'Powa' play

'Powa' play

J'can Nicque Daley makes big impact at Charleston, eyes future move to Europe

Deputy Sport Editor

Sunday, October 18, 2020

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Nicque “Powa” Daley is kicking up more than the usual dust in the USA's second division, bringing gale force effect to a league that soon cannot contain him.

The 19-year-old Jamaican, in his first season, has been creating waves on the United Soccer League (USL) and making headlines with his exploits with Charleston Battery.

So far Daley is on course of reaching, and even exceeding, his season target of seven goals. Already the precocious teen has six goals to his name in 17 appearances.

But at the rate he is going, it won't be long before clubs higher up will come forth with more than just a fleeting interest.

And true to expectations, those close to the player's affairs confirm that already the initial courtship of the Jamaican talent by other clubs is in full swing.

“When I first came into the USL, I knew it was a steppingstone and knew I couldn't afford to get complacent to say that I have made it because I want to play at the highest level of football in Europe, so being in the USL is to develop more and to eventually move forward. Therefore, I must keep pushing myself forward by working hard day by day,” Daley told the Jamaica Observer recently.

In the USL Eastern Conference quarter-final game recently, the 19-year-old scored a crucial goal in his team's 2-1 over Charlotte Independence, the club of fellow Jamaican Dane Kelly.

Charleston were due to face Tampa Bay Rowdies in the semi-finals last night.

“Scoring that goal was important as that is my job, so scoring a goal in a quarter-final-round match was important for me and the team going forward. I think the work that I have put in during the whole Covid period, I think is showing in these games that I have been playing,” said the downtown, Kingston native.

Daley, the former Clarendon College star, said his team is in the frame of mind to go all the way this season.

“The mindset the team has right now is that we have three more games to go, which is semi-final weekend [this weekend], the final and the all-conference final,” he noted.

For Daley, who transferred from Jamaican outfit Cavalier SC to Charleston, said winning the USL in his second season would “mean a lot to me”.

“For me, winning the USL at my age would be a great thing for me. It would mean a lot to me because last season was my first season, and I was that man who came off the bench to try and help the team.

“This year, however, I got a lot of playing time and I am feeling more and more that I am a part of this team and now I am one of the leading goal-scorers of the team at this point in time,” he shared.

Daley, the top daCosta Cup goal-scorer in 2017 and 2018, says he is at home at Charleston and felt welcome the first day he walked through the doors of the South Carolina club.

“The guys welcomed me from the first time I came to Charleston and I have been able to build bonds with people here…this bunch of players are good guys and we have been able to move as one as a lot of us live at the same apartment complex, so we have a lot of time where we can chill at the pool and so on,” Daley noted.

The former Harbour View man, says he has seen massive growth in his game since taking his talent to the USA and in a full professional setup.

“I have seen a lot of improvements, and since coming into the professional world, a lot has changed, as my work rate has increased as I have been dropping back to help the team to defend.

“Coming out of a school system to pro, although I did have a few games in the Premier League back home, it was new, but I have been growing, so I am happy with the progress,” said Daley.

The bustling forward, who excelled at the junior ranks of the national programme, says he hopes to one day make a similar impact on the senior Reggae Boyz.

“Everyone wants to play for the senior team, and I think I have done well at the junior levels — Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 — so for me it just about staying focused and keep working because you don't know who is watching,” stated Daley.

For Jamaica's Under-17, Daley claims he has seven goals to his credit, six for the Under-20s and two for the Under-23s.

With all the football he has played as a kid growing up in Kingston's tough streets of the impoverished inner-city community known as Orange Villa and the early promise he has shown then, it was at Clarendon College that he came to national prominence.

“I think I did a lot for Clarendon College and I think that school did a lot for me in terms of developing my football because we always have good coaches there like Paul “Tegat” Davis and Lenny “Teacher” Hyde.

“I think I have gone through a good system of coaches there and I have been pushed by those coaches because I think they saw that I have the qualities to reach the highest level.

“I believe I have helped that school a lot in bringing titles as we have the daCosta Cup, Olivier Shield, the Ben Francis knockout and I have won the Golden Boot title back-to-back,” Daley recalls a time of his playing days that is dear to his heart.

The industrious attacker, who relies on his speed and brute force to get the better of defenders, has come a long way in a short elapse of time from his school heyday and can today boast to be the “breadwinner” for his mother Myrlin Elaine Roberts and five older brothers.

Daley claims he also has a sister by his late father's side.

“It is a great feeling [to be able to support family] because growing up without a father and only a mother was tough, but she is always there and she has been my number one supporter, and when I am not doing good, she doesn't feel good, and when I am doing well, she's the happiest lady.

“It's her support that keeps driving me and now that I am the breadwinner for my family, is a great feeling and I have to keep going hard for them,” noted Daley, who moved to Charleston last year.

Daley, when asked to offer words of encouragement to other young Jamaica footballers, kept his response in one sentence.

“My advice to a young player coming up is to keep motivating yourself in everything you do on and off the field,” he said.

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