TWO Jamaican footballers have picked up jobs in the US professional football system.
They are national midfielder Rohan Reid and former Portmore United striker Ashton Bennett.
Bennett, 24, and a former Garvey Maceo standout, was a draft pick for US Major League outfit Toronto FC and has signed a three-year deal. He is due to play in today's opening day of the MLS against Vancouver Whitecaps.
The player's agent, Pro-Goals Sports' Rommel Wallen, said the Jamaican was deserving of his new deal after putting in the requisite labour.
"He was drafted in mid-January and had to earn this with very hard training over six weeks of pre-season," said the England-based agent.
"I'm delighted for Ashton, especially since it appears Toronto FC see him as a key part of their plans this season," Wallen added.
Draft is a selection system unique to the US in the context of world football, where players are selected by a designated team from a pool of University players. Bennett, who attended Coastal Carolina University, was selected in the second round of the draft.
Reid, 30, a lanky composed midfielder formerly of Arnett Gardens, was signed by United Soccer Leagues (USL) franchise Charlotte Eagles for one year, with the player ultimately aiming to be propelled into the MLS during or after the current season.
When reached yesterday, Reid said he was happy for the opportunity to parade his skills on another stage.
"This means a lot to me as it's every player's dream to play in the leagues overseas. Playing at Charlotte will certainly enhance my chances of possibly moving to a bigger club," he said.
With those who have concerns about his mature age and the fact that he may be considered a late bloomer, Reid said age is just a mindset and he draws inspiration from Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Jamaica's very own Ian 'Pepe' Goodison who continue to perform with quality at the top despite their mellowing ages.
"Age is just a number. It's how you train, take care of your body and follow instructions that will determine how you stand up despite age -- young or old," Reid noted.
Wallen agreed that Reid has proven that he has "a lot left in his tank".
"At 30 it was always going to be difficult for Rohan to get a move, so I'm grateful for Charlotte realising that he is a late bloomer and have plenty left," Wallen told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Reid, who is a recent addition to the national set-up and who was transferred from Red Stripe Premier League outfit Arnett to Cavalier, signed with Charlotte without a trial, which speaks to the American club's belief in his ability.
"We provided Charlotte a video profile of the player, they too did their research, including interviewing the player, then they decided to offer him a contract, without trial," said the agent who represents many Jamaican players.
Recently, another Jamaican international Keammar Daley, trained with Orlando City FC last month, but unfortunately the club was not able to offer him a contract at this time.
Daley, a stocky midfielder who came to the fore at the Pan American Games in Brazil in 2007 where Jamaiaca won the silver medal, was released by League One side Preston North End after a frustrating spell in the shadows following a change of manager and team philosophy.
"Yep, we have been working with him only since he fell into problems at Preston. So we sent him to Turkey on trial, it didn't work out so he has been at Orlando City," said Wallen.