Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks returned to his native Jamaica to start the offseason this week, and he didn't wait long to make a few waves in the Caribbean.
Fresh off a disappointing second season for both him and his club, the 23-year-old speedster appeared on local television show Football GPS on Tuesday and spoke frankly with host Wayne Walker about former 'Caps coach Martin Rennie, the unsuccessful hunt for the MLS Cup Playoffs and his own career to date. (Watch the full interview here.)
Asked why Vancouver did not make the playoffs after reaching that milestone in 2012, Mattocks did not refer to Rennie by name but left little doubt of his frustrations with the recently departed boss.
“When Darren led the team as a rookie, Vancouver made the playoffs, right?” said Mattocks, referring to himself in the third person. “My second season, coach have me upon the bench a majority of the season – me and him couldn't agree. The player who lead MLS in scoring [Camilo] play for Vancouver – how come them [miss] the playoffs? So you read between the lines.”
He also claimed that English clubs as well as “every other team in MLS” were interested in his services.
“Vancouver don't want Darren to leave as yet, they want to sell me [for] as much money as possible,” he said. “So obviously I have to pursue my dreams, to play in the best league in the world [the English Premier League], as every young player. So because of that I tell the coach, 'Listen, do what's best for me, do what's best for the club. Because if you sell me, the club have to get money. And I get to fulfill my dreams. It's a win-win situation.'
“The coach say he's not ready to sell Darren,” he continued. “So I say, why not? They want to invest in me more. I said, you already invested in Darren by drafting me, and now you have to reap the benefits by selling me. They don't want that. So from that, me and them couldn't agree. At the end of the day, I have to look out for what's best for me.”
After earning fewer minutes this season – and seeing his goals total drop off after an impressive rookie campaign – Mattocks admitted that a “feud” left a rift between him and Rennie, though he dismissed the suggestion that he had any influence in the coach's departure.
And he made clear that even with Rennie gone, he's prepared to leave British Columbia in search of regular playing time, despite his contentment in Canada's third city.
“When I say me and Vancouver coach in a bit of feud, you have to remember, by the time I retire from football – which is not for now – I have to make sure my career is set in every way, shape and form,” he said. “If I can be successful in my first season and in my second season you try to jeopardize my career, I'm not naïve and I'm not going to stay."
“Every other team in MLS wants me. There was a team in MLS – I'm not going to name the team – offered $1.2 million to buy me from Vancouver and Vancouver turned them down,” he added. (Editors' note: A transaction like this would not be possible under MLS rules.) “If I said I didn't want to go back to Vancouver, I would be lying, because I tell people it's one of the best cities in the world to live. It's very beautiful, it's very clean. But I can't look just at that, I have to look at my football, too. I'm a footballer, I'm only 23, but I have a lot of talent in front of me, a lot of years to go. So I have to look at that as well.”