Walking in Neymar’s shadow

J’can midfielder Bartley mirrors playing style off Brazilian genius

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer staff reporter

Saturday, March 14, 2015

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SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- He might never reach the level of his Brazilian superstar idol Neymar, but Jamaica's midfielder Zaire Bartley shares similar traits to the Brazilian maestro as he loves to entertain on the field.

Bartley, who was born in New York and celebrated his 17th birthday on March 5, turned in a draw-dropping display that had eyes popping against the country of his birth, showcasing a wide array of trickery that befuddled his opponents.

"That's typically me. It was fun. I just enjoy myself and play ball," said Bartley.

He continued: "I try to be like Neymar because he is skilful and he has fun when he plays."

Bartley, who was drafted into the Jamaican set-up for the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship, revealed his love for Jamaica.

"Both of my parents are Jamaican. My dad is from Clarendon and my mom is from St Elizabeth. I was born in New York, then moved to Jamaica for three years, then moved back. I love Jamaica because I come down almost every year," he noted.

Bartley is a part of the New York Red Bull Academy, which has three other players in this tournament: Noah Powder is the captain of Trinidad and Tobago, while Tyler Adams and Matt Olosunde are in the US team. Bartley will have bragging rights over the trio, having defeated Trinidad and Tobago 5-1 and the USA 1-0.

The left-sided midfielder is confident the Reggae Boyz will qualify for the FIFA World Cup in a rematch against the USA today.

"I think we will go through, especially like how we know how they play and we have beaten them already, so we (are) just going back at them again harder," said Bartley.

Bartley, who believes this Jamaican team is laden with talent, identified two players in Peter Lee Vassell and Deshane Beckford whom he would recommend to the academy.

"The Jamaican team has excellent players, very skilful and I think they could make it," he noted.

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