Hyde relishes first pro season in Finland
FORMER national youth player Keneil Hyde recently completed his first professionals season with Finnish second division side Tornion Palla-47 (or TP-47) in October.
However, he said the right attitude, hard work and adapting to his new environment helped him adjust and pull through.
The former Meadhaven United and Calabar High midfielder left the island in 2010 to take up a scholarship at Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee, United States, but only spent two years there before deciding to move to Finland.
The versatile midfielder said he learned a lot in his first season at TP-47 and is looking for an improved performance next year, with the hope of moving on to a bigger European club and breaking into the senior national set-up in the near future.
Hyde told the Jamaica Observer he went to Finland as a striker and ended up playing flank defence. He said though missing the middle of the season due to an injured ankle, the experience gained has made him more aware of the requirements at the highest level in Europe.
"They are very physical and very fast and it's just a nice place to start out your career because it helps you to get the style of the European football and then you can move on from there," he said.
"I'll probably play one or two more seasons there and then try to move on because Finland is not a place where you can really earn a lot financially; it's just a good place to start... in Europe," he added.
Although he took some time to acclimatise to his new environment, it was important for him to hold his place in the team, regardless of the circumstances.
"You really learn a lot from experiences like these because a lot of Jamaicans go abroad and don't make it, or they get sent back home because they don't know how to adapt or they don't want to adapt," said Hyde.
"Some want to do their own thing and that does not work... because sometimes you go over there to play as striker and end up playing defence or in midfield...
"It's about adopting; you cannot complain or they'll just send you back home... you have to work with what you get because once you make it there, you have the possibilities to move on and go anywhere else," he said.
The Jamaican player believes more youngsters aspiring to play abroad must have good attitude and strong ambition in order to make it.
"They have to have understanding... or try to change their attitude, work hard and put their minds to what they are doing. The most important thing is learning to adapt... to different cultures, climate and a lot of other things..
"You can't just go there and whine and complain because they can get somebody else to play for you. No matter what's the problem, you have to try deal with it yourself and see the bigger picture and work hard for what you want," he argued.
The Duhaney Park resident who was pursuing a business management degree at Freed-Hardeman University said although things were going quite smooth, he knew of the move to Finland and opted to cut his university career short.
"The only thing was that the school was paying my insurance for me, then they would charge it back to my account... so at the end of each semester this would cause problems and that was one of the reasons why I left," he admitted.
"My agent was the one who got me into the school and he had already told me that I could stay in university for two seasons and then move across to Finland or stay if I wanted to.
"I took the decision to move to Finland because football is my passion and my desire to play professionally was much stronger," he explained.
Now he's hoping he can produce the kind of performances that will capture the attention of the Reggae Boyz selectors.