Morris gets new lease on life - After heart surgery, Portmore midfielder aims to regain spot on national team
Nodley Wright, Gleaner Writer
Stephen Williams will be on record as scoring Portmore United's equaliser against Waterhouse during their 1-1 draw in Monday night's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) football encounter. But the architect of Portmore United's strike was midfielder Ricardo Morris, the man behind his team's offensive thrust.
Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson had fired Waterhouse into the lead in the 34th minute, benefiting from the industry of Nicholi Finlayson, before Williams' 79th-minute equaliser.
With both teams battling early to master the heavy winds, the only player to demonstrate consistent quality was the 20-year-old Morris, who troubled the Waterhouse defenders with his dribbles and precise passing.
The draw kept Portmore United in second position on 42 points and reduced their deficit with Harbour View to 10 points, while Waterhouse inched up to fifth position on goal difference ahead of Montego Bay United.
HAPPY WITH DRAW
"I feel good knowing that I set up the equaliser. We really wanted to win to close the gap on Harbour View and keep the pressure on them, but I am happy that we did not lose, because a draw is better than a loss every day," the former St James High School star said.
Even though his team is not leading, Morris is reasonably happy with his performance so far.
"My season has been better than last year and I can see that the hard work is paying off," he added.
Hard work is what it took to get Morris back to this stage where he is playing and influencing games as in 2010 he faced an uncertain future in the sport because of a hole in his heart. That condition forced him to be withdrawn from the national squad and corrective surgery undertaken a few months later.
"On March 11, 2010, I had surgery to patch the hole in my heart. Then, it was not the easiest thing for me, as I live for football, and not being able to play was really frustrating. It was really depressing - wanting to move around and not having the energy or running out of breath very easily," he explained.
With determination, the man who was set to make his national debut as a 17-year-old before he was pulled out of the national squad ahead of a friendly international against Cost Rica on the discovery of his heart abnormality was back playing competitively in under six months.
"I played in the daCosta Cup the September of that year and played in the STETHS Cup a little before that. It was good to be playing then, but it was not the same, and I only started to feel like myself again last season when Portmore United won the Premier League and I was a part of that.
"This season is much better for me, but I know there is greater and more that I can do, but I just have to keep putting in the work. I remember when I was a part of the national squad at 17 and it is my plan to get back there. I see that happening soon, as every day I am getting better and I just need to keep showing it," said Williams.
The ever-present smile on his face Morris said is because of his happiness.
"It is like a new life for me, getting a second chance at life. I play every game as if I am in a final. It is the joy of playing, that is why you always see that smile on my face," said the player who dreams of playing professionally abroad. That could happen soon if things continue to go the way they are for the St James native.
6 p.m. Arnett Gardens vs Boys' Town at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex
7 p.m. Harbour View vs Humble Lion at Harbour View Mini Stadium
7 p.m. Montego Bay United vs Highgate United at Catherine Hall Complex
3 p.m Savannah vs Tivoli Gardens at Frome Sports Complex
3 p.m. Sporting Central Academy vs Portmore United View FC at Brancourt
6 p.m. Waterhouse vs Cavalier at Drewsland Stadium