TG’s ‘Teddy’ wants to win JPL for son and community
Veteran Tivoli Gardens midfielder, Jermaine ‘Teddy’ Johnson, says he has decided to play what could be his last season in the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) because he is desperate to take the title back to the west Kingston-based club before he hangs up his boots.
Johnson who will turn 41 on June 25, the day before the start of the JPL, told The Gleaner that he was also motivated by his 10-year-old son to return for this season’s competition.
“Last season was going to be last but my son said to me, ‘daddy, I want to see you play in the league and win it’ and I said to him, ‘son I am going to do it for you’, ” said Johnson.
“I also want to once again feel the joy of winning the championships because the last time I won it was a very long time ago and so I need to win it again for the community before I hang up my boots,” he said. The attacking midfielder last won the competition with Tivoli Gardens during the 1998-1999 season, before leaving the island to ply his trade in England.
Johnson, who received gunshot wounds to his back and abdomen during a drive-by shooting in central Kingston last September, noted that he is still feeling the effects of these injuries and, therefore, his build-up to this year’s championships has been pretty slow.
“I am doing my best to get fit because we just started training and the sessions have been going good so far and I am doing everything to ensure that I get to where I want to be before the season starts,” said Johnson.
“I am still feeling pains now and then because as you know the gunshot wound was in my chest and so it gives me a little problem sometimes, but God is helping me and I am doing the best that I can do to recover properly,” he said.
READY TO PLAY
“I am not going to be fully fit for the start of the league but I know that I will be in good condition so that whenever the coaches call upon me, I will be ready to play,” Johnson said.
He underscored that one of his responsibilities in the team this season is to provide leadership and guidance for the youngsters in the Tivoli squad.
“My role is also to help mentor the players and to motivate them as well and bring that positive leadership vibe to the team,” Johnson said.
“This is pretty much a young team with an average age of about 25 with a few experienced players, but I think they are ready to do damage in the league this year,” he said.