HOUSTON – This offseason, midfielder Lovel Palmer left Harbour View – the team he loved and played for in Jamaica since he was a teenager – to travel to the US and earn a spot with the Houston Dynamo.
Prior to traveling to Kansas City and DC with the Dynamo, the Jamaican international sat down with MLSsoccer.com to talk about his first year in MLS and his national-team experience.
MLSsoccer.com: How do you feel your first year in MLS is coming along and, in particular, your play at midfield of late?
Palmer: I’m comfortable and the players and coaches here give me the confidence to do whatever, and I am grateful for that. Coming in as a defensive midfielder, it wasn’t anything new, but it wasn’t a position I played very often. Back in Jamaica, I used to be versatile and play right wingback, left wingback, center mid or right mid. For me, it’s wherever the coaches think I can play the best. If they think I can make a difference with the team, that’s good.
MLSsoccer.com: How hard was it missing the matches against San Jose and Toronto while you were on national-team duty?
Palmer: It was very hard. It was frustrating for me [to watch against Toronto] and I can only imagine for the guys on the pitch. I am happy to be back and happy to be with the guys. Hopefully we can get back to [our] winning ways and end the season on a high.
MLSsoccer.com: Talk about your recent call-ups to the Jamaican national team.
Palmer: It was alright, and I was a little disappointed I didn’t get more playing time. I played 15 or 20 minutes in both games [against Costa Rica on Sept. 5, and against Peru on Sept. 7] and it was good and nice to get back into the team for my country. I just need to keep performing well for my club and hopefully [Jamaica's coaching staff] will recognize it.
MLSsoccer.com: Jamaica have some players having good years in MLS. How do you think they will do in qualifying for the CONCACAF Gold Cup?
Palmer: For Jamaica, we have a pretty good team with a lot of players that are playing well. Omar Cummings, Dane Richards, Shavar Thomas, Khari Stephenson are playing well. First, we have to focus on the qualifiers because, if we lose track, we can be surprised by some teams. Qualifying for the Gold Cup will be a big achievement.
MLSsoccer.com: What are your thoughts on the final stretch of games with Houston?
Palmer: This season’s only going to get tougher. We’re trying to salvage some pride. Other teams have playoff hopes and think they can come out all guns blazing because we’re not doing well. They’ll try to get points off us. We prepared for the journey and we will do our best, as we need to finish this season on a high.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.