August 10, 2011
Fraser joins Once Municipal
GORDON WILLIAMS, Star Writer
Jamaican international Sean 'Matterhorn' Fraser is set to make his debut in El Salvador's top football competition this weekend, the latest stop for the well-travelled Reggae Boy.
Fraser, a former Harbour View and Portmore United player, who has also plied his trade in North America, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and Brazil, recently signed a one-year deal with Once Municipal, which was recently promoted to the country's Premier Division of the Liga Futbol Profesional.
The quick, skilful, attacking 28-year-old midfielder/forward, who played for Jamaica in the 1999 Under-17 and 2001 Under-20 World Cups and has several senior national caps, has impressed his new club so far, scoring seven goals in four practice games. He claims he has fit in with his new environment in the city of Ahuachapán and is impressed by the club's standard of play.
"Definitely," Fraser said, days before Once Municipal opens its season at home on Sunday.
"The difference in talent is amazing. I didn't know what to expect, but after the first practices and the practice games I realised the standard is very high. It's the best club football I have played, except in Brazil."
In 2006, Fraser was sent on loan by his then club Miami FC of America's United Soccer Leagues (USL), where he was coached by World Cup winner Zinho and played alongside Brazilian legend Romario, to Boavista, which competes in Brazil's Campeonato Carioca competition. There, he played against some of the biggest teams in the football-mad South American country.
Fraser's professional travels have also taken him to Puerto Rico Islanders of USL and North East Stars in Trinidad, where he played last season. He has been on trial with pro teams in Europe and North America, and said he was offered a three-year deal with the Minnesota Thunder of the recently re-formed North American Soccer League (NASL) last year, but declined.
"Financially," said Fraser, "it wasn't good."
He chose instead to play in Trinidad. But although Fraser called last season "a success", and he was willing to sign a contract extension in June, he eventually turned it down, calling the deal unsatisfactory.
"Some promises (were made)," explained the former Vaz Prep, Camperdown High and Clarendon College student, "but nothing happened."
Once Municipal, nicknamed Los Canarios (The Canaries), approached Fraser through Mexican agent Manuel Urenda, via Jamaica international and former Puerto Rico Islanders teammate Nick Addlery, after Muncipal's coach Juan Andrés Sarulite, who had followed his progress in Brazil, expressed interest.
"He (Sarulite) said he used to watch me play in Brazil," Fraser explained. "(Back then) he said he would like to coach me one day."
The one-year offer from Municipal "was far better" than the Trinidad deal, said Fraser. He also embraced the opportunity for increased exposure.
"It's a bigger market, in terms of scouts," Fraser said. "Lots of scouts come from all over."
He said he has already been contacted by a club from Mexico's top division.
"I spoke to an agent recently and he said (Mexican clubs) will be watching me this season because they are interested," said Fraser. "They want to see what I do."
Salvadorians speak Spanish, but Fraser said he is adapting, benefiting from similar experiences in Puerto Rico and Brazil. The fans have also welcomed him.
"I can hardly walk the streets in peace now," said Fraser, who is still interested in a recall to the national team. "People are always coming up to me asking for autographs or just to talk to me."
His best response, however, will have to be saved for the field.
"It's all up to me now," said Fraser. "Everything is down to me now to perform."