How chasing cows helped shape the ageless Je-Vaughn Watson

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS
Deputy Sport Editor

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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LONG BAY, Antigua Je-Vaughn Watson is no doubt in his football twilight years.

But watching him on the pitch, his physical form, industry and electric passion for the game betray his 36 years.

Like good wine, Watson seems to be mellowing with age, outrunning, out-muscling and even out thinking those 15 years his junior.

But where does he get his supply of physical and mental energy?

According to the Reggae Boyz midfielder, it may have started with his boyhood days in rural Paisley, Clarendon.

“I think it's my work ethic and my love for hard work because I grew up taking care of cows in the bushes in Clarendon, and I had to always be chasing these cows before and after school, because that was my job.

“So as far back as I can remember I am always doing a lot of running, plus from I was young I was never afraid to do the dirty work, and I will do it even in football just so that someone else looks good,” said Watson, the former Houston Dynamo player.

“I am not the guy who is always going to be in front of the microphone and getting my picture in the paper, but I am just going to be that worker that nobody sees,” he added.

Watson, who currently plays professionally for Oklahoma City Energy of the US leagues, has been the subject of debate whether he should consider quitting the international game for a likely younger player.

But the blistering counter question is whether Watson still has what it takes to maintain a place in the Reggae Boyz setup.

That question was answered by perhaps the most qualified source.

“Je-Vaughn is in the team because nobody is doing what he is doing, no one has stepped up to the plate…he runs the hardest in training and maintains supremely high levels of physical conditioning, plus he plays with heart and gives a 100 per cent every time, so until someone comes along and demonstrates what he has been doing year in and year out, then he will be in the team as long as he can go on,” was the speedy retort of Boyz Head Coach Theodore Whitmore.

Not that Watson needed that vote of support, because he is supremely confident in his own ability and is able to argue in his own defence.

“I've known Coach Whitmore for a long time and I know he is not afraid to give any player a chance, and as long as you come here and do what you supposed to do, you are going to play. And if someone thinks I am a veteran and doesn't deserve to play, show me the player that is going to take my place, show me the player that is going to do the work that I am doing, and if you find that someone, then you can take me out and I will be gone,” Watson said.

“I also work very hard in training, if the trainer says do 100 laps, I am going to be first, but if I can't go, I would say 'coach I don't feel well, and I can't go', because at the end of the day I am just here to work hard to keep my spot, as nobody is here to be on the bench,” he added.

The former FC Dallas strongman said his coach at the Texas club at the time had made a prophetic statement back then that he thought to be ridiculous.

“Five years ago when I was playing in Dallas, I had a concussion and had to sleep in the hospital and the coach and his wife came and spent the night in there with me by sleeping on chairs, and when I woke up in the morning we were chatting, and he said to me that 'Je-Vaughn, the way your body is set up, you can play until you are 45', and I told myself that this guy is crazy.

“I never thought that at this age I would be able to run this hard and doing everything that I am doing now. But when I looked back I realise that the coach knew what he was saying. The fact is, I don't party a lot, I don't drink and I don't smoke, and I think that's part of the reason why my body is like this,” Watson shared with the Jamaica Observer at The Verandah Resort and Spa here.

The tough-tackling central midfielder, who can easily be deployed in an offensive role as well, says it's easy for his contribution to the Boyz to be lost on people watching the game because


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