Bennett nets MLS contract
Reid headed to USL
Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Former national under-20 football representative, Ashton Bennett, is the latest Jamaican addition to the Major League Soccer (MLS) roster, having secured a four-year deal with Toronto FC.
Bennett, who went through the United States collegiate system - having studied at Costal Carolina University - was the Canada-based club's first pick in the supplemental draft second round.
Bennett's deal was overseen by his agent, Romell Wallen, who heads Pro-Goals Sports, which is based in the United States.
"Ashton (Bennett) has signed a four-year deal with Toronto. He has worked hard on this one and I'm just pleased that he has been rewarded," Wallen expressed.
"It is a wonderful feeling, as it was always a dream of mine to play professional (football) and I have finally gotten that chance, so it is overwhelming and I am really thankful," Bennett said.
The former Garvey Maceo High School student, who won the daCosta Cup and Ben Francis Cup in 2007 before joining Premier League club Portmore United, left the island four years ago.
"At first it was challenging to settle, as I had to adjust to the food, the culture and language," Bennett shared. "Being from Jamaica I had to try to speak proper English, so they can understand me and break away a little from the Patois."
Despite being the only Jamaican at the club, with countryman Ryan Johnson having departed for Portland Timbers in December, Bennett, who plays forward, has been adjusting well.
"It is a great environment and the players are nice and they make me feel welcomed, and it has been a great experience, as I am learning a lot through observation."
Wallen has also secured a one-year deal for national midfielder Rohan Reid, to join United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division club, Charlotte Eagles, for an undisclosed sum.
Reid is set to leave for the United States within the next 10 days, having already acquired a work permit.
"This is an act of God and I believe this is a result of being true to the sport and being disciplined, so I just have to grab it with both hands and do my best and move forward to better things," the 29-year-old central midfielder said. "Being in that league (USL), you are exposed to a wider audience, as every coach in the MLS watches that league and coaches from elsewhere in the world as well, because it is broadcast on Fox Sports World."
Charlotte Eagles is the partner club of MLS team Seattle Sounders and Wallen is optimistic that by the end of the season Reid will secure a move to the top division.
"I'm really pleased for Rohan (Reid), he deserves this opportunity and we're grateful that Charlotte has shown faith in signing him," Wallen said. "Despite his age, it is my belief that this move takes him closer to a bigger move."