My Journal: Life as a Manager

tbuc

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Entry 33 (November 30, 2019): A New Contract and Other Notes



We’ve played 12 matches thus far and St. Bess are the only club without a loss. After making it through November winless again, the board thought they had no choice but to offer me another one year extension! I must say this has been a blast and I could possibly see myself making this a career. I love Jamaica, but maybe I could land a job in Mexico? I wouldn’t mind living in Cancun. Or Australia? I hear that’s country is beautiful. Should I even dream about Europe? There are a lot of beautiful beaches and golf courses there as well. But hey, let’s be honest, I’ll need some practice on a links course before I dream of a move to the British Isles. I wonder how much a membership at Royal Portrush costs? … Time to shoot Rory McIlroy an email. I doubt he’ll answer.



Before we get to the bad news, the club set a new record before our win against Four Paths. The last victory of the month actually sees us on a nine match unbeaten run. That’s a club record. Could this be the best St. Bess team ever? I can’t say I’m in a rush to leave after all.



One of our two starting strikers, Sean Bucknor announced this month that he’ll be calling it quits after the season. At 35-years old, it’s clear he has lost a step, so I didn’t want to try and convince him to reconsider. Who am I to tell him what to do?



Lastly, we lost our starting left midfielder for roughly a month. He came off injured against Rivoli, but played with the injured groin in the last two matches after receiving injections. I’m confident we will be fine without him in December, so we decided it was best to rest him for about a month.

 

tbuc

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Entry 34 (December 30, 2019): Finally Time for a Holiday Break



A 5-1 win away to Porus sees our unbeaten run reach ten matches. What makes this win even sweeter was seeing Sporting Central and Dunbeholden play to a draw, and fifth place Super Action drop all three points in their match. We have a three point lead over Sporting now and eight points over fifth place Action.



With Roni Francis suspended after picking up his fourth yellow card of the season in our last match and our starting center back Donavon Alvaranga announcing he will be retiring at seasons end, we did some minor routing. 16-year old Jermaine Estwick made his first team debut as he got the start in the midfield and Pierre McPherson made his second start in the league this year. He’s talented enough to start on just about any South Central Super League sides, but with two stars in Fogah and Alvaranga ahead of him in the depth chart, McPherson hasn’t gotten his chance. However, now that Alvaranga has come out and said he will be retiring, I wanted to get McPherson on the pitch in hopes he doesn’t become upset. He’s out of contract at the end of the year and I’d love to see him back. In the match, Sean Bucknor scored two more goals quietly giving him 11 on the year. With all the success Waugh is having, Bucknor’s accomplishments has almost gone unnoticed. His goal total sees him tied for second most in the league.

Our lead falls to just one point after we dropped two points to Santos. We defeated them 6-0 the first time we came up against them, but it wasn’t meant to be today. The boys came out sluggish and Santos had a few decent chances which came to nothing. Eventually we broke the deadlock in what seemed to be against the run of play in the 30th minute. The rest of the match was pretty boring for the neutral until the home side leveled the scoring in the 81st minute. I yelled at the lads from the touchline which did help as Chris Waugh bagged his second of the match and just like that we had the lead again with just six minutes to play. When I thought the match was over I took a seat on the bench ready for the last couple of minutes to run off the clock, but Santos fought to the end and found the equalizer in the 90th minute. In fairness, the home side did deserve at least a point from this one, but with a trophy on the line, I expected more.

We recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Holland to conclude the month. Courtney Garvey notched his fifth goal of the year in the 20th minute from a free kick and we seemed to be in control. However, in a three minute stand, 18-year old Leford Rickman collected two yellow cards and we played with ten men for 46 minutes. We switched to a 4-4-1 formation and from there neither side really got going. Luckily, we scored early and that’s all we needed.



The fixture list shows we have six matches left. All the board asked at the start of the year was we avoid relegation and we’ve already achieved that. On top of that we have a 12 point advance over fifth place Hillstars. Reaching the playoffs is no longer a worry. Winning the league is now the goal as we have a three point lead over Sporting, who we play in our first match of January. The boys will have a short holiday break with seven days off and there is no doubt they deserve the time off before we begin the last stretch of the season.




 

tbuc

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Entry 34 (January 9, 2020): Holiday Break



While the boys were home with their families, the staff members were extremely busy signing new players and extending contracts to our current ones. I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to be heading home to see my family, but some time on the beach was much need. Here is a look at all the moves we made in just nine days!



Actually, before we get to those signings, Pierre McPherson gave me a call and told me he wanted out. We just signed him this past summer and I looked at him as our future center back but, that wasn’t good enough for him as he wanted first team minutes. McPherson did start our last two matches, but he said it was too little too late. As hard as it will be to see him go, I did make him available for other teams.



Incoming: This was a deal agreed on before the window opened. Shaquel Bryan was stuck in the reserves with Reno and, although he’s a natural winger, he will be our third choice striker. With the playoffs around the corner, we needed a better option behind Waugh and Bucknor. I learned my lesson last year when Roni Francis missed the postseason through injury.



Incoming: Everton will be competing with loanee Odane Watson for the starting left midfielder position. Watson has been out for a month through injury and will need some time to gain match fitness allowing Alleyne to get minutes right off the bat. We were able to get him to commit to a year and a half deal, so he will be around next season as well.



Outgoing: Rickford was a non-contract player, so Bamboo was able to sign him without having to go through us. He did made ten appearances for us on the year, but really he wasn’t good enough. We are short in the middle of the pitch and replacing Rickford with a more talented player is our main objective.



Incoming: With McPherson committed to leaving we needed a backup center back. He may not be as talented as the want-a-way center half, but Briscoe is an upgrade over our current backup left back. With his versatility, he should see the pitch at some point.



Incoming: Barrington James was brought in as a veteran backup in the middle of the midfield and with National League experience and leadership ability I’m happy about this signing. He started all 25 matches last year and all 16 this year for fellow second division side Highgate Utd. He can play as a no. 6 as well. He will get plenty of minutes in the playoff if I feel we need a more defensive setup.



Incoming: Rose is another center back, but with Alvaragna retiring and Briscoe only committing until the end of this season I thought bringing in a player who will be around for next year as well was a smart move. He probably won’t ever start for us, but depth is something this club has always lacked.



Extension: With the league allowing no more than a two year deals, it’s vital to keep all our players happy in hopes they’ll be willing to sign a new deal pretty much annual. Hamilton recorded a 7.08 average rating last year and has a 6.96 rating this term. Those numbers tell him he will be a reliable option at the next level if we manage promotion.



Extension: At 29-years old I was worried about extending his contract this past summer, but he has shown no sign of regression and has been key for us this season.



Extension: 12 goals in 22 matches last year and 17 league goals so far this term, Waugh was someone near the top of the list on who I wanted to keep for another year. If his stats continue to regress, at the very least we’ll have a very strong backup.



Extension: If Waugh wasn’t the guy at the top of my list, then that guy was Sean Fogah. He has been a rock in the middle of the defense. He has excellent stats for this league and is a low injury risk. I’m super excited to see he’ll be back for another year after fending off interest from first division sides last summer.



Future Signing: We already know Sean Bucknor will be retiring at the end of the season, so signing another striker was a must at some point. Thompson comes in as someone with great potential and agreed to a very cheap contract.



Extension: Samuels was our big signing this past summer and has been vital for us in the defense. Lucky for us he was willing to sign on for another season now before we had to fight off competition for his signature over the summer.



Outgoing: Well, McPherson finally got his move. I’m disappointed to see him go, but he wasn’t getting the minutes he wanted. We have two great starting center backs and, as long as they can stay healthy, the loss shouldn’t hurt us.

 

tbuc

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Entry 35 (January 26, 2020): Our First Defeat



A very disappointing way to start the new year. I knew we were in for a tough match against Sporting Central, but we were dominated in the first half surrendering three goals. Neither side offered much in the second half until one of our new signings, Shaquel Byran got us on the board. I’m a little worried as Sporting is one of the best teams in the league and we only recorded one point from two matches against them this season. We’ll need to improve if we wish to advance to the Promotion League and a chance at playing in the National League next season.

We bounced back in style against Treadlight. We were a little sluggish to start the match, but eventually opened our account while a beautiful team goal finished off by Valbert Campbell. Chris Waugh made our lead a little more comfortable bagging his 18th on the year in the 44th minute. We came out on the front foot in the second 45 and were rewarded with three more goals from three different players.



After dropping three points against Sporting, we are now level with them at the top of the table. We only have four matches left with two of those against the other two clubs positioned in a playoff spot. We’ll need to dig deep if we wish to win the league!




 

tbuc

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Entry 36 (January 31, 2020): More Transfers and Injuries



There is no doubt we had a busy January. We continued to look through every teams roster looking for players who wanted out or were listed for loan. Our rivals Sporting Central came in with a bid for Roni Francis, but there was no chance he was leaving. I thought we were done with our transfer business after January 9th, but we were hit with two long term injuries and had one player basically fall in our lap who we couldn’t pass up. We already had a very strong squad, but after the loss to Sporting I thought there was still work to be done.



Francis and Watson both came off injured against Treadlight and it was clear we needed to strengthen. Both players should be back by the time the playoffs come around, but it’s a question if they’ll be fully match fit by that time. Also, with a tough schedule to conclude the season, replacing Francis would be a must if we want to finish the year at the top.

Here is how the rest of our transfer business yet in chronological order:



Outgoing (1/26):O’Callaghan came up from our youth academy and made the senior team roster at the start of the season, but never featured. He’s still young, but I just don’t think he has what it takes to break into our first team any time soon. He made the switch to fellow second division side Highgate Utd where he was immediately loan listed.



Outgoing (1/26)/Incoming (1/31): I’m still learning how this league works. I had no desire to see Jauvaney Menzies leave as he made 11 appearances for us on the year as our backup left midfielder. However, he left on a free without my say and I was upset. We just lost our starter, Odane Watson and them there goes our backup. Luckily on deadline day Savannah were willing to let him rejoin us on a loan deal.



Incoming (1/31): With Francis out injured we needed at least one central midfielder. We found Tyreece Scott stuck in first division sides Waterhouse’s U21 team listed for loan. He’s out of contract at the end of the season, but he wasn’t willing to join us now on a permanent deal or even agree to a deal to join us at the end of the season. He’s still extremely young, but has a ton of potential and could improve quite a bit over the next few months. If we’re lucky, he’ll enjoy his time here and reconsider coming in in the summer after his contract runs out.



Outgoing (1/31): This was another confusing one. Dias was with us on loan until the end of the season, but somehow he was gone, just like that and we are down our backup right midfielder. Luckily, we have another strong backup on the roster in Omari Buck who will now be our first option off the bench to replace Valbert Campbell.



Outgoing (1/31): After signing signing Shaquel Bryan earlier this month we knew Romian Vassell wouldn’t have much of a future here. Rae Town came in with a bid for the striker and we felt he was better off fighting for a spot elsewhere.




Incoming (1/31): We land Orlando Stewart from our league rivals, Rivoli United. He will be Roni Francis’s replacement until he becomes healthy. We were hoping to find someone with a little more talent, but with money tight, that was never going to happen.



Incoming (1/31): This signing gave me a massive smile. We had no need to bring in another striker, but Oneke Ford scored 20 goals in 22 last year in this same league for Vere United. He will replace the aging Sean Bucknor in the starting 11 and now gives us four legit strikers on the roster.



Outgoing (1/31): After adding Ford, Ranger had no place in this side. My hope is he’ll agree to another deal at the end of the season once Bucknor and Ford are out of contract, but for now he’ll be getting first team minutes with Bamboo.


 

tbuc

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Entry 37 (February 29, 2020): Our Last Home Match



Our match against Hillstars was the game of the season. The home side came out and bagged their first goal just 51 seconds into the match and doubled their lead in the 13th minute. Two shots and two goals for Hillstars while we offered nothing. I got off the bench and yelled at the boys hoping they would remain focused and not give up on the match so early. In the 31st minute it was 3-0 and I had no idea what to say at that point. Thank goodness for me, Everton Alleyne got us on the board in the 45th minute giving the boys so encouragement as we headed into the locker room. I yelled at the boys at halftime telling them if they wanted to win the league we could not lose this game. We’ve been so great all season, don’t give up now! The talk must’ve worked as Alleyne bagged his second four minutes into the second 45 and Oneke Ford followed suit just two minutes later. But, it was ruled offsides. I shouted some encouraging words as we were just a goal down with plenty of games left. A quick counter attack later and Chris Waugh made it 3-3. Unfortunately for us, Hillstars took the lead once more in the 75th minute and we were chasing once again. When I thought the match was over, Bryan was tackled from behind in the box and Donovan Alvaranga stepped up and saved us a point.



With three matches left we couldn’t afford to drop anymore points. The good news, the point away to Hillstars guaranteed us a spot in the playoffs for the second season running. We still sit at the top of the table after Sporting dropped two points as they drew 2-2 to Rivoli United.

The second and final match of the month saw us at home to Dunbeholden. They are currently in fourth and needing points to hold off Hillstars for the final playoff spot. I told the boys prematch to remain focused and work as a team. We had to show the home fans we were capable of winning the league in our final home match of the season. The boys seemed encouraged and I wanted to come out in an attacking mentality in hopes we could get on the board first. In the match, both sides were very wasteful in the first 45. There were a total of 18 shots and only four were on target between us. I told the boys in the locker room that we are the better team and all we needed was one goal and we would win. Who wanted to be the hero? Unfortunately, we were very flat in the second half. When it looked like it would end in a boring draw things got much worse when Dunbeholden scored the winner in the 93rd minute.



A hugely disappointing month. We started the month in first and would face the fourth and fifth place clubs. Meaning, if we were to win the league there would be a very strong chance one of these two clubs would be our opponents in the semi-finals. That in itself should give the boys enough momentum to go out onto the pitch and prove themselves. Instead, our defense took a mental day off against Hillstars while our attack did the same against Dunbeholden. There was some good news, however. Roni Francis is back from his injury and played 30 minutes in our final match of the month. Also, Sporting only managed one point this month as well, so we remain on top. I see this as a second chance. Big picture, reaching the playoffs is all that matters, but I really want to finish the year on top!


 

tbuc

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Entry 38 (March 16, 2020): Finally Time for the Playoffs



There is no need to sugar coat it. We were **** poor against Rivoli. I knew this was going to be a real battle, but what we showed on the pitch was we had no interest in being promoted. Since we lost Roni Francis and Odane Watson, we’ve been dominated in the midfield. Francis was fit enough to play 45 minutes in this one and Watson made his first appearance since January. Without them we will lose in the first round of the playoffs. I have no doubt about that. Francis should be good to play 90 minutes again very soon, but Watson still need some time and he played just 10 minutes in our last match. After scoring 15 goals in 13 matches, Chris Waugh has only managed two in six. I’m not putting the blame on him as we’ve been over run in the midfield in our last five matches, but we’ll need him to step up very soon.

We’ve only managed one win in our last five and blew our chances at winning the league. At this point we need a win just to build any kind of momentum as we head into the post-season. We beat Super Action 4-0 earlier in the season, so I have little doubt that we have what it takes to collect all three points, but with the form we’re in, anything can happen. It took just 68 seconds for the home side to get on the board and with the way things have been going,it felt like the game was already over. Even with 88 more minutes to play. We did muster up two decent chances, one of which saw Chris Waugh bang one off the post, but again we were flat in the second half and we were shut out for the second time in three matches. The playoffs couldn’t be coming at a worse time.



I don’t know what to think at this point. We start the season off without losing a single match in our opening 16 games. Since then, we’ve lost four of six recording only four points. We dropped from the top of the table to fourth and now we’ll face Sporting Central who we only managed one point from this season. I know we have what it takes to win the league, but do the players believe enough in themselves to make that happen? Only time will tell.


 
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tbuc

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Entry 39 (March 20, 2020): Preparing for the Playoffs… Again



With a week between our final game of the season and the first leg of the semi-finals I’ve had plenty of time to think about this upcoming match. Ricardo and I went out for a beer tonight and boy did I need the distraction. It was a new spot I’ve never been to and the weather was perfect.

Although we’ve struggled in a major way over the last few months, I’m still reluctant to change anything. We’ve had two great seasons here at the Lacovia, so I think change may still be premature. Roni Francis is back fully fit and boy we’ll need him against the favorites, Sporting Central. Both us and Sporting lost in this round last season and both of us will be expecting to reach the next round. I gave the boys two days off to mentality recover from the season and I sure as **** hope they come back with the mindset they had before January. The first leg will be at home and it’s extremely important we come out of the match with at least a draw. I’ll gladly take a 0-0 result in hopes we can get on the board in the away match. It’s going to be a tough ask to keep a clean sheet as our starting center back, Donovan Alvaranga will be suspended for the first leg. He picked up his fourth yellow card of the season in the finale. Enough of me rambling on, let's get to the playoffs!



 

tbuc

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Entry 40 (April 5, 2020): The Semi-Finals



The boys came in with a positive attitude so I felt I didn’t need to hype them up too much. I told them to just be smart and cautious. No need to force anything and be our own worst enemy. In the first half, it seemed both sides were sitting back and were happy with a 0-0 draw. There were a total of 12 shot, none of which were on target. The best chance for either side came from a Courtney Garvey free kick which grazed the top of the net. In the second half, it was Sporting who came out on the front foot and recorded the first two shots on target. However, in the 64th minute we broke the deadlock! It was a free kick which was pretty central. The ball was looped over the top and Chris Waugh was there to knock it in with his right foot! From there we soaked up wave after wave of Sporting attack and Keith Hamilton was world class in net. Eventually our opponents got on the board. Hamilton made an incredible diving save from close range, but the rebound fell to their left back who tapped it in. From that point I was hoping we would hold out for a draw, but the boys did one better. The winner came from another central, free kick. Again it was looped in and Valbert Campbell headed the ball in from close range in the final minute of added time! Now it’s time to try our best to hold out for a draw.



We were just one match away from reaching the South Central Super League Final. We are a goal up on aggregate and if we play as well as I know we’re capable of, then we should get through. I knew nerves would be high once we stepped onto the pitch. I told the lads in the locker room that the game will last 90 minutes. If we do give up an early goal we’ll have plenty of time to make up for it. We must remain calm, and again play smart. We have the lead on aggregate, so the nerves in the home locker room will be just as high for them if not higher.

As for the match, we came out sitting back hoping we’d outnumber them in their final third and really frustrate them. However, that didn’t work. In just ten minutes Sporting bagged two goals and they seemed the favorites to get through. The boys weren’t rattled, however, and we had three great chances to level the scoring on aggregate. Chris Waugh had two great chances and really should scored both, but his two efforts were right at the keeper. Our best chance was a far post cross to Everton Alleyne who blasted it on the volley and off the bar. Very disappointing. I told the boys in the locker room at halftime to stay positive. One goal and we’re back in it. We’ve had our chances and as long as they continue the way they have all season, that goal will come! Well, Sporting scored just ten minutes into the second half on a counter attack and our goal never came. In the final 15 minutes I told all our midfielders to push forward as we were desperate to score. Sporting ended up scoring a fourth and at that point I knew it was over.

 
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tbuc

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Entry 41 (April 26, 2020): Review the 2019/20 Season



There is still a bit of a sour taste in my mouth with the way the regular season concluded and the departure in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year, but looking back I would say we had another excellent season. The board wanted us to avoid relegation and the media had us finishing sixth. Lo and behold we reached the playoffs and we sat at the top of the table for almost the entire year.

I thought in the preseason we were a playoff team, but maybe I was bias. Regardless, I’m happy to see others think we overachieved. Maybe that will force the board to give me a little more money for us to push on next year. I’ve been giving it some real through over the last few months and I think this coming season will be my last with this club unless we get promoted. There has been some interest in me from at least one National League side as well as a club in the U.S. I don’t think I’m ready to return home to the states, but if I can land a gig with a first division side here in Jamaica, I don’t think I could turn that down. I have already agreed to a contract for one more season here and I do plan to see that through, but if the board came to me with another extension, I will need some time to think about it before I sign anything.



Looking at the players stats, no one underachieving. At the very top of this list is Delon Palmer, who is a natural center back, but started every match for us at left back where he excelled. Oddly enough, I received an email from my assist coach at the end of the regular season telling me the fans were upset with his performance this year. I don’t see it. Again, Roni Francis was our star in the middle of the pitch. That is the position we will need to strengthen this offseason. He did only score seven goals this season compared to the 14 he had last year, but Chris Waugh and Sean Bucknor were on fire in front of net. One key player we will be losing is Donovan Alvaranga to retirement. He was a star in the middle of the defense for us the past two seasons and replacing him will be tough, but a must this offseason. Two more players who will be gone are Sean Bucknor and Odane Watson. Bucknor will also be retiring, while I will not be looking to resign Watson. Watson did have a strong season for us on the left, but he’s a natural winger, and I’ll be looking to replace him with a natural midfielder. Courtney Garvey joined us last summer on loan, and although he’s only 20-years old, he was a mainstay for us in the middle next to Roni Francis. We have agreed to a permanent deal with him and he’ll be officially unveiled as a Killa Bee in July.



I think the fans got it right. However, it’s hard to rate Bucknor over Waugh. Odaine Samuel was our most expensive signing last summer as far as player salary and I did have high hopes for him this term and he lived up to it. Delon Palmer was with us on a loan deal and will be returning to this parent club very soon. Although he had an excellent season for us, my coaching staff only think he'll only be a "good player" at this level in the future. I'd like to replace him with a better talent.



We didn’t make as much money this season as we did last, but we had a lot more players on contract this term. Regardless, nearly $100k profit this term is **** good for a second tier side in Jamaica if you ask me.
 

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Entry 42 (June 24, 2020): Summer Break is Over



The board allowed me two weeks off which I spend back in the United States visiting friends and family. It was nice to get back home and see everyone. I was surprised to learn that my baby sister has gotten engaged and I agreed to let her and her future husband stay with me for a week in Jamaica. I also had a long sit down with my father about my future. I left the U.S. to live on a beach and relax in paradise, instead I’m getting ready to coach St. Bess for a third season. There is no doubt I have the itch to continue my coaching career, but I’m thinking it’s time to test my luck in a better league. There is no doubt the opportunity is out there as I’ve been rumored to take over a couple teams, however, I’ve never been asked to be interviewed.

Since I’ve been back in Jamaica, I’ve had a long talk with the entire staff. I told the president that he needed to speak with his board about the clubs expectations. I’m not here to coach a club with the hopes of just surviving. I want to coach a club who has the backing of a board with higher ambitions. My hope was he got the hint that if we don’t get promoted I plan on walking.

With the transfer window opens in a few days and I have my list of needs. At the top of that list is a left back. Both our left sided defenders last season were loanees who were natural center backs. Neither of which we were looking to bring back. The last two needs on my list are a defensive minded central midfielder and a left sided midfielder. We have two strong options in the middle in Roni Francis and Coutney Garvey, but both like to get forward which leaves us open at the back. On the left, Odane Watson was brought in on loan last year, but is a natural winger. Everton Alleyne was brought in in January and will likely start, but we have no other options behind him. On the wishlist I would like another striker and another center back.

Quickly looking over our schedule we see Vere United are back in the league after one season in the top flight. Of the four teams who were promoted to our league, three actually have a strong history. Meadows FC won this league in 2010, but have since been relegated twice before gaining promotion back into the second tier. Naggo Head also won this league once, back in 2006 and even won JFF Champions Cup back in 1997.



We have agreed to contracts with two players since the end of the season. Omari Buck joined us last summer from Mount Pelier on loan, but need to see much of the field . We have agreed to a permanent deal for the right midfielder. He will be the backup to Valbert Campbell who is aging. Buck is a younger option who is still growing and could potentially become a start at this club.



Donovan Alvaranga announced his retirement back in December, but has since changed his mind. My assistant came to me asking we resign Alvaranga which I question. He them made it clear to me that the man who has been a rock for us in the middle of defense wants to come back for one more season. Little did I know, he was willing to join us on pretty cheap wages. With his return we will have the same center back pairing for the third straight season.


 

tbuc

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Entry 43 (August 27, 2020): Pre-Season and Deadline Day



The pre-season is finally over and deadline day has come and gone. Now we can finally focus on the upcoming season which is quickly approaching. For the first time in my three years as the coach, we have some serious competition within the squad, and I don’t know who I will start on opening day! I will talk more about that in my next journal entry.

We did the majority of our transfer business early on, which I was extremely pleased with. We also didn’t lose anyone at all. Well, two players retired, which we already knew about and a few others returned to their parent clubs or we let go as a free agent. Outside of that, no one I wanted to keep was sold. Here is a preview of our seven signing in chronological order:



Incoming (7/1/20) - I talked about Omari Buck in my last entry, so I won’t talk too much about this one. We loaned him last season and he managed just eight appearances. He’ll probably never be a starter here, but he agreed to a 1-year $1,900 deal, which was a great deal in my option.



Incoming (7/1/20) - Another player who was brought in on loan last year was Courtney Garvey. He contributed in a major way making 21 starts, scoring six times, while adding five assists. He joins us on a 1-year deal worth $1,300. Again, a steal in my option. He’ll probably be a rotation player this season, but will be one of our top options off the bench when he’s not in the starting 11.




Incoming (7/1/20) - This deal was agreed on back in January. David Thompson was stuck in Cooper’s Pen’s U21 side where he scored 12 in 25 last season. This term he will be competing for a starting spot upfront next to Chris Waugh.



Incoming (7/4/20) - This was our biggest deal as far as salary this season as Orlando McBayne agreed to a 1-year $10,000 deal. He brings us over 200 appearances worth of experience in the National League, and won two first division league titles with Montego Utd. At 35-years old, he’s past his prime, but is still a very good talent for this league. $10,000 is a very large salary for this team, but it’s only for one season and I wanted to strengthen the middle of our defense now that Donovan Alvaranga is past his prime.



Loan In (7/11/20) - On the day everyone gets a free slurpees from 7-eleven in the U.S., we celebrated by bringing in a very exciting young midfielder in the shape of Shamari Moore. He will be competing with Courtney Garvey for first team minutes, but with Moore’s superior ability defensively, he will be key for us when we lineup against teams near the top of the table.



Loan In (7/15/20) - Odane Nish is another very promising youngster who joins us on loan and will immediately be inserted into our starting 11. He made 14 appearances for National League side, Montego Bay last year, so we know he has more than enough talent to shine here. In order to bring in the 22-year old will be pay his $1,200 contract plus and additional $2,000.



Incoming (8/7/20) - It was a struggle to find a starting left back before we were able to pry Carlyle Myrie away from Super Action on a free. We will be paying him $6,750 this season which is a bit much, but he’s proven in this league and we were desperate for a left back. He made 19 starts last term and recorded a 7.17 average rating for a team who plays in this league.


 

tbuc

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Entry 44 (September 3, 2020): Predictions, Expectations and the Squad



Like I do before every season, I enjoy reading over the league predictions just to get an idea of what we’ll be up against. This season, I think we have the best squad I’ve had in three years, so reaching the playoffs will be a must, but after that what will happen? We were bounced in the semi-finals the last two seasons and I want to do more this term. I was asked by nearly 10 teams (I lost count to be honest), all in Jamaica, to interview for their head coaching job. So, if it doesn’t work out this season I know I’ll have options. The Jamaican Soccer Express thinks we’ll finish in the same spot they had us last season. I won’t be putting too much stock in that as they had it wrong last year.



The board has high hopes for us for the first time! I asked the board for some more money and told them if they agreed, we’d be a playoff team. They bit and now they’re expecting nothing less. To add to that, they are expecting us to get out of the first round of the Champions Cup. With a much deeper squad I don’t think that’s asking all that much.



Here is a look at the roster. Hamilton will start all our matches between the sticks while Roni Francis will be key for us once again in the middle. Both Nish and Campell are excellent wide players who will get forward when they can to help in the attack. Chris Waugh’s stats have gone down a bit, but after scoring 21 goals last season I still expect another strong display this time around. He will be paired up with either Shaquil Bryan or David Thompson.




 

tbuc

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Entry 44 (September 6, 2020): JFF Champions Cup First Round Draw



The first round draw of the league cup is today! That means today is also the opening day of the season. I’m again in my office with my mate Ricardo to tune in and see what happens. The board expects us to win, which means I’ll be fielding a strong side. The last two seasons I put no stock in the cup with all our focus on the league. This year will be different. I’m aiming for promotion, so we should be competitive against all the second division sides and hopeful the last few clubs in the National League.

The draw begins after 20 minutes of talking nonsense and it’s time to see who we’ll play. Chances are we’ll be up against a division two side. Finally we see our name pop up and we’ll have an away match against fellow South Central Super League side, Barbican where we should be the favorites.



 

tbuc

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Entry 45 (September 28, 2020): A very disappointing first month



We started the 2020/21 campaign away at Vere who won the league two years ago. I knew this was going to be a tough match, but with the success we had last year, I almost expected three points. Unfortunately, we just never got going. We did only lose 1-0, but it felt like the home side were in full control of this one. Keith Hamilton was forced into making three big saves, while we offered nothing in the final third.

We bounced back with three points against Meadows in our first home match of the season. Chris Waugh, who was our main man up front last season, but today it was his striking partner, David Thompson who bagged a hat trick. It felt almost like a must win as we’re up against another very strong side in Dunbeholden on the road before a midweek cup match.

Very disappointed to only collect one point from our match against Dunbeholden. We knew we were in for a tough one, but we came out the better side, before the home team scored a brilliant goal from distance. Afterwards, we continued to control the match and eventually leveled the scoring from a David Thompson looping header over the keeper's outstretched arm. Just two minutes later Chris Waugh scored his first from a perfectly weighted through ball by Odane Nish. With the time ticking away I thought we had done just enough to escape with maximum points, but it wasn’t meant to be. A loose pass from Donovan Alvaranga lead to a counter attack which Dunbeholden was able to capitalize on in the 84th minute. Four points from three matches is not how I expected to start our season, but two of those matches were against top clubs in this league on the road. So, I’ll try my best to stay positive as I don’t want to spread any negativity in the dressing room.

I was hoping the cup match would be a good distraction from our poor league form. I did some rotation dropping Chris Waugh to the bench along with three midfielders and three defenders. Even with all the change, I was still confident we would leave Kingston with a win. 90 minutes later I witnessed what was our worst match of the season. Barbican scored from a 30 yard free kick which was their first shot on target of the match and seven minutes later it was 2-0. We had our opportunities, but were wasteful in front of net (12 shots, two on target). I’m not sure what to think at this point.



We lost our best bench option in the middle of the midfield for the rest of the calendar year. I will look to bolster that position in January. With what I’ve seen so far this season we need some help. Roni Francis is yet to find his best form thus far.

Finally! In our final match of the month the boys bounced back with a big win against lowly side, Four Paths. I’m not known as someone who loses his temper and yells at his players until he’s red in the face, but I was firm with the boys after the loss in the first round of the league cup. We got on the board in the sixth minute and that gave us the confidence to continue to press their back line. Chris Waugh scored three in this one and I’m really hoping he will build on that and fire the rest of the team forward.



A very tough first month of the season. The board expected us to get through to the second round of the league cup and we’ve already failed there. Even though we dropped four points we’re still in a playoff spot. Sporting Central are absolutely flying at the top of the table and we’ll be up against them next month. We also have an away tie away to second place Hillstars to close out October. I think after our next four games we’ll have a very good idea where we stand in the league. One real concern I have is our discipline. In five matches we’ve already accumulated 18 yellow cards! Three players are one card away from suspension.


 

tbuc

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Entry 46 (October 25, 2020): Our Struggles Continue



With a tough month ahead, we needed to start October off as best we could. Things were looking to be heading in that direction in the opening match against Super Action when Odane Nish made the scoreline read 2-0 with 15 minutes to go in the match, but Action found another gear and bagged two goals in two minutes to level the scoring. To make matters worse, Chris Waugh picked up his second yellow of the match in the 89th minute and it looked like the match would end in a draw. Five minutes after the red card, Sean Fogah brought down the Action striker in the box and just like that we were down 3-2 with ten men and just one minute of added time left. For the first time I was on the edge and preparing to lose my temper in the locker room. Lucky enough Odaine Samuels played a great ball over the top to Samari Moore who let the ball bounce once before smashing it across goal and into the side netting. In the end, I was happy to get a point out of the match, but after a few minutes of thinking it over we should’ve won this game. Two goals in two minutes and a needless penalty saw us throw two points away.



Valbert Campbell was forced off in the match against Super Action after just 12 minutes. It looks like his season could be over and may force us to be very busy in the January window.

On a day we were wasteful in front of net, we escaped with three points thanks to an own goal. We were undone just 51 seconds into the match by Newell Utd. with a simple long ball over the top and I was getting ready to just give up. The boys kept their heads up and Samari Moore rewarded us with a goal after David Thompson set him up with a perfect through ball. Five minutes after that, a horrifying back pass give us a 2-1 lead and that’s all it tough. We had chances to extend our lead, but just couldn’t find the back of the end. Regardless, we collected all three points and it was time to get ready to welcome a high flying Sporting Central to the Lacovia.

With the form Sporting are in to start the season, our goal is to finish in the top four. Today we had the chance at making a big statement and proving we are a top side. I thought we played well throughout ,creating a few good chances, but we just couldn’t capitalize. Sporting only had three shots in the first half, two on target, but both were goals. Although we played well, it was the away side who were much more clinical. The loss sees us drop to sixth in the table. January can’t come quick enough as it’s clear at this point we need major improvements up front.

Another match, another two points dropped. We were up against a club sitting in a playoff spot, so this isn’t the worst result, but we are falling down the league table. To make matters worse, Chris Waugh went down with an injury and Roni Francis continues to struggle to find his form from the past two seasons.





Another tough month as we slip to sixth in the league. We’re only two points back of fourth, so we’re still very much in it, but we’re up against second place Barbican, who knocked us out of the league cup, and third place Rivoli United.


 
Jun 12, 2014
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Fortunes seem to be going against you this season! Hopefully things turn round and results start going your way again!
 

tbuc

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Entry 47 (November 30, 2020): Back in the Playoff Picture



I’m trying to remain positive. We started off November against third place Rivoli Utd. and the boys were up for it. We dominated possession early on and were rewarded with a class goal from David Thompson. It was a blinder from distance that was perfectly placed into the top right corner. Not long after, a goal line clearance robbed us of a second and I kept encouraging the guys to push on. But, Rivoli scored on their first shot of the match and I began to expect the worst. At halftime I told the boys to keep on going and we’d find our second, but it wasn’t to be. We now have four draws on the season, which is the most in the league. There’s two ways to look at it. We’re either lucky to secure a point, or just didn’t do enough and dropped two points. I think it’s the latter. In three of those four draws, it was our opponents who scored last. We need to dig deeper and not get complacent and continue to forfeit our leads.

I just don’t get it. We had a two goal lead against Barbican and again we threw two points away. There is nothing to say at this point. I subbed off Roni Francis with fifteen minutes to go for a defensive minded midfielder, but a goal in the 82nd minute and another in the 91st saw us add another draw to our record. Very disappointing.

We were up against 10th place Naggo Head at home, so I thought this would be the perfect match to burst out of our funk and grab three points. Instead a red card forced us to sit back and play on the counter for 44 minutes. Naturally, we surrender another second half added time goal. Forget the playoffs, now I’m wondering if this club is good enough to remain in this league.

Without our top two strikers, I was wondering where the goals would come from as we face Vere who beat us 1-0 in the season opener. Chris Waugh will be out for roughly another month with a knee injury while David Thompson was forced to sit this one out after his red card last match. Vere came out the better side, but we got on the board first through a beautifully taken free kick goal by Roni Francis. Our fourth choice striker made it 2-0 in the 58th minutes on the counter attack. I told the boys to focus as a two goal is never safe with this team. I could sense the crowd were still on edge even with the lead. Just two minutes after our goal, Vere cut into our lead and it was 2-1. I didn’t want to sit back as I was worried inviting pressure would lead to the worst. Unfortunately, that didn’t work as we brew another 2-0 lead, this time with eight minutes left. The boys didn’t drop their head and we find our winner in the 85th minute. Big three points!

After ending a five game winless streak we were just two points out of fourth and I decided to change things up in the locker room. Loanee Odane Nish brought in his speaker and the boys were jamming out as they got ready for our final match of the month. I was hoping that would lighten the mood and inspire the boys. The change definitely helped! We lost Shamari Moore in the 25th minute via a red card and we set up ‘very defensive’ from that point. After heading into the locker room at half time 0-0, Meadows scored two goals in five minutes. I decided to switch to a ‘positive’ tactic and within ten minutes we were up 3-2! Crazy stuff. It didn’t end there. Like every game, we gave up an added time goal and I thought it was over. In the final minute of stoppage time, Levar McGashan was tripped in the box and was capitalize on the PK in the 97th minute. Another big win as we scored four second half goal with ten men.



This has to be our worst season since I took over. Somehow we’re still only one point back of fourth and right in the middle of a playoff battle. Next month we play three matches, all against sides below us in the table. I can only hope this positive run can continue before we play sides in the top four.


 

tbuc

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Entry 48 (December 28, 2020): Closing Out 2020



It was fifth versus sixth as we welcomed Dunbeholden in our opening match of December and this was an extremely boring match. Both teams had plenty of shots, but the fans safety behind the goal was more of a concern than the keepers. The away side did sneak in a goal from a corner kick, which was all it took. The ball in was quality, as it ping ponged around in the box before the ball eventually trickled in. We didn’t manage any decent shot of our own and our wastefulness cost us in this one.



We lost one of our starting central midfielders in a training injury, which is a bit of a blow. We do have Courtney Garvey who will slide into the starting lineup, but he’s more of an attacking option. With all the late goals we’ve given up, I am a bit worried, but we do have January to find a replacement.

Our match away to Four Paths was our chance to bounce back with a win as they were in a relegation fight. However, it wasn’t meant to be. Two simple long balls over the top saw us fall behind 2-0 in the opening five minutes. We got one back right before halftime from a class solo goal from David Thompson and then, three minutes into the second half, we drew level from a beautiful volley by Roni Francis. Again we fell behind after the referee pointed to the spot after we dragged down a Four Paths player in the box from a corner kick. We push forward, switching to an attacking tactic, but it was the home side extending their lead on a counter. Chris Waugh made his return as a late game sub, however he picked up a yellow card and will be suspended for our next match.

We closed out the month with a massive three points and a big six goals to boost our goal differential. With all the injuries and two suspended players in this one I was a little worried, but we managed to run out and run over Super Action. Our top U21 prospect, Lamar McGlashan scored his first senior team goal in the effort. There is no doubt we have missed Valbert Campbell on the right, but the young 17-year old McGlashan has stepped up in Campbell’s absence.



It’s going to be a dog fight to the end. The top three places seemed to be set and the four relegation spots are also becoming clear as well. In the middle of the pack, there are five teams within four points who will all be fighting it out for the final playoff spot. I will be doing me best to find replacements in the January window in hopes we can make as many improvements as we can as we push for that final playoff spot. We already have four agreement set which will become official in just a few days.



 
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