National Under-20 coach and former Reggae Boy, Altimont ‘Freddie’ Butler will tomorrow be honoured by the San Jose Earthquakes as one of the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise’s original roster members when the league kicked off 20 years ago. Butler, the first Jamaican to play in the MLS, was drafted by the San Jose Clash (later renamed Earthquakes) in February 1996 in the second round (eighteenth overall) of 250 players in the league’s Inaugural Player Draft. He was also on the team’s roster for the first ever MLS game to be played which was against DC United. Tomorrow the San Jose Earthquakes will hold a 20th Anniversary Celebration when D.C. United visits to Avaya Stadium in a recreation of MLS’ inaugural match in San Jose on April 6, 1996, just four days shy of the exact day 20 years ago. As part of the affair all the former San Jose Clash players, staff and MLS representatives that made the inaugural season possible will be honoured at half-time. “It is always a great feeling to be part of history especially being the first Jamaican to be drafted for and to play in the MLS. Being recognised as one of the pioneers is a special feeling,” said Butler who departed the island yesterday for California. Among the former players who will be honoured alongside Butler are current Chelsea technical director and former Nigeria international Michael Emenalo, US Internationals Eric Wynalda, Eddie Lewis, Paul Bravo and John Doyle. Others include Mexican international Eduardo Missael Espinoza, Jorge Rodas (Guatemala) and Ben Iroha (Nigeria). Having been there at the start Butler now looks on with pride. “It has grown a lot. Right now it is a real big league compared to what it was then and all the signs show that it will grow even more. What I am most proud about is that it has opened the doors for a lot of Jamaicans and the performance of most of them means that we can become a major supplier of talent for the League,” said Butler, who was drafted out of the University of Southern New Hampshire. Even with that success though, the Port Royal native who distinguished himself as a schoolboy at Dunoon Technical High and at Harbour View before venturing overseas, said there is still more for Jamaicans to do in the MLS. “We have to change our outlook, training attitudes and approach. We are too laid back and that is one of the reasons for the most part why some of us do not stay too long there. Our thinking has to get to the level where we treat the sport as a job. We have to prepare our youngsters to know that this (football) is a job just like those you get dressed up in your suits for,” the man, who shares coaching responsibility for the country under-20 Boyz with his former Reggae Boy teammate Ricardo Gardner, said.
The continuous absence of lawyers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOF) at the Commercial Court for the hearing of their case yesterday was enough for Judge Chan-chan A. Paegar to charge the Ministry for disrespecting the court.Judge Paegar took the decision immediately after lawyers for Semah Group of Companies, seeking over US$4.8 million in damages from Winrock International and USAID, both US-based entities, for breach of contract, asked him to do so.The Ministry was mandated by Judge Paegar on numerous occasions to ensure that the two US institutions appear before the court to answer to Semah’s allegation, but their lawyers have failed to comply with the court’s order.Taking the action yesterday, Judge Paegar granted Semah’s legal team’s request to hold them in contempt for continuous non-appearance.Judge Paegar further warned that the Ministry should appear before him today to show reason why they should not be held in contempt for their failure to attend his scheduled hearing, although they received and signed notices asking them to do so.The Commercial Court judge did not mention any punishment for disrespecting the court’s order; instead, he instructed his clerk to again communicate with the Ministry so that they can attend their contempt hearing, which he scheduled for today.The case emerged after Semah Group of Companies filed a lawsuit against Winrock International and USAID at the Commercial Court for breach of contract.In its lawsuit, Semah is seeking US$4.5 million in general damages “for psychological effect and disparagement” and an additional US$379K in specific damages and “total contract price.”In the lawsuit, Semah Group stated that it entered into a contractual agreement with the respondent on May 1, 2014, for the construction of a biomass electricity pilot project.Semah further indicated that the initial contract was valued at US$296,535.56 on July 18, 2014, noting that seven modifications to the original contract were initiated and effected with an additional cost of US$82.5K, thus increasing the contract value to US$379,043.37.The document further contended that the duration of the initial contract was from May 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014, but that due to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, including quarantines and closure of borders on September 29, 2014, the said contract was extended to October 14, 2014.Semah said to their surprise, the defendants breached the contractual agreement by advertising the same contract for the construction of the Kwendin Biomass Project in violation of the contractual agreement between them.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)