Nodley Wright, Sunday Gleaner Writer
There will be at least two more Jamaicans in the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) when the season kicks off on March 2.
Former St Elizabeth student Deshorn Brown and Jason Johnson, formerly of Knox College and Manchester High School, were picked up in the MLS Superdraft on Friday. Brown was drafted by Colorado Rapids, the former team of countryman Omar Cummings with the sixth pick, while Johnson was selected 13th by the Houston Dynamos. Johnson will join fellow Jamaicans Jermaine Taylor, Je-Vaughn Watson and Cummings at the Dynamos.
9 J'cans in MLS
The duo's selection brings the number of Jamaican players in the MLS to nine but could increase with Ashton Bennett yet to be picked up with four rounds of the draft to come on Tuesday. Khari Stephenson, Tyrone Marshall and Dicoy Williams were with clubs last season.
"It is a great feeling. I have been working hard for this ever since I started playing football. In high school and college this is what I worked and dreamed for, to play professional football," said Brown, a six-footer who spent two seasons with the University of Mobile before scoring 13 goals in 16 games for the University of Central Florida in his only season.
The only thing that could have been better for Brown at this time would have been to play alongside Omar Cummings who shone for the club before being traded to Houston Dynamos in the off season.
"It would have been happier there with him (Cummings) here but there is no turning back. The situation is what it is so there is no changing that," Brown stated.
Like Brown, Johnson viewed his drafting as the fulfilment of a dream.
"This is the fulfilment of a dream for me as it opens the door to a professional career. Just the fact that I got drafted is great," said the 22-year-old who represented Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
"Being drafted by Houston is a plus as there are three other Jamaicans there so the transition should be faster for me," added the player who stands at 5'11''.
Johnson, who earned his only senior cap in 2010 in a 1-2 loss away to Argentina after proving himself at the Under-23 level, said his focus now was to "help my team to win and to get back to the Cup final".
eyes on the nat'l team
As for the national team, Johnson said that it is still in his line of sight.
"I still have my eyes on the national team but I will wait on that call," said the reigning Atlantic-10 Offensive Player of the Year who scored 26 goals with 10 assists in his three years at VCU.
Brown, meanwhile, said he will be doing his best to be a part of the set-up.
"I want to do my best so that I could get the opportunity to play for my country and even represent the country in the World Cup as we still have a chance to qualify and I want to do my part," he said confidently.