LESS than four months remain before the curtains come down on 2012, but Reggae Boy Darren Mattocks can already say it has been quite an eventful year.
Not only did the 22-year-old join Major League Soccer (MLS) team Vancouver Whitecaps, but he scored six goals in the first nine games for the team and seems well on his way to being named Rookie of the Year.
Mattocks made his debut for the senior national team in the 2-0 victory against El Salvador in Washington, DC, in August and he also suffered a horrific cooking accident that kept him out of competitive action for two months.
While cooking chicken, a pot fell off the stove, causing oil to splash on Mattocks’ upper body.
“The first part of the season was a bit disappointing because I missed like 10 to 12 games because of my injury. As soon as I got back I started the season right away, got a couple games under my belt and from that I’ve been scoring goals for my team,” he told the Jamaica Observer a few days before the crucial World Cup qualifying clash against the United States at the National Stadium.
“That’s really amazing and I’m really thankful to God for that and I just have to keep working hard and stay focused and disciplined and finish off the season strong,” added Mattocks, who now has the scars on his upper arm and parts of his body as evidence of his mishap.
“Honestly, it didn’t affect me a whole lot in terms of the mental aspect of it because I’m always a positive guy. I always take the good with the bad. I think everything happen for a reason. This set me back quite a bit, but as you can see, my season is going really well; better than a lot of persons expected,” he said.
The wily player, who made his return to action on May 9, said he is enjoying his time with the Canadian club which he joined in January.
“My team is in a real good spot to make the play-offs. Hopefully, I will just continue scoring goals to see where it goes from there,” he said.
As it relates to breaking the record 11 goals scored in a season by a rookie, a record now held by fellow Reggae Boy Damani Ralph: “If I get a chance to do that that would be really fantastic,” Mattocks stated.
“It was really good to get the first cap under my belt. I missed a few chances, but at least I got in position to create some really good chances, so it was really good,” he said.
Being in the MLS also has brought him in direct action with players he once only viewed on television, such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry, which he said counts towards his pleasurable experience playing overseas.
“Taking what I’ve learnt over there to the national team goes a far way,” he declared.