January 9, 2009

The football career of Marlon James is taking him to another continent.

The Vincy Heat Captain will soon be heading off to North America to be part of the 2008 champion, the Vancouver Whitecaps Soccer Club, in the United States Soccer League.{{more}}

The tall, powerfully built striker has signed a two-year contract and will re-unite with his Vincy Heat teammate, defender Wesley Charles.

James was first carded for a transfer to the club last August, but was stalled because of an international transfer.

He was chased down by the club after his exploits in Malaysia and his good showing against Canada last June in the CONCACAF Qualifiers to the 2010 World Cup.

The 32-year-old James, who spent the last two seasons with Malaysian Club Kedah FC, had been forced to seek alternative employment after a ruling by the Malaysia Football authorities debarring foreigners from plying their trade there.

Eagerly looking forward to his new assignment, James told SEARCHLIGHT last Saturday that he chose the Whitecaps as it was a more favourable deal than the others.

He disclosed that Major League Soccer franchise, the San Jose Earthquake, was another of his options.

“What San Jose was bringing to the table was not right for me, and it was not good for me on a long term basis,” James said.

But his dream is to play in the MLS, as the Whitecaps hopes to enter the bigger league in 2010.

For the Whitecaps, James is a hot asset.

“They expect a lot from me; it is my job as a striker and I am paid to score goals”, James added .

In between, James wants to don the national colours as he expects the SVGFF to secure friendly internationals with other teams, to keep the country’ s rankings up.

Apart from being impressed with the White caps’ Youth Programme, James said that at the end of the two years, he has an option to re-sign and the club will also assist him with some aspects of beginning a coaching career.

“After playing, I want to get my coaching licence,” James shared.

“They have a nice Youth Programme. They also want to link up with the Caribbean to look for new players’, said James, whose first love was Track and Field, where he favoured the sprints.

James rounded off his Malaysian football career as the 2007/2008 Most Valuable Foreign Player, an award which he stashed away in the 2006/2007 season.

But his big achievement in his farewell year on the Asian continent was his 23 goals that landed him the Golden Boots award for being the highest goal scorer. He also did so 2004/2005, then with MK Land.

Kedah bagged an unprecedented treble in 2007, and is also the first side in the history of the Malaysian League to successfully defend the Super League trophy.

They repeated the feat last year.

James, who is from the Grenadine island of Bequia, became a hit in the late 1980’s at the annual Inter-Schools Football Competitions, during his years at the then Bequia Anglican High School, now the Bequia Community High. His first love was Track and Field Athletics, where he ran the sprints.

After representing Pastures United, he played Youth Olympians, of Bequia, from 1993 t0 1995, then Combined Stars from 1995 to 1997.

James moved to Hope International in 1998, and then his professional career began that same year with a stint in Trinidad and Tobago with San Juan Jabloteh.

It was off to Tirense in Portugal for one season from 2001 to 2002.

He went further east to Malaysia the following year on the roster of Sabah, before joining MK Land 1in 2004.