Jourdaine Fletcher eyes recall to Reggae Boyz

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Monday, October 22, 2018

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TUCKER, St James — After a tumultuous last two years, mercurial former national striker Jourdaine Fletcher says he is focused and ready to return to the national set-up and play alongside his former high school teammate, Peter-Lee Vassell.

Fletcher scored his first goal in the Red Stripe Premier League season last week Sunday, a sumptuous left footer from the right side of the Humble Lion defensive area, curling it just past the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Damion Crooks to rescue a point for Montego Bay United in a 1-1 draw at WesPow Park.

The former schoolboy prodigy, who also had a season in the American Junior College circuit at San Jacinto in Houston, Texas, said he is taking his time and being patient, as he builds up to what he hopes will be a return to his best.

“I want to get back to the national team,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “I want to get the chance to play alongside my favourite player Peter-Lee Vassell, so that is my aim right now.”

Vassell, who is in his second season with Harbour View, has been a revelation since he was called up by Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore, cementing his place in the starting team.

Fletcher and Vassell had been teammates through their careers at Howard Cooke Primary and Cornwall College, where they won titles at all levels — Under-14, Under-16 and daCosta Cup.

Fletcher scored over 30 goals, a number of them set up by Vassell, in 2016 when Cornwall College won the daCosta Cup for a 12th time, being the first rural school to make it to the final of the Super Cup Knockout but losing to Wolmer's Boys'.

While his recent goal was special for many because of its technical quality, a tribute to any player at any level, Fletcher said it was only special to him because it helped him to gauge his progress.

“Of course it was a special goal for me because I had not scored in the first four games, and now in the fifth game I got off the mark,” said the player who came off the bench to score the winner against Harbour View in his Premier League debut in the 2016-17 season.

“I turned, and when I looked I saw the goalkeeper off the line and I just fired,” he said, rejecting suggestions that after such a long goal-scoring drought he might have been struggling or getting frustrated.

“No, I did not feel that I was struggling in the games. I am focused and just ready for whatever comes; there were no frustrations with me not scoring goals. I am being patient and hoping for good things,” he said, adding that he was still working on getting up to full match fitness.

After his final season in high school, Fletcher experienced the highs of playing in two finals — from winning the golden boot for his eight goals in four games in the Super Cup, scoring on his Premier League debut, and getting called up for the national senior team, to the lows of his attitude and discipline being questioned in the national media.

He took up a scholarship at San Jacinto in the US junior college system but after a decent first season, the Houston-based school decided to cut the programme and he was transferred to a school in Florida, but came home instead.

Fletcher said while he learned a lot in his short stint in the United States, he did not think the level of football was up to the standard that would get him where he wanted, hence his return to the Premier League.

“The standard of football that we played in the US was not that good for me, which is the main reason that I am back. But it was not a total waste because I did learn a lot there which is helping me now. I never really liked to train while I was here but over there I got to really understand what training is really all about, and that is one of the main things for me right now to understand that I need to work hard in training to get results on the field.”

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