Portmore's Willis hopes to make best of 'Steel' moveFriday, February 01, 2019
Portmore United midfield maestro Chavany “Pebbles” Willis has joined USL outfit Bethlehem Steel on a one-year loan deal with the option to extend, the Jamaica Observer has learnt.
The central midfielder left the island on Wednesday where he will commence training at a pre-season camp in Tampa, Florida, with US Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union, an affiliate of Bethlehem Steel.
Willis, 21, who moved from local club Boys' Town FC to Red Stripe Premier League champions Portmore in 2017, was delighted at the opportunity to play in a full professional environment.
“This is a dream come true… I'm very happy, so is my family. Football is my passion and the best decision I made so far in my very short professional career is to sign for Portmore United (as) the club believes in young talent and I have benefitted from the exposure, not only in the local Premier League, but importantly, the Concacaf League and Caribbean Club Championship, which without a doubt, have provided me with the platform to hone my talent and be seen,” he told the Observer yesterday.
Willis, who has scored five goals for Portmore this season, said he hopes to take the opportunity with both hands.
“I'm looking forward to giving my best to my new club Bethlehem Steel, and also the opportunity to grow even more as I continue to learn the game in every way possible. My goal is to break into the MLS team and also Jamaica's national team, and I intend to work extremely hard to make it happen,” said the midfielder, whose reputation is growing as a dead ball specialist.
Portmore United general manager Clive Marshall said the club was happy for the player and the growth opportunity the move will provide.
“We are pleased with the loan arrangement we have reached with Bethlehem Steel (as) we believe it will accord Chavany with the right opportunity to continue his development. The more we can get our players exposed in professional markets, the more they will grow.
“Getting our players into professional outfits overseas fits into the Portmore philosophy… in keeping with that, we will continue our main objective of developing talents and provide them with the opportunity to maximise the economic potential,” Marshall noted.
Willis hopes to follow in the footsteps of Reggae Boyz striker Cory Burke, who played a couple of seasons with Bethlehem Steel before being promoted to parent club Philadelphia Union, where he made 29 appearances last season, scoring 10 goals.
The midfielder, recognised for his broad abilities, joins Portmore teammates Maalique Foster, Ewan Grandison and Jermie Lynch who have this season made moves to international clubs.
— Sean Williams