Je-Vaughn Watson declines Jamaica call-up and FC Dallas reap the benefits vs. Whitecaps

FRISCO, Texas - Je-Vaughn Watson had one of his best games in an FC Dallas uniform against the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 3-1 win on Saturday evening.

In addition to his wonder-strike of a goal (watch it here), he just missed on a couple of other chances and consistently created dangerous situations against the Vancouver defense.

Watson’s long-range goal may have been a bit unexpected, but the real surprise is that he was wearing red-and-white hoops instead of the green-and-yellow of Jamaica. The Jamaican Football Federation called up the midfielder for their September World Cup qualifiers against Panama and Costa Rica, but Watson turned them down.

“I think playing for Jamaica is important because it’s my country, but … I want to go to the [MLS Cup] playoffs,” Watson told reporters after the match. “That’s the most important thing. I’m here all season ... I’m a competitor, I hate losing. Whenever I lose, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat. I’d rather be here than be in Jamaica right now.”

The Reggae Boyz are currently last in the six-team CONCACAF Hexagonal, sitting five points back of fourth-place Mexico.  With only three matches left, their chances of qualification are nominal, so Watson decided that his club needed him more than his country right now. FC Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman said it’s a choice that few players would have made.

“I think he really thinks about his teammates and FC Dallas,” Hyndman told reporters. “Je-Vaughn’s a great guy. He gives you everything he has. He comes to training every day with a smile on his face, he’s such a pleasant person to be around.”

Watson thinks Saturday's goal could lead to more down the stretch, giving him the confidence to shoot when he has the opportunity. He said that before the match, he actually planned on scoring two goals and also admitted that his 9th minute laser was one of the better goals he’s scored. But to him, it wasn’t unexpected.

“We’ve been practicing the last two weeks on scoring and taking shots from way outside,” Watson said. “Tonight, I just came out to score. During the warm-up I was shooting on target, so I knew when I got one in the game, I just had to crush it.”

Matt Barbour covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com.