Jamiel Hardware (pictured), shown playing for Saint Louis FC, is hoping earn a spot on Jamaica's roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. (Photo: Mark Guthrel)
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- In 2010, Jamiel Hardware was tipped by Jamaica head coach Theodore Whitmore to be one of the most inventive midfielders of his generation.
Seven years later, with experience in the United States (Ventura County Fusion, Harrisburg City Islanders, Saint Louis FC) and Sweden (Motala AIF) under his belt, the 24-year-old Boys’ Town midfielder is hoping he can fulfil that potential at the international level. Hardware is currently in camp with Jamaica as it prepares to face the United States and Honduras in friendlies next month.
“I do believe my best is yet to come,” Hardware told CONCACAF.com. “I have garnered experience overseas in Scandinavia and in the (USA’s) USL, and I feel with me being back in Jamaica I have an opportunity to show the coaching staff my true potential. I am working towards not only getting my senior debut, but also cement a spot in the (2017 CONCACAF) Gold Cup.”
The playmaker most recently competed for the USL’s Saint Louis FC, scoring 12 goals and registered 18 assists in 48 games over the course of two seasons. Once again, however, his focus is squarely on catching Whitmore’s eye in order to earn a regular place with the Reggae Boyz.
“From when I was very young, the media and coaches in Jamaica have been tipping me to be the answer to Jamaica’s creativity in the midfield,” said Hardware, a former U17 and U20 international. “It truly is humbling to know that I am viewed that highly. I agree that I have not hit the heights as yet, but this is why this camp is here, so that I can keep myself in coach Whitmore’s mind and impress to be part of the squad next month for the friendlies.
“It will not be easy seeing that Jamaica’s talent pool is so wide in the USA, Canada, England, Scandinavia and even Asia, but I am here to focus and push my way in any Jamaica 20- or 23-man squad.”
Knowing Hardware’s creative qualities, there’s no doubt he’ll find a way.