Mon | Apr 24, 2017

‘Teddy’ looking to give Tivoli Gardens a lift

Published:Monday | September 7, 2015 | 9:00 AMLivingston Scott
Jermaine Johnson of Tivoli Gardens (right) plots over the ball, while Cavalier SC’s Jerome Smith (centre) and Al Nesbeth react, during yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League season opener at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex. The game ended 0-0.

Jermaine 'Teddy' Johnson showed glimpses of his mercurial talent in Tivoli Gardens' opening Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football game against Cavalier, which ended 0-0 at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex yesterday.

However, it wasn't the sublime performance the home fans and many football observers had anticipated.

The former Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday striker, who is presently out of contract, told The Gleaner that although his intention is to return overseas, he wants to help the West Kingston club win trophies again.

He insists, though, that he is not a one-man band and needs the support of his teammates to be successful.

"Every time you play, you want to win a trophy or the competition, and that is my aim, try to help the team (Tivoli Gardens) win a trophy," he said.

 

TEAMWORK

 

"I can't believe that I am the one (to lead Tivoli back to the top), because we are a team, and we have to work as a team for everything to come together, so we have to believe in ourselves and try to go out and do it every game," he continued.

Johnson last played for Indy Eleven in the North American Soccer League (NASL). But he injured his shoulder - which required an operation - last October and has not played since.

The 35-year-old is confident that as long as his fitness continues to improve, he will get better.

"We never really got into the game today (Sunday), but it's the first game (of the season). We just have to come the next game and try to do our best, and just keep the focus and keep the confidence going, and once I get fit, everything is possible," he said.

The tricky playmaker still has his sights set on a national recall.

"I haven't played any competitive football since October, since I did surgery, so I just came down here to try and get fit and see what is possible for me in the longer run.

 

FOCUSING ON TIVOLI

 

"All the time you are looking to go overseas to play football, but right now I am just concentrating on Tivoli, the players and the fans, and trying to get a trophy for the team," he said.

"You also always want to play for your country, but it is up to the coaching staff to give you that chance. And it's up to you as well to try and play for the coaching staff to see you," he continued.

The striker was taken out of the game with under 10 minutes remaining after aggravating his shoulder from a first-half tackle.

Tivoli's coach, Christopher Bender, said it was unfortunate he had to pull the striker as he brings more than just talent to the team, and he has no doubt the former Oldham Athletic man will soon discover his magical touch.

"Teddy brings experience and talent. He is a very dedicated person, and now he is different as he is more mature," Bender commented.

"He also helps the training in how we imparts knowledge to the youngsters, so he is very valuable to the team. But the next game he will be better," he assured.

 

Yesterday's Results

 

- Tivoli Gardens 0

Cavalier 0

- MoBay United 0

Portmore 2

- Rivoli United 0

Waterhouse 0

- Reno 1 Humble Lion 0

- Harbour View 1 Boys'

Town 1

 

Tonight's match

 

8:30 p.m. Arnett Gardens vs UWI FC at Anthony Spaulding Sports Club.