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Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas (L) vies for the ball with Trinidad and Tobago’s Jamille Boatswain (R) during the CONCACAF FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifying soccer match between Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago at National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica, 13 June 2017. EPA/JEFFREY ARGUEDAS
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By midday on Friday, 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago striker Jamille Boatswain will officially be a Liga Deportiva Alajuelens player.

Boatswain is set to sign on the dotted line on Friday morning after agreeing terms to a two-year-deal with the Costa Rican powerhouse. And he is expected to arrive in San Jose on Monday night to join his new club, just over a week after spending time in the Costa Rican capital with his national teammates for the recent World Cup Qualifier with Los Ticos.

“I am happy as this is my first professional contract to play outside of Trinidad and Tobago. Two to three years ago I began playing in the Pro League with ‘Civic’ and then Marvin Gordon brought me to Defence Force and I want to thank him for that. Then the national team pick came and now I am very grateful for this opportunity to play with Alajuelense in Costa Rica,” Boatswain told TTFA Media on Thursday night.

Excited as he may be, Boatswain is fully aware that his life as a professional baller will be different to what he might have grown accustomed to in T&T.

“Yes I know. It’s going to be a big step up but I am ready. I am prepared to go there and settle in as quickly as possible and work my legs off to be successful on a personal level and to help the club achieve their goals.”

“I have an idea of what the game is like there. They are crazy about the game and I know the fans will be looking to see what I can do at the club,” he added.

Boatswain, a former student of St Benedict’s College, is a qualified paramedic, having completed courses at the Emergency Training Institute of Trinidad and Tobago in Charlieville Chaguanas and also worked part time with Wells Services Petroleum Company in South Oropouche during his time at Civic Centre.

“I went to school at ETIT where I trained to become a medic and I also worked at Wells Services but football was always the main thing for me. I kept working and looking for the opportunity. I went to ‘Army’ and my form was good to some extent and then I got the call to the national team.”

Boatswain revealed that the Costa Rican club began tracking him shortly after the two World Cup qualifiers versus Panama and Mexico in March.

“They were looking at me from the two games in March and the interest grew after the game in Costa Rica,” he said.

Alajuelense has been the club of several Costa Rica’s World Cup players such as José Carlos Chaves, Mauricio Montero, Wilmer López, Luis Marín, Johnny Acosta, Patrick Pemberton and current Costa Rican head coach Oscar Ramirez who played in the 1990 World Cup and lined up in the “Road to Italy” campaign against the Strike Squad.  The club’s biggest rival is Deportivo Saprissa which a season ago, signed T&T’s most recent player to play in Costa Rica,  Aubrey David.

Boatswain spoke further about his time under Dennis Lawrence and the respect he holds for his current T&T teammates who have been wearing the national colours for some time before he arrived on the scene.

“Well, Dennis Lawrence saw something in me and he gave me that chance which I think I grabbed openly in the game against Barbados and then he kept faith in me for the World Cup qualifiers. I am thankful for that and I hope I can continue to improve so I can come back into the team and deliver and help us to have a good chance of qualifying. The games in September are really important for us,” added “Balo” as he is affectionately called by his T&T teammates.

“Stern (John) has been doing some extra finishing with me during the recent camp and it has been helping me and being around some of the other players has been a great experience for me so far. Kenwyne (Jones) is the main man so  I came in knowing I would have to be working hard to get into the team. He has been really good overall in the camp and he is a good striker I believe. Hopefully all of us can be in good shape, you know, be at our best for the rest of matches coming up.”

With that kind of head on his shoulders, there’s every reason to be confident of where Balo’s ability could take him to. Venga Boatswain. Puede hacerlo!