NAME: Tajay Small
DOB: July 5, 1994
POSITION: Right Back
CLUB: Flamingo FC
GOALS: 2; ASSISTS: 2
AS we interviewed Tajay Small in Stars-Of-Tomorrow, he was not shy to say that by age eight, he had already been competing in competitive football competitions. At the time, he was drafted in the Under-12 team at Boys' Town United team and had already cultivated the competitive spirit.
Enrolled at the Eltham High School, the football fanatic has already been fortunate enough to have plied his trade on the international scene. The youngster spoke with TEENage about his love for the sport, and the amusement that gives him the drive to continue.
TEENage: What thrills you about the sport?
Small: Well, what thrills me is the feeling of scoring a goal, or the feeling of helping my team to victory.
TEENage: What do you remember about your debut game?
Small: Oh, I can't forget that game. It was against Arnett Gardens, our main rivals at Boys' Town. I was nervous, but gradually came into my own. I also provided an assist on a goal. So, I would say that it was a great debut game.
TEENage: What would you say are your achievements in football?
Small: I won the Under-17 title at Cooreville United in the 2007/08 season. I also got called up in the Manning Cup team at Eltham High. I was the youngest player in the squad at that time, so I was really happy. I also got called up to the National Under-17 World Cup squad. In 2010, I won the Under-20 championship with Cooreville at age 14, and as a defender, I played a pivotal role that season. That same year, in the summer, I was scouted, and I got the chance to represent the Tampa Bay United team in Florida. I was also fortunate to have scored the lone goal to qualify our team for the Super Y Youth Level North American finals. I was also privileged to have captained the team as a Jamaican.
TEENage: Where do you see yourself in the future?
Small: I see myself playing in Europe or America. Don't have a club of preference, but it is my dream to play in one of those countries.
TEENage: What are some of the improvements that you would love to see in Jamaican football?
Small: Though there are a lot, first, I would say that football in Jamaica should be promoted more frequently. Financial resources are needed. Academies are to be built, so that we can foster our young players properly.
TEENage: Considering that you have had experience on the international scene, what is so different about their fostering of players and the promoting of football?
Small: Well, when I was at Tampa Bay United (Florida), I realise that the coaches are very diligent in teaching us how to play the sport. If it's your will, they will keep you on the pitch the entire day, just to have us improving on our weak areas. For example, how to position your body, how to pass, ball control, etc. Regarding the advertising aspect, the advertisements are perfect. The sport is everywhere; on billboards, television advertisements, it's everywhere.
TEENage: Who is your favourite professional player? And why?
Small: I would have to say Ronaldinho. I think he is a football phenomenon. I have always admired his confidence. He's very skillful. He's always smiling. He's just a joy to watch.
TEENage: How do you prepare for a game?
Small: Well, I try to keep focused on the task at hand. I also keep my body hydrated.
TEENage: What would be your few words for aspiring players?
Small: Well, I think all youngsters must have a fixed goal to work at. Put God first and work hard even in challenging times. Take education serious! Ensure that you have a plan to fall back on if your initial goals are not achieved.
— Dwayne Williams