Mount Pleasant Football Academy's newly signed Kaïlé Auvray will be looking to bring the experience of playing in different football environments to the team when the new Jamaica Premier League season kicks off next month.
Mount Pleasant signed the winger earlier this week, looking to add to their firepower for the upcoming season, as well as the Concacaf Caribbean Cup when they take part later next year.
Auvray, although only 19 years old, has played in Europe and North America in his club career and already has senior international football experience, having played for Trinidad and Tobago in two friendly matches against Jamaica in March.
These, he says, were where Mount Pleasant scouted him before making an offer for him. At this time, he was finishing up his contract at Sporting Kansas City II in Major League Soccer (MLS) Next Pro in the United States of America (USA).
"When I played with Trinidad in the two friendlies in Jamaica, it was my first time playing in front of the Jamaican public," Auvray told the Jamaica Observer. "It opened a few eyes and further created this link."
Auvray, born in Caen, France, also played for Lille II in that country, and Minnesota United 2 in MLS Next Pro. Internationally, he has also represented the USA at the Under-17 level having lived in that country since he was six years old. He also represented St Martin, where his Guadeloupian father, Stéphane, is the head coach. His Trinidadian mother, was supportive, like his father, of his move to Mount Pleasant.
"It was very positive because obviously, my family is happy to have me closer," he said. "If you want to look at track and field, and even now so with football, Jamaica takes a lot of value in its athletes, so I know that working hard, everything will be put in place. They take their athletes very seriously in this country."
But being in Jamaica by himself does not faze Auvray as he says he is used to travelling alone for football.
"Honestly, it's something I've done my whole life," he said. "When I was 13, I moved to Guadeloupe by myself for football in order to be in a French territory to have more chances to get to Europe. From that young age, I've had to go to different environments. When I was in France, I was also by myself so this is definitely nothing new. What's even better, being in Jamaica it's closer to home and honestly feels like home due to the proximity."
Auvray was enticed by Mount Pleasant not only because they are JPL champions, but he was also looking forward to working with former national player and Head Coach Theodore Whitmore.
"He's very known throughout the Caribbean," Auvray said. "I'm aware he's a former player for the national team, obviously, he was the national team coach, also. I've been working with him now for the past couple of days since I reached.
"I'm aware that Mount Pleasant are Premier League champions. That's something important, knowing that you're coming into a strong team. They also showed confidence in me through the communication and since I've been here, I really feel that there's a project that I want to be a part of."
Auvray is pleased with the facilities at Mount Pleasant.
"I find that the facilities are pretty good," he said. "You have fields, you have a proper gym. Everything is provided, the food. I find that the infrastructure is very good, especially for the Caribbean, also.
"So far, I've been settling very well. My teammates have been very welcoming. I'm getting along well with everybody, so praise God for that.
"I remember Sue-Lae [McCalla], who was the right back [in the game against Jamaica], and also Demario Phillips. I was happy to see a couple of familiar faces and be able to chat a bit about the games and exchange a bit about our different experiences and it was good.
"Now we're going to be teammates so there's no longer a rivalry."
Auvray says although he is looking forward to scoring and assisting numerous goals this season, the bigger picture for him is the team doing well.
"The target is to be as efficient as I can be, and to get on the scoresheet," he said. "Assisting is important to help a team, as a forward your goal is to score and get the assist but first and foremost, it's for the team to be successful, then individually to be successful through the team, not the other way around."