Martinique’s Delem makes mark in USA
Martinique’s Jordy Delem (pictured) plays his club football in the USA with Seattle Sounders FC. (Photo: AFP Services)

TAMPA, Florida – Jordy Delem’s path to playing in Major League Soccer started three years ago with a clinic in his native Martinique.

Leading the proceedings that day was Ezra Hendrickson, a former St. Vincent & the Grenadines international who played for six different teams during an 11-year MLS career.  The former defender was there as the head coach of Seattle Sounders FC 2, the reserve team for the MLS squad.

It was there that he noticed Delem.

“He saw me and when he saw me he said he wants me on his team,” Delem told  “After I came to tryouts, they kept me.”

A year after playing on the reserve team, the 24-year-old defender was signed by the Sounders and has started seven of the 11 MLS matches he’s played this year.

“I know soccer is difficult, but I know when you work hard too, you can have good things,” stressed Delem.  “That’s what I did.  I worked hard.  I think I had some very good games last year and now I have this contract this year.  I’m so happy.”

Of course, going from living in Martinique to Seattle in the Pacific Northwest of the United States requires time to acclimate.

“First, the weather is different because it’s still raining every day, but it’s easy to come and live,” Delem commented.  “The people are nice.  I have some friends on the team and they make it easy to come and feel good.”

Delem is also at the heart of Martinique’s eye-opening run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.  After a 2-0 win over Nicaragua, Martinique battled back from a two-goal deficit to get level with the United States, before falling 3-2 at Raymond James Stadium on Wednesday night.

That match was bittersweet for Delem, who got to play against Sounders teammates Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris, who struck for a brace.”

“I’m happy for him (Morris), but disappointed for my team,” expressed Delem.  “He’s a great guy, good luck to him and great goals.”

The feeling from Morris was mutual.

“It was fun playing against him,” Morris said.  “He’s a great guy and obviously a very good player.”

Now Martinique heads into a showdown Saturday with Panama in Cleveland, Ohio, looking to book a spot into the quarterfinals.

“We must keep heads up to look forward to Saturday and try to get some points to go to the quarterfinals,” finished Delem.