Harris clan plots resurgence for KC

September 16th, 2010

The Kingston College father-and-son coaching team of Wolde (left) and father Trevor ‘Jumpy’ Harris

TREVOR ‘Jumpy’ Harris and three of his adult sons have gone back to school — not as students of football this time, but as coaches.

‘Jumpy’ is the exception as he has coached at school level before.

Harris and offspring Wolde, Simba and Changa have formed an enviable and formidable team at Kingston College (KC), where they aim to spearhead the repositioning of football on that stretch of North Street.

KC, one of the winningest schools in the Manning Cup (the Holy Grail of schoolboy football supremacy in Jamaica) with 14 titles — have languished in the wilderness for 25 years since last tasting success, but there is a feeling of hope since the Harrises’ latest return.

Wolde — the eldest son and arguably the most accomplished player among the brothers — eloquently summed up their mission at his alma mater. Dad Trevor and sibling Simba are also past students, but Changa was schooled in the USA.

“KC haven’t won the Manning Cup in 25 years, so there’s a change in the psyche as far as the approach to the game. It was a little different when we came in and you know our father has a philosophy of positive possessional football which requires the players to think and read the game, and I think that’s where world football is right now,” said the 36-year-old ex-US MLS striker.

“In order to execute that (new philosophy), we have to make sure that the players’ psyche is in tune with it, which takes time,” Wolde told the Observer on Tuesday following KC’s 2-1 opening Manning Cup Group F victory over debutants Hydel at their North Street fortress.

Patriarch Trevor, 64, was more concise in explaining the mission, but was just as poignant.

“I’ve been charged with the responsibility of laying the philosophy of the entire football programme, including the Manning Cup, Colts and Pepsi teams. What we are trying to do is play positive, possessional football,” said the veteran coach.

But that philosophy was not totally in evidence on Tuesday as KC were far from aesthetic in their hard-fought win. Both Wolde and Trevor agree that it’s work in progress, however.

“It wasn’t (possessional football) as much as I would have liked to see… but I know in practice I have seen something pretty exciting,” said the elder Harris.

But based on projections, KC can only get better as the season progresses.

“We still have a long season ahead of us and we’re just glad that we came out with the victory, and we now have to just look to build on that… we’re not fully satisfied with the performance, but happy with the three points,” said Wolde, who works closely with his “legendary” father with the Manning Cup squad.

Simba and Changa are assigned to the Colts and Pepsi teams, respectively.

Wolde, who had successful stints with the Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution and the Kansas City Wizards in the MLS, said while expectations are perennially high for the ‘Purples’, the goal this time around is realistic.

“For this year, with the talent that we have with the traditional KC, there are high expectations, we also have our expectations within and I think not winning the Manning Cup for 25 years and helping to change the way KC is playing, will take some time before we see the fruits of our labour.

“We’d love to be in the top echelon of the competition and whatever comes after that is ‘brawta’,” said the former Jamaica international, who has seven goals from 28 caps.

It’s not every day one sees a father and his brood working together in Jamaica, and the Harrises’ monopoly over the football programme at KC is a rarity by the most discriminating measure.

“It’s awesome to be working with my father. Of course I have been learning the game from him as a kid, so going pro and playing for the national team and coming back here (KC) and to actually coach with him is great,” beamed Wolde.

“It’s great to be under his stewardship and actually learn from him as he is a great thinker of the game and he cares about the kids he coaches and wants them to know exactly what it will take to make them better,” added the former Clemson University standout.

Like his father, Wolde was an outstanding Manning Cupper for KC, but his dad distinguished himself by being a key figure in the school’s domination in 1964 and 1965.

“We all love the game and with our father coming back here at our alma mater it just seems fitting that we come in and share the knowledge that we have as far as we know it because we don’t know it all,” noted Wolde, who played for the school during the late 1980s.

Like any good father, ‘Jumpy’s’ joy of having his sons at his side as coaches at an institution they dearly love and are grateful to, could not be contained.

“It’s just a real pleasure, having coached them and see them come into coaching… sometimes it’s as if they read my mind because I don’t have to tell them things as they know exactly what needs to be done. It’s really an enjoyable time for me,” said the former Michigan State University star.

The senior Harris coached his sons at Vaz Prepatory School, and Wolde at KC.

When he’s not by his father’s side plotting the course for KC’s ambitious quest for football plaudits, Wolde is busy with his new company, Jamaica Grassroots Football, which is partly in the business of organising exciting camps and clinics for kids.

Along with Hydel, KC share Group F with Eltham High, Campion College, Jonathan Grant, St Catherine High and Tarrant High.

Source:Jamaica Observer

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