Riding high

MLS Combine takes 'Taxi' on road to success

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Wednesday, January 08, 2014    

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KEMAR Lawrence had just hours before come off the plane after three days of participation in the CFU MLS Combine in Antigua and Barbuda.

His industry and fleet-footed wreckage he single-handedly created on Harbour View's left side in the club's Red Stripe Premier League match against Arnett Gardens, on Sunday, gave no hint of weary legs.

Many who witnessed a stylish and dominant Harbour View performance, in which Lawrence was a prominent figure, were bemused that the 21-year-old had just completed a rigorous three-day stint, trying to impress scouts of the MLS Combine.

The Jamaican national was a streaking frame down the left side, being charitable in helping his team in attack and defence. He was wound up and in the mood for plunder.

Only few were better than he was on the night. And, for sure, Brian Brown's stunning overhead kick in minute 34, that nailed down the 1-0 win, took the cake.

Lawrence and company on the night were undisputed second to Brown's miracle goal. And even they couldn't argue with that.

When the former Donald Quarrie High student was pulled out in the 70th minute, it did not appear that he was tired. It seemed more a case that the bench was driven to offer mercy for the young man for job well done.

Though he did not make the final cut of the Caribbean leg of the Combine, where only two were selected from 30 players, Lawrence scored in his own way.

"The experience was really good as I got to meet players from all over the world, as players from England and the Netherlands were also there.

"The football itself was great, and the coach told me that he was pleased, so for me, it worked out good," he said.

Also, Lawrence takes quiet comfort in the fact that "I did my best".

"In the end, though, I was not disappointed that (I didn't make the cut) as the experience was the most important thing, as it gives me something to help carry me forward...People know me more now out there, so anything is possible now," he told the Jamaica Observer in a late evening chat on Monday.

Lawrence, who carries the playful name of 'Taxi', sang the praise of the high quality of the other Caribbean participants of the US MLS scouting programme.

"The talent in the Caribbean is very good to be honest, and I went there (MLS Combine), and expected to be way better than the other Caribbean players, but it was really tough, as everybody was challenging (for a spot)," he said.

As quickly as it was over, Lawrence has put the Combine behind and turned his gaze to the future.

"Firstly, I want to work hard on keeping my spot in the national squad, and I am definitely looking forward to playing in the MLS real soon, even as soon as this year," he said, with an air of self-assuredness.

For Harbour View, Lawrence is a having a dream season.

"I am having my best season, and, although we won last year, I still think this has been the best season for me so far," he concluded.

It is not clear why another Jamaican selected for the Combine, utility Montego Bay player Jermaine Woozencroft, did not go to Antigua.

The CFU, under whose auspices the Combine was staged, has not issued an explanation on Woozencroft or who the two winners for the Florida leg are.





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