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'This is my country' - US-based under-20 McFarlane pledges future to Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica's junior Reggae Boy Sean McFarlane (left) celebrates scoring his team's first goal against Suriname with teammate Kareem McFarlane, during their Group B Caribbean Football Union Finals football match on Thursday at the Stadium East playing field. Jamaica won the game 3-0. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter

Overseas-based Under-20 Jamaica representative Sean McFarlane has pledged his future to the country after impressing during the just-concluded Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Finals, where he helped the country to top the tournament and earn a spot in next year's final round of qualifying for the Youth World Cup.

McFarlane, who resides in Florida, United States (US), and attends Saint Leo University, scored a spectacular opening goal in Jamaica's 3-0 win over Suriname at Stadium East last week Thursday. That result contributed significantly to the young Reggae Boyz emerging as the region's top-seeded team by virtue of a superior goal difference.

"I am actually eligible to represent the US because I have been a citizen for eight years now," McFarlane revealed. "But this is an opportunity for me to come back home where I was based, so this is a great opportunity for me to represent Jamaica.

"It is an honour to get my first goal here; my first goal in my second game. Words can't even express how I feel."

McFarlane originated from Trench Town and attended Lannaman's Preparatory and Boys' Town All-Age before departing the island when he was 11 years old to live with his mother.

He follows a long line of young footballers who have left the island's shores to live and study abroad, but not all have opted to return home and represent the country.

The highest-profile player, who has chosen to represent his country of residence instead of his country of birth, is Liverpool's young starlet, Raheem Sterling.

Nineteen-year-old McFarlane is, however, assuring that he has no intention of turning his back on his roots.

"There will be no switch; this is where I will be forever. This is my country, this is where I was born; this is home for me," McFarlane stated. "It was a dream of my family for me to play for Jamaica. From I was 11 and I went to America, I said, "I am going to come back home and I am going to play like my uncle and my dad wanted to play, but they never got to because of the violence here. I said, "I am not going to let that stop me", so I decided to go to America, do my best, make the best of my opportunity and come back here and represent my country."

The versatile player, who can play centre back, right wing or in a forward position, represented the Lions (St Leo) in 11 games last season, scoring three goals to finish in the top five goalscorers for the team.

McFarlane is now into his second year at Saint Leo, where he is studying forensic psychology.

"My goal is to become a professional footballer and play for as long I am able to and then after that just relax, maybe come back home and see what forensic psychology can do for the people here in Jamaica," McFarlane outlined.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com