More to come
Professional Football Jamaica Chief Executive Officer Owen Hill says Trivante Stewart’s move to Italian club Salernitana is only one of many high-profile transfers to come for the Jamaica Premier League (JPL).
Stewart transferred into Italy’s top division Serie A, which is widely regarded as one of the top football leagues in the world and a top-five European league. It also represents a shift in JPL departures, whereby recent transfers regularly saw players moving to leagues in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Central America.
“We definitely will see more talent being exported,” Hill told the Jamaica Observer.
“It’s not a one-off. It’s part of an overall strategy, which is why we have spoken about the ecosystem of football. It’s less about the individual clubs and more about the collective thrust.
“If you have a vibrant league playing in quality stadiums and pitches of a certain standard, with coaches of a certain pedigree, then chances are the talent will be developed and be exportable. If we have more exportable talent, then our economy stands to benefit heavily from that.”
But Hill says that for more transfers, clubs have to continue doing their part to get players ready for export.
“Their own development is primarily in focus as well, because if they’re not ready to leave, then when they make that transition, oftentimes they’ll be returning to ply their trade back in Jamaica,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen. We want them to grow, develop, get exposure, leave, earn massive salaries and exposure for the country and their family, as well as the parent club they may be a part of over the years.”
Hill described Stewart’s move as “massive and fantastic”.
“It’s a big boost for the league and what we’re doing locally for the close to 500 players who play in the Jamaica Premier League,” he said. “It helps whenever any player is exported from the local shores to international spaces, especially more established football clubs. What it then means is that scouts are looking at the league and the talent across the league itself. It then means that sporting directors are also interested in the players that are a part of our set-up.”
Stewart, 23, scored 30 goals in 66 games last season, en route to Mount Pleasant’s first national title. His move to Salernitana is a three-year deal.