Sky is the limit for young marksman Marvin Morgan
Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport
CONFIDENTLY, is how Marvin Morgan Jr is going about the business of building a football career. He gave that career a nice little boost with a double strike, in Jamaica's 4-0 win over Guyana, in their Digicel Caribbean Cup final Group I matchup, at the Riviere Pilote Stadium here on Wednesday night.
That it was the final group match and brought little pressure, as Jamaica were already virtually assured of winning the group, didn't matter to the 18-year-old St George's College schoolboy, who was looking to grab the chance with both hands.
As it turned out, he got more than he bargained for as he not only got his first international goal for his country, but a nice little double.
"First and foremost I want to thank God, I want to thank everyone who believed in me because I went out there and I finally got a goal for Jamaica and I'm overwhelmed," he said, smiling cheek to cheek while addressing the media after the match.
His outpouring of joy was no different than when he had scored the first goal - followed by a sprint across the pitch to the Jamaica team bench to Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, the national head coach.
"I went to thank him because it's an opportunity and I made use of it, and I went to thank him because my agent and a team from overseas are watching the game and he actually gave me the chance just to convince them, so I really went to thank him," Morgan expressed.
"My agent told me that all I have to do is just do what I need to do when I go on tour because he'll be watching the game along with an overseas team," he added, pointing to outside interests. "He didn't specify the team, but I just did what I had to do."
Meanwhile, Whitmore, a former Reggae Boyz captain who played professionally in Britain for years, welcomed Morgan's contribution, but noted that his journey has just started.
"(It's) his second international and two goals," he said. "I think he still has a long way to go and I hope he just keeps his head, keeps focused and think about his game."
The teen, who went to Mona High before earning a transfer to St George's, where he won the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield titles last season, as well as the competition's most valuable player's prize, has gone to Europe on several occasions, as his representatives seek a contract on his behalf.
He has been involved in the national senior programme for a short period, having been invited to some camps and played against Trinidad and Tobago in Jamaica, before Wednesday night's 45-minute run from half-time.
"I am not getting enough playing time, which I kind of understand because you've a lot of experienced players and overseas players," he admits. "I learn a lot from them and it's good to see I'm playing with them. Actually, I dream to play with these guys and I look at them as role models."
In terms of comfort, he says it's just as he appeared on the ball against Guyana, and as usual, quite at ease.
"I wasn't nervous at all. I just went out there, I did what I had to do and the coach told me to just be humble. Likewise, the players and I know I had to score because the people in Jamaica are just behind me 100 per cent," he said beaming. "I had to show them that this is me and this is what I'm capable of, so I just went out there and did it."
His exploits, though at a tender age, are not surprising, given the exploits of his father Marvin Sr, and his grandfather, Lloyd 'Respic' Morgan, an all-rounder who represented Jamaica at both cricket, as a left-hand bat and off-spinner; and football, as a goalkeeper. Both were students of that great Boys' Town tradition, and it isn't surprising that Marvin Jr has followed in their footsteps to now represent the club in Digicel Premier League football.
It's a legacy he feels pressured to uphold.
"It's a heavy weight because I have to continue down that road, it's a trend. It's my dream and at all times I have to be at my best because people look up to me, even kids. I have to be there at all times," he said, eyes popping wide open.
Asked about encouragement from his grandfather, in light of the fact that he has already travelled that road, he said: "He's a humble man and I respect that he's a humble man.
"My father, he has been there for me too, because without him I wouldn't have been here, and I want to thank him very much for that, and my grandfather also, obviously, because he played a part because without him there wouldn't be my father and without my father there wouldn't be me, so I want to thank them very much."
There are others, too, to whom he expressed gratitude for this latest chance.
"I went overseas on a couple of occasions and I see what it takes to get into the national team, and I want to thank Mr Horace Reid (JFF general secretary), Mr Burrell (JFF president), the coach (Whitmore), because this is why the people overseas love me. I am very privileged, I am very honoured to be in the squad," he said.
Now, at least, he appears ready to take his chance, full of the self-belief with which he answered his senior teammates prior to Wednesday's match.
"As I said to the players when they came to me before the game, and they were like, 'you're ready', and I said, 'mi born ready, if mi never ready mi wouldn't deh here.' So any time I'm given the opportunity I will take it," he said.