Home / Volley / Global Football / From paramedic to pro: Jamille Boatswain signs two-year deal with C/Rica’s Alajuelense

From paramedic to pro: Jamille Boatswain signs two-year deal with C/Rica’s Alajuelense

Trinidad and Tobago international striker Jamille “Balo” Boatswain has agreed a two-year deal with Costa Rica top flight club, LD Alajuelense, and hopes to fly to San José on Monday night to meet his new teammates for the first time.

The only remaining obstacle is for Boatswain’s last Pro League club, Defence Force, to sign off on the move.

Photo: Defence Force striker Jamille Boatswain (centre) celebrates the second goal of his treble against Police FC during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017.
Looking on (right) is his teammate and captain Jerwyn Balthazar.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Defence Force team manager Basil Thompson confirmed that they have not been officially contacted by Alajuelense yet and only knows what he read about the deal in the media.

“After I commented on what I read on Wired868 yesterday, I got an email [from a football agent] to clarify what is happening,” said Thompson. “[…] So I told him I would like to speak to a representative from the club and not an agent.”

Agent Sergi Roca explained to Wired868 that the current hiccup is a result of the 23-year-old Boatswain’s unusual professional status.

Boatswain, a former St Benedict’s College student, was approached by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force to enlist as a soldier and joined their football club in January, after starting last season with Point Fortin Civic.

He has not officially joined the regiment yet nor does he actually have a professional contract. Essentially, he is an amateur player registered in a professional league.

Photo: Defence Force attacker Jamille Boatswain (left) and Morvant Caledonia United defender Taje Commissiong contest the ball during Pro League action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on 17 January 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Roca, a Spanish agent with contacts in Central America, said the intricacies of the T&T Pro League can be confusing to foreign agents. Most Trinidad and Tobago footballers receive one-year contracts which expire at the end of every season. It means players are often unpaid during their off-seasons.

FIFA law allows players to freely speak to other teams once they have six months remaining on their professional contracts or less.

Roca said agents tend to speak directly to Pro League players in an effort to get accurate information on their employment status. He claimed to have also engineered moves for Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams and defender Daneil Cyrus to Honduran team, Juticalpa, as well as forward Jerrel Britto’s current deal with Honduras Progreso.

He hopes that an agreement can be reached with the “Teteron Boys” soon while Alajuelense are keen on the player.

For his part, Thompson insisted that Defence Force will not interfere with Boatswain’s proposed move.

“The Defence Force is not standing in his way and we want him to progress and do better for himself,” Thompson told Wired868. “But we hope the club contacts us so we can do the transfer properly.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago assistant coach Sol Campbell (right) congratulates striker Jamille Boatswain after his double strike against Barbados in a 2-0 win at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 10 March 2017.
(Courtesy CA Images/Wired868)

Boatswain made his first competitive start for the Soca Warriors against Costa Rica in San José, just nine days ago, after national captain Kenwyne Jones pulled up with an injury during the pre-match warm up.

And his pacy, energetic performance stretched the opposing team at times, as he forced opposing goalkeeper Keylor Navas into a superb double save in the first half and should have been rewarded with a penalty in the second half after he was dragged away from the ball by Costa Rica defender Michael Umaña.

Alajuelense officials, via Roca, were soon in touch.

“They were looking at me from the two [World Cup qualifying] games in March and the interest grew after the game in Costa Rica,” Boatswain told the TTFA Media. “I know it’s going to be a big step up but I am ready. I am prepared to go there and settle in as quickly as possible and work my legs off to be successful on a personal level and to help the club achieve their goals.”

Alajuelense are one of Costa Rica’s most successful teams with 29 national championships, three Central American crowns and two CONCACAF Champions League titles. They will compete in the CONCACAF League this August—alongside Pro League outfits, Central FC and San Juan Jabloteh—after finishing third in their domestic competition last season based on an aggregate table.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jamille Boatswain (centre) is stopped by a remarkable Keilor Navas save while Costa Rica defender Michael Umaña looks on during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Alajuelense do have the dubious distinction of being the first club to be punished by CONCACAF for racist fan behaviour after, two years ago, their supporters directed “monkey noises” at Montreal Impact forward Dominic Oduro in their Estadio Alejandro Morera Soto home ground in Alajuela.

CONCACAF fined Alajuelense an undisclosed amount and gave the club a provisional one match ban.

Boatswain is looking forward to witnessing the positive side of Alajuelense’s fervent fan base, though.

“I have an idea of what the game is like there,” said Boatswain. “They are crazy about the game and I know the fans will be looking to see what I can do at the club.”

Boatswain’s move is just another chapter in his fairytale year which began with him leading the line for cash-strapped table proppers, Point Fortin Civic.

A qualified paramedic—after completing courses at the Emergency Training Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (ETITT) in Charlieville, Chaguanas—Boatswain was still working part-time with Wells Services Petroleum Company in South Oropouche, at the start of 2017, to compliment his meagre salary at Civic.

Photo: Point Fortin Civic poacher Jamille Boatswain (right) evades Ma Pau Stars goalkeeper Shane Mattis en route to the opening goal during Pro League action at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 18 September 2016.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

Although Civic were cut adrift at the bottom of the Pro League standings, Boatswain was near the top of the scoring charts with seven goals; and a surprise January switch to Defence Force finally gave him a platform to compete for honours.

Newly appointed Warriors coach Dennis Lawrence was in the stands as, within weeks of his transfer, Boatswain steered Defence Force to the 2017 Pro Bowl trophy with a hattrick against Police FC in the semifinals and a solitary item in the final against Central.

“Since last season, I’ve really looked at [Boatswain] because I saw he was scoring goals and his team wasn’t playing well, which has to say something about his quality,” Defence Force coach Marvin Gordon told Wired868, after the Pro Bowl final. “But what really made me push the button was when we beat [Point Fortin Civic] 7-2 last December and he came off the bench and scored two against us.

“There and then, I decided I had to get him.”

Boatswain was grateful to Gordon and Defence Force, although his stay there looks to have lasted barely five months.

Photo: Defence Force striker Jamille Boatswain (centre) prepares to steer his hattrick goal past Police FC goalkeeper Adrian Foncette (right) during the Pro Bowl semifinals at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 12 February 2017.
Defence Force won 4-0.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

“Two to three years ago I began playing in the Pro League with Civic and then Marvin Gordon brought me to Defence Force and I want to thank him for that,” he said.

Lawrence gave Boatswain his first taste of international football on his own coaching debut against Barbados on 10 March 2017 and the striker responded with a double.

He has not scored for Trinidad and Tobago since then although, remarkably, he is only player to feature in every single outing under the current Warriors coach so far.

Boatswain explained that he works hard on the training ground with the national team and hopes to repay Lawrence’s faith in him.

“Dennis Lawrence saw something in me and he gave me that chance [and] I am thankful for that,” said Boatswain. “And I hope I can continue to improve so I can come back into the team and deliver and help us to have a good chance of qualifying…

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago striker Jamille Boatswain (centre) tries to burst past two Barbados opponents during international friendly action at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 March 2017.
Boatswain scored both goals in a 2-0 win for T&T.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868)

“[Warriors assistant coach and Trinidad and Tobago record goal scorer] Stern [John] has been doing some extra finishing with me and it has been helping me.”

Alajuelense are just as impressed with Boatswain’s raw potential and are also willing to gamble on the speedster. If he moves to Costa Rica, he would be following in the footsteps of Trinidad and Tobago teammate and full back Aubrey David, who represented defending champions Deportivo Saprissa last year.

Former Strike Squad goalkeeper Michael “Brow” Maurice also had a professional stint in Costa Rica during his heyday.

Despite the recent individual career moves of the Warriors players, Boatswain said they remain focused on the Russia 2018 qualifiers and are anxious to produce good results in September when Trinidad and Tobago hosts Honduras before travelling to Panama.

“I hope I can continue to improve so I can come back into the team and deliver and help us to have a good chance of qualifying,” said Boatswain. “The games in September are really important for us… Kenwyne [Jones] is the main man so I came in knowing I would have to be working hard to get into the team. He has been really good overall in the camp and he is a good striker I believe.

“Hopefully all of us can be in good shape [and] at our best for the rest of matches coming up.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago forward Jamille Boatswain (left) is hauled back by Costa Rica defender Michael Umaña during 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the National Stadium in San José on 13 June 2017.
Costa Rica won 2-1.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA Images/Wired868)

Editor’s Note: Jamille Boatswain officially signed on Saturday 24 June and, pending registration is now a LD Alajuelense player.

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63 comments

  1. This guy’s passion and determination will take him a long way (y)

  2. Lasana there is often much confusion concerning a players status. There’s general employment laws and also FIFA regulations. Then local leagues have additional rules. Most players do not understand this. Many agents don’t understand this. And I’ll admit, some clubs also don’t fully comprehend. In my position, I learned the hard way to consult with Julia Baptiste at Pro League and Sharon at TTFA. These two ladies should always be the first Port of call when considering the signing or transferring of players. And by the way, after dealing with clubs and associations in Europe, Far East and within concacaf,we in T&T are far more knowledgeable than a lot of clubs and FAs we deal with.
    In this instance, contracts are not the issue. Leagues everywhere will allow non contract players for a variety of reasons. The key issue is registration. If I am correct, FIFA allow a player to be registered with a maximum of three clubs in any 12 month period. But they can only actually play for two in that time. So in this instance, while Boatswain can certainly sign a Costa Rican contract he would not be eligible to play until January. It is confusing because sometimes it’s thought that the rule is 3 clubs in a season. That makes sense, but which season? He played for two clubs in the 2016-17 Pro League season. Does that mean he could play in another countries league in March 2017? And then play in the 2017 Pro League in May? I don’t think so. I believe it is in a 12 month period. In which case, we have to look at the situation with Jan- Michael and Cyrus. That registration with North East could be an issue. But if they didn’t actually play a game for North East, which I don’t believe they did, then they are safe to play for their new club. But this highlights why agents and clubs should be talking directly to the club that holds a players registration. With contracts, clubs will often include an option to extend. While clubs would love to offer long contracts, the financial situation makes them wary, so a one year contract will often include an option to extend for a further period on a higher salary. Many players forget this and tell agents they are free at end of season. So again, the club should be the first point of contact. I am prepared to be corrected on the details above, as I do not claim to be an expert in this complicated area, but this is my understanding.

    • That’s very interesting. I will look at that three club rule again.

    • OK. I’ve checked and Jamille Boatswain, Jan-Michael Williams and Daneil Cyrus all would have no problems because the rule is about in one season and not a calendar year:
      (FIFA article)
      “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during
      one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play
      offi cial matches for two clubs. As an exception to this rule, a player
      moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping
      seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to
      winter/spring) may be eligible to play in offi cial matches for a third
      club during the relevant season, provided he has fully complied with
      his contractual obligations towards his previous clubs.”

    • Thanks Lasana Liburd. As I said, it’s not straightforward but clearly the season issue has been considered. Of course, outside of concacaf, the season issue becomes an issue about when one season begins and one ends. This is why players have to think before they jump!

    • Lasana Liburd The seasons in Central America are like in Europe. The seasons go from
      July 1 to June 30 of the following year. So it’s their first team for season 2017-2018

  3. Wonder story ! Glad for this guy. Hope his good luck charm doesn’t run out.

  4. Andrew Chelsea Fc Belmar that’s what I have been telling his brother in law Lasana Liburd for a long time now…hahhahahahha

  5. Now kenwyne can go to defence force..imagine they recognise this fella talent and also look at Caesar who scored a hat trick the other day..

  6. So he plays for Defence Force but he is not officially a soldier? Is there a Defence Force regulation against that? Otherwise, why does he not have a professional contract. And if he is not officially a soldier and does not have a contract with the Defence Force, why does he have to get a release from the Defence Force, where he is not officially a soldier and thus does not have a contract. Should he even be on the football field for Defence Force. If he received a serious injury, who would pay his medical bills? And we busy blaming the Costa Rican club for disrespecting local players. Seems to me we are the ones disrespecting them. Boatswain is a player without a club.

  7. What a joy to see this young man rise keep reaching for the stars

  8. God richest blessings to this young man. This is the correct time for him to get that exposure in Costa Rica. The opportunity in Costa Rica will certainly redound to the benefit of TT upcoming matches.

  9. Great going. A potentially powerful story in the making.

  10. Think the TT Pro League deserves some recognition for having a platform for guys to make the next step. IMO while unsustainable…there are certain positives that must be taken into account if any major League change is ever made.

  11. Congratulations to this guy I’m sure he’ll be a success in Costa Rica as he has the passion drive and commitment to go along with his talent.

  12. Congrats to the young man. I hope this shows the local players the value of putting on a good show even in a loss or while playing for a weaker team.
    You never know who is looking at you while you are on the pitch and your opportunity can be based on just 45 minutes of honest, hard work. Best of luck to him.

  13. Congrats bro keep the good work

  14. He is a national team player, you would think he would have learned that by now.

  15. Raw is good. As long as he’s willing to learn he can be successful. Training and coaching will make him better as long as he has the right attitude

  16. That club will straighten him out. He’ll be even more dangerous for us.

  17. Professionalism is very short in supply. No contact has been made with the Defence Force in regards to this

  18. Well done, your labour was not in vain.

  19. That’s a big jump. But if they are patient and prepared to teach him, then could be good for everyone.

  20. He has a nice work ethic too. And I think he has a striker’s instinct too. He is just a bit raw.

  21. imagine if he scored?’….lol

  22. Speed kills. Once he learns how to make runs and improves his technical ability, he could take off.