By RON FANFAIR
A veteran Jamaican soccer goalkeeper is heading to Canada.
Donovan Ricketts, who has made 87 appearances for his country, was acquired last week by Major League Soccer (MLS) newcomers, Montreal Impact, from this year’s Cup champions, Los Angeles Galaxy, for allocation money.
Allocation money can be used to sign players or allocate against their contracts to keep teams under the league-mandated salary cap which was $2.675 million this year.
Impact goalkeeping coach, Preston Burpo, is excited to have Ricketts in their fold.
“He’s our guy,” said Burpo. “He’s big-time. He’s played in Europe and he’s got international experience. Over the last few years, I still think that he’s one of the best keepers in the league…Everything about this guy is a perfect fit for an expansion team. We need our players to look behind them and be confident, and I think we can achieve that with Donovan.”
Ricketts joined the Galaxy in 2009 – Toronto FC had also shown interest in him at the time – and quickly established himself as one of the league’s top goaltenders, earning an All-Star selection that year and helping his team reach the MLS Cup final.
Last season, he posted an exceptional 0.90 goals against average and tied a club record with 11 shutouts. He received a second straight All-Star nod and won the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year Award.
Ricketts’ appearances were limited in 2011 to just 15 games after a serious injury forced him to miss two months.
Last June, he broke his forearm after colliding with fellow Jamaican, Khari Stephenson, of the San Jose Earthquakes.
The 34-year-old played in the Jamaica National Premier League and in England with Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City before joining MLS.
Ricketts, who made $170,000 this season, appeared in 77 MLS contests – all starts – and recorded 27 shutouts in three seasons in Los Angeles.
And, Namibia is heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in its bid to secure a place at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament. Namibia feels that Burkina Faso should be excluded for fielding an ineligible player. Their appeal to the Confederation of African Soccer was rejected.
“We have agreed to give instructions to our lawyers to continue,” said Namibia Soccer Federation’s general secretary, Barry Rukoro. “Those instructions have gone to the lawyers and they are preparing the documents to file.”
Namibia claims that Cameroon-born Herve Zengue, who made his international debut for Burkina Faso last March, does not fulfil the International Soccer Federation’s (FIFA) eligibility rules.
Burkina Faso, however, claims he’s eligible to play for that country because he has a Burkinabe wife.