Posted on October 17, 2011
By O’Jay Burgess
In the world of CONCACAF soccer, nations go through a vast amount of players or rely one the same bunch.
Mexico has had a number of overhauls. I remember when Nery Castillo was the hottest thing in Europe and was a staple on the Tricolor’s team sheet. Now, he is nowhere to be seen. zif not for Google I wouldn’t have known he has gone back to Greece with lowly Aris to ply his trade.
Cuba is even worse. You don’t know who is going to show up.
In contrast how can Canada move forward without Dwayne DeRosario? I can’t remember a Canadian game without him.
Jamaica’s Donovan Ricketts is a must in the Reggae Boyz for more than a decade.
He is a very old fashion goalkeeper down to the long pants he occasionally sports. Tall, which modern goalkeepers seem not be anymore and very intimidating, he is no David De Gea. With a 6-5 frame you know what you get. He stands tall and covers the box well and surprisingly for such a muscular man has some very sharp reflexes, a very sound goalkeeper on the air and on the ground.
Ricketts began his football career in Falmouth for Village United, featuring 19 times in his first stint.
The big man’s talent could not be contained within Jamaica’s borders so England was the keeper’s first port of call. Bolton provided the Jamaican his first professional contract but that is all the Wanderers could offer him. He never played for the Manchester club so he was loaned out to Bradford City. There he found a home and the loan became permanent and the custodian spent three years in West Yorkshire, making 108 appearances.
In 2008, Ricketts returned home to Village United and made a cameo in United’s season, brief because shortly after his return he set out on his North American adventure. The LA Galaxy is where he has been since 2008 and he is no doubt one of the premier goalkeepers in Major League Soccer even was named the league’s best goalkeeper in 2010.
The only surviving member of Jamaica’s 1998 World Cup side, Ricketts has been involved with the Green & Gold since that time. Jamaica’s trip to France was just that for the giant goalkeeper. He didn’t feature in his nation’s brief run but now one gets the sense that this may be his chance to be active in a World Cup thanks to its glitzy performances and dogged style that has seen the island named as a seeded team in regional World Cup qualifying.
For now the Reggae Boyz don’t have to run the gauntlet against the likes of Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica for once can sit pretty like the Americans and Mexicans.
Jamaica can now plot and plan its way to Brazil and Ricketts with his experience can literally shut the door on the Caribbean side’s opposition.
Photo: Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts will be a key man during Jamaica’s qualifying run. Andy Mead/YCJ
Categories: Caribbean, Guest Writer, Jamaica, My Two Cents
Tags: 1998 World Cup, Donovan Ricketts, LA Galaxy, Major League Soccer, Reggae Boyz