Reggae Boyz midfielder Peter-Lee Vassell was yesterday selected by Los Angeles Football Club in the second round and 40th overall of the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft held in Chicago, the only Jamaican who was drafted on the first day of the event.
Vassell, who represents Harbour View FC in the Red Stripe Premier League after winning the ISSA daCosta Cup with Cornwall College in 2016, is expected to compete for a spot in the team when the 2019 season starts in March.
He is expected to join a list of Jamaicans playing in the MLS including former Harbour View defender Kemar Lawrence, who plays for the New York Red Bulls, goalkeeper Andre Blake and Cory Burke at the Philadelphia Union, and Darren Mattocks, who recently moved from DC United to FC Cincinnati.
The 20-year-old Vassell, who was the top player in the first-ever MLS Caribbean Combine held in Kingston and was invited to a series of matches for potential draftees in Florida, was in Chicago for the draft said in a live television interview he was happy with his selection.
“I am very excited to be going to Los Angeles FC; I have put in the hard work and it is time to show what I can do now,” he said before adding that he was not deterred by the long distance he would move from Jamaica. “If you want to make it you have to move away from home and find a new home and teammates.”
He said playing the games in Florida this week was a challenge as he did not know the players before.
Clyde Jureidini, general manager at Harbour View, echoed LA FC’s coach Bob Bradley when he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday he was “surprised” that the midfielder had not been chosen before the slot he was chosen, at number 40.
“Peter-Lee is a talented player who has the world of football ahead of him,” Jureidini said, adding that they had hoped he would have been chosen by a European club where he said “his level of play and style of play are more suited”.
Bradley, the veteran coach, was reported to have said he was surprised that Vassell had not been selected earlier as he used the club’s only pick in the first two rounds to snap him up.
Jureidini said it was a bittersweet moment for them as they were losing their best player while the team was in a precarious position in the Red Stripe Premier League table, but said “this is a great opportunity for Peter and also for the other players who will now step up to fill that large gap that he will leave behind”.
While he said the club would miss his talent “in the short term, the benefits will be long term for us and the other players”.
The Harbour View executive also said it would challenge the club’s technical staff to “bring in more players and get them up the level where Peter was”.
Jureidini had high praises for former Harbour View head coach and former Reggae Boy Ricardo “Bibi” Gardner, who, he said, was the person who saw Vassell and brought him to the club.
Los Angeles FC started playing in the MLS in 2014 and finished third in the Western Conference last season and had the fifth best record overall.
The first two rounds of the draft were held yesterday, with the third and fourth rounds to be held via conference call on Monday. There were 48 players selected on the first day, out of 35 schools. Twelve countries were represented among the picks.
MLS SuperDraft Selections
1 Cincinnati, Frankie Amaya, m, UCLA
2 San Jose, Siad Haji, m, VCU
3 Orlando City, Santiago Patino, f, FIU
4 Dallas (from Colorado), Callum Montgomery, d, Charlotte
5 Colorado (from Chicago), Andre Shinyashiki, f, Denver
6 Toronto, Griffin Dorsey, m, Indiana
7 Minnesota, Dayne St Clair, g, Maryland
8 Houston, Sam Junqua, d, California
9 New England, Tajon Buchanan, m, Syracuse
10 Dallas (from Montreal), John Nelson, d, North Carolina
11 New England (from Vancouver), DeJuan Jones, m, Michigan State
12 New York City FC (from LA Galaxy), Luis Barraza, g, Marquette
13 Cincinnati (from Philadelphia), Logan Gdula, d, Wake Forest
14 D C United, Akeem Ward, d, Creighton
15 Minnesota (from Dallas through Colorado and Chicago), Chase Gasper, d, Maryland
16 NY Red Bulls (from LAFC through Cincinnati), Roy Boateng, d, UC Davis
17 Salt Lake, Sam Brown, m, Harvard
18 Columbus, JJ Williams, f, Kentucky
19 LA Galaxy, Emil Cuello, m, SMU
20 Seattle, Tucker Bone, m, Air Force
21 Kansas City, Kamar Marriott, d, Florida Gulf Coast
22 NY Red Bulls, Janos Loebe, f, Fordham
23 Portland, Ryan Sierakowski, f, Michigan State
24 Atlanta, FC Anderson Asiedu, m, UCLA
25 NY Red Bulls (from Cincinnati), Sean Nealis, d, Hofstra
26 San Jose, Sergio Rivas, m, Seattle
27 Orlando City, Kamal Miller, d, Syracuse
28 Colorado, Marcello Borges, d, Michigan
29 Cincinnati (from Chicago through Philadelphia), Tommy McCabe, m, Notre Dame
30 Cincinnati (from Toronto), Jimmy Hague, g, Michigan State
31 Minnesota, Hassani Dotson, m, Oregon State
32 NY Red Bulls (from Houston through Chicago), Rece Buckmaster, d, Indiana
33 Houston (from New England through DC), Andrew Samuels, d, Maryland
34 Montreal, Amar Sejdic, m, Maryland
35 Vancouver, Brendan McDonough, d, Georgetown
36 LA Galaxy, Don Tchilao, m, Oregon State
37 Cincinnati (from Philadelphia), Ben Lundt, g, Akron
38 Orlando City (from DC), Tommy Madden, m, Charlotte
39 Toronto (from Dallas through Colorado), Adam Wilson, m, Louisville
40 Los Angeles FC, Peter-Lee Vassell, m, Harbour View FC
41 Salt Lake, Kyle Coffee, f, Washington
42 Colorado (from Columbus), Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, d, UConn
43 New York City FC, Abdi Mohamed, d, Akron
44 Seattle, Joel Rydstrand, m, Creighton
45 Kansas City, Camden Riley, m, Pacific
46 San Jose (from NY Red Bulls), Mamadi Camara, m, Simon Fraser
47 Portland, Lennart Hein, d, Saint Louis
48 Atlanta, Amir Bashti, m, Stanford
Key — g= goalkeeper; d= defender; m=midfielder; f= forward
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News