Far from Jamaica and close to making the cut - The Province

Marc Weber

But for a head injury, teen might already have made senior men's team

Dever Orgill stands out from a quick glance at the Vancouver Whitecaps' residency roster. He's standing out on the pitch, too.

Orgill, who hails from Port Antonio, Jamaica, is the first and only international signing for the Caps' youth development team, a squad half made up of B.C. players. And considering the 18-year-old has already been called up to train with the big club this season, it's a safe bet he'll be the first to see action for the senior Caps.

"He's a very talented player, without a doubt," said Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson, who occasionally runs the residency training sessions. "He has especially good striker qualities. He's fast, he's very strong, has a fantastic shot and is aggressive. These are major points. And, he's young, so he has everything to be able to reach his goals."

Residency director Thomas Niendorf spotted Orgill during the CONCACAF under-17 World Cup qualifiers, where the now 6-foot, 160-pound striker was captaining his Jamaican side.

"That's one of the biggest experiences I've ever had," Orgill said of getting spotted. "I was just playing my regular game. I played well and I led my team that way I should. I think I deserved it.

"I talked to my mom and dad and decided I'm just going to take this opportunity and make use of it. Try to make everyone proud."

Orgill already had a connection to Vancouver. From the time he was born to when he was a young kid, his dad lived here, working as a farmer.

"Everything that I wore came from Vancouver," said Orgill, who has a younger brother rising through the Jamaican soccer ranks.

The residency squad is 4-1-1 in the USL's Premier Development League and Orgill has one goal in three games. He sustained a concussion at Tacoma on June 7 when the goalkeeper mistook his head for the ball and he's just starting to feel right again.

Thordarson said that if Orgill can regain his pre-injury form, fans can expect to see him sometime this season in a USL-1 game.

"It's quite likely," said Thordarson. "I brought him up [in late May] because I felt he was capable of helping us. I was ready to put him on the field."

Orgill didn't get any game action, but rated the training experience highly. All the players -- including the ones whose job he might one day take -- were welcoming and encouraging, especially fellow Jamaican forward Nick Addlery.

"I used to watch him on the under-20 team in Jamaica," said Orgill, later adding that the two have been trying to find a time to go to a Jamaican restaurant together. "He put me under his wing and everyone really showed me the respect.

"Stepping into that group, they taught me a lot of stuff and I observed all I could."

Niendorf, who took the residency team to a big tournament in Germany in early May, has stated that there is already European interest in "two or three" players, for which the Caps would get a transfer fee. Count Orgill, though, among those happy to develop more through the Whitecaps' system.

"My first priority is to play for the men's team rather than to rush into a European club and not get anything out of it," he said.

© The Vancouver Province 2008