April 30, 2009
Tusty makes USL debut

Vincy Heat captain Marlon “Tusty” James has finally made his United Soccer League (USL) debut.{{more}}

He did this last Saturday evening when he came on in the second half for his new club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, the defending First Division champion, against Portland Timbers.

James had 33 minutes of the action, which the Whitecaps won 1-0.

It was the Whitecaps’ first win for the season, having drawn 0-0 with the Charleston Battery, lost 1-2 to the Puerto Rico Islanders, then drew 1-1 with the Austin Aztex.

James was to be part of the opening match on April 11 versus the Battery, but suffered an ankle injury three days prior to the season’s opener, which kept him sidelined until last Saturday.

Reflecting on his debut, James said to SEARCHLIGHT last Sunday morning: “It was not too bad”.

He is looking forward to staying fit and playing a pivotal role in helping the club retain the title, as they have their eyes on entry into the more established Major League Soccer(MLS) in the next two years.

James, 32, signed on last December with the North American Club, as they seek to retain the title.

Playing on that continent is new for James, who has had previous outings in Trinidad and Tobago’s semi professional league, Asia, and briefly in Portugal, Europe.

He led Malaysian Club Kedah’s scoring for two consecutive seasons, helping them to do the treble.

James earned the Golden Boots Award for the 2007 to 2008 Malaysian season for scoring the most goals.

It was his second such award after he took the 2004 to 2005 Golden Boots title, then on the roster of MK Land.

James said that in his new outing in North America, his goal-scoring reputation garnered from his stints in Malaysia puts pressure on him, as much is expected of him.

James was forced to seek alternative employment after the Malaysian Football Association placed an indefinite ban on all foreign players in their Football League. James is the second Vincentian to turn out for the Whitecaps.

Wesley “Bhutto” Charles made his debut for the club last July. He has since been elevated to the position of the team’s Vice Captain.(RT)