Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
Lenworth Hyde Jr is working overtime. The attacking midfielder, who is also called 'Little Lenny' because of ball-handling skill he possesses which is similar to that of his father - one-time national star linkman Lenworth Hyde Sr - is putting in an extra shift to increase fitness, as he seeks to claim his place in the Humble Lion den.
Only recently, Hyde Jr joined the Clarendon-based club's lair for the 2011-12 National Premier League competition.
The former Tivoli Gardens and Harbour View player has been training with the team for just over a month and is expected to figure prominently in the Humble Lion team, which is also coached by his father.
"I have been in the US (United States) for a while. I wasn't playing competitive football, so I decided to come and join the Humble Lion team and get back in top shape," Hyde disclosed. "I am presently getting back my fitness and sharpness, so all being well I should start playing soon."
Known as a menacing, attacking player, Hyde Jr played for his father's alma mater, Clarendon College, in the daCosta Cup competition. After leaving high school, he joined the Tivoli Gardens Football Club.
Hyde Jr played a key role in Tivoli Gardens, winning the 2003-04 National Premier League championship, notching 11 goals in the campaign.
No work permit
He scored a hat-trick against Village United in the semi-finals of the Premier League (2003-04) and scored another goal in the final against Harbour View.
Hyde Jr then transferred to Harbour View FC in the 2005-06 Premier League season, but later returned to Tivoli in January of 2007. He then left for the US at the end of the 2007 season.
"When I just went to the US, I played for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the A League and did very well," Hyde Jr said. "The Silverbacks staff took me to the North Carolina Wilmington Hammerheads that play in the USL. I made the team (2008-09), but couldn't get a work permit so I didn't get to play."
After the Hammerheads experience, Hyde Jr tried out for different Major League Soccer (MLS) teams, but wasn't lucky to get a contract.
"I also tried out for teams from Switzerland and Sweden (DK Atkins) that came over to the US," he disclosed. "They were interested in me but at the time I couldn't travel out of the country so that fell through. After a while I lost my fitness."
Now 28 years old, Hyde Jr said that he is working hard on his game, trying to get back into tip-top shape.
"I have been training two times a day. I train with the club one time a day and then I train by myself a second time," he said.
Commenting on his experience so far at Humble Lion, he said it has been encouraging.
"The players have given me a warm welcome, they love my energy, they feed off my energy. I want to help them to win consistently. We have a good team," he observed. "We just need some more matches under our belts and we will get better."