Jamaica Observer prior to the start of Tuesday’s Reggae Boyz training session.
“I played my first game for Boys’ Town on Sunday; we lost, but then having been back in the national setup, I am feeling good,” said Hardware.
He continued: “It’s been six-and-half years, I think, and I am happy for the opportunity and I will try to make the best of it.”
Hardware is one of the most talented midfielders of his generation, having scored a hat-trick in Bridgeport High’s 5-4 extra-time win over Norman Manley in the 2009 Manning Cup third-place play-off. He would also score the lone goal for his school when they lost the 2010 Walker Cup final 1-3 to Jamaica College.
Hardware, who is very gifted on the ball with a wide range of passes, had a short collegiate career for Jefferson College in Missouri. He played in eight matches and notched one goal before turning professional, having under his belt stints in the USA and Sweden.
“I have just been playing professionally overseas. I went to college and it wasn’t the best year in 2011. I went overseas to Sweden and played there for a while and it didn’t work out. I came back and went overseas again to the US and played four seasons there, and now I am back here. I am still looking for a club overseas, but for now I am just back in Jamaica playing,” he noted.
In 2012 he represented Ventura County Fusion in the US Premier Development League, the fourth tier of the American soccer pyramid. Hardware then joined Motala AIF in Sweden later that year, scoring once in seven games.
In 2013 he then made 44 appearances for Harrisburg City Islanders in the United Soccer League (USL) and played for two seasons and scored four goal from midfield. In 2015 he was signed by Saint Louis FC where he scored six goals from 48 appearances.
“I think I have improved a lot [and] there is much to showcase, and if I get my opportunity, I am just going to take it,” said Hardware, who will be trying to impress Coach Theodore Whitmore with the hope of a place in the senior squad.
— Howard Walker