Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
André McFarlane has brought creativity to the attack of his new club, Tivoli Gardens, since his arrival from Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) leaders Harbour View during the January transfer window.
He has been rewarded for his class and attitude on and off the field, as he was selected the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) Star Baller of the month.
McFarlane received a plaque and $30,000 recently from CHEC, sponsor of the monthly incentive added to the RSPL since November.
He played in all his team's six games in March and was nominated in three of those games by Tivoli's coach Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder/forward stamped his mark on the league in a competition dominated by the more experienced players, showing that there is no substitute for class.
Although scoring only one goal last month, he has been the main orchestrator of his team's attacks. His disciplinary record for the month has seen him pick up one yellow card.
"I was very excited on hearing the news of the award. It is added motivation for me. It is special, a great collection," McFarlane told The Gleaner earlier this week.
"I like the responsibility of creating plays, but it has been good teamwork that has seen us on the rise."
McFarlane, who played four Premier League games for Harbour View two years ago, has been a revelation for Tivoli, who found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the table for much of the first three rounds.
Like many other players, McFarlane has dreams of playing professional football overseas, as well as representing the national men's senior team, popularly called the Reggae Boyz.
"I want to spend many years at Tivoli, until I get a professional contract overseas," he noted.
Tivoli's assistant coach, Alvin Shaw, said: "He has brought a lot of creativity to the team's attack. He creates opportunities for others."
GOOD TECHNICAL SKILLS
Shaw disclosed: "He came on a trial basis to the club, and although out of shape, he showed good technical skills. And of the 50 players on trial, he was the only one selected. I told him some things to do, like extra work, and it appeared he has done some work on his own.
"He is capable of playing anywhere in midfield, as well as up front; he is one for the future, if he stays focused," Shaw added. "He is accepted by the other players and they have a good vibe. However, what I also admire about him is that he cannot be pushed around; although a quiet individual, he speaks his mind.
"We have given him an opportunity to showcase his skills and he is taking it in strides," Shaw also said.
McFarlane started playing competitive football at age nine for Passagefort in the Portmore Under-13 league. He then moved to Police FC and was their leading scorer and MVP at age 15 in the Under-17 competition.
He represented Waterford High in the Manning Cup and played a critical role in the Portmore-based school's historic appearance in the final in 2010. Waterford lost 3-0 to champions Jamaica College at the National Stadium.
Upon leaving school, McFarlane went to Waterhouse FC. He then moved to Harbour View. McFarlane also played for two months in New York. Now he is at Tivoli dazzling with his skills on the pitch.