Watson caught in 'club vs country' dilemmaFriday, September 02, 2011
HOWARD WALKER with the REGGAE BOYZ IN QUITO, ECUADOR
QUITO, Ecuador — In April, Jamaican midfielder JeVaughn Watson had his dream realised when he signed a contract to play professional football for the Houston Dynamo in the United States (US) Major League.
It was a move that would help him develop as a player, and more importantly, financially.
Today, four months on, Watson's move has not turned into a nightmare as yet, but he is facing severe difficulties coping with what he describes as the ongoing battle with his club coach in the 'country versus club dilemma'.
"I don't know why, but every time I tend to leave to play for the national team it's like the coach don't want me to come.
"I don't know why because we have a full roster of 27 guys, so even if one leaves you must have guys to fill the spot," Watson told the Observer on Wednesday as he prepared for friendly international games against Ecuador and Colombia.
"That's not a good thing if they don't want you to come back and play for your country," the former Sporting Central midfielder reiterated.
Watson, who made his international debut in 2008 against El Salvador, is committed to his country and is willing to pay the price to wear the black, gold and green of his beloved Jamaica.
"If your national team calls, the national team calls. Right now, people are not going to say I play 600 times for Dynamo... I play 10 times for Jamaica," noted Watson, who hails from Clarendon.
The 27-year-old who led Garvey Maceo High to the semi-finals of the daCosta Cup and Ben Francis KO in 2005, said the problem started prior to the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June, which ironically was hosted in the United States.
"We had a discussion before when I went to the Gold Cup and after I went, he (the coach) actually told someone that when I came back, he is going to send me back to Jamaica.
"He didn't, so I went to him and asked him for a trade and he didn't either," Watson revealed.
Meanwhile, Jamaica's head coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore has weighed in on the ongoing controversy.
"This is a very serious issue we have at times and the public don't know these challenges that both ourselves as coaching staff and the (Jamaica Football) Federation face in getting the players to come and represent their country," Whitmore explained.
"... It's a sticky situation at the moment and the Federation is aware of what is happening and they are doing their best to sort it out in the best interest of the player, club and country," he added.
Watson, who has eight caps for Jamaica, was also peeved by the club's dragging of feet in dealing with his and teammate Jermaine Taylor's visa issue which caused a tremendous problem after travelling to Canada to play Vancouver recently.
"They say it's a professional environment and they are not keeping it at a professional level. My visa was supposed to be dealt with and they never dealt with it and it happened that Jermaine got stuck in Canada and I had to beg my way out to get back to the US," said Watson.
The talented midfielder came to prominence with some outrageous skills with his no-look Ronaldhino-style passes. His behind-the-leg through balls and tricks is, however, being stymied into a more subdued role in the MLS.
"Over there (US) they definitely don't want me to dribble or 'salad' people (putting the ball between an opponent's leg). They want you to just control and pass.
"But at the end of the day if you're a skilful player you have to play to the best of your ability. If you get a one-on-one you take them on, but you have to make sure it happens and nothing goes wrong so they don't complain," said Watson with a smile.
Watson disclosed that in a couple of games he took on opposing players and the crowd loved his exquisite skills, but not his coach, who reprimanded in at half-time.
"I have to change my game a bit, but I'm a hard worker and whatever they say, I just do it because at the end of the day you're trying to keep your job," said Watson.
"Houston Dynamo overall is a running team so you have to be fit and bring your A game every day. The fans there love me and I got my starting spot and that's all I wanted," he added.
As for life off the field, Watson said he has adopted well to the lifestyle and culture, with the help of fellow Jamaica international Lovell Palmer and roommate Taylor.
"It's not that hard because I room with Jermaine and Lovell was there before, so we get a lot of Jamaican food. But in Houston, there is nothing much to do. It is always hot... 120 degrees everyday and sometimes we train for like two hours per day. But you just have to go home and get your rest and come again the next day," he stated.
"It is a good experience playing out of Jamaica; different environment, different culture, football level is different.
"It's not really harder than Jamaican soccer, but it's the dedication you have to put in it. You have to do whatever to keep your job," Watson suggested.
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