Last Thursday, Lovel Palmer — one of the Dynamo's newest signings — made his debut in Houston's defeat of reigning league champions Real Salt Lake.
However, having spent a couple of weeks wrangling to formalize the necessary paperwork, the midfielder was just happy to finally be in town.
“It was nice making my debut and making it with a victory at home," Palmer said. "I’m elated.”
Palmer’s paperwork issues stemmed from difficulties getting an appointment with the embassy in Jamaica. The Dynamo front office assisted Palmer in obtaining an emergency appointment, and he was happy to have made it to Houston in time for Thursday’s game.
The Jamaican midfielder had been with former club Harbour View for 12 years, including six with the senior team. While Palmer is ecstatic to be moving on to greener pastures, he speaks fondly of his time with his old club.
“I’ve been there since I was 13, and it’s like family to me,” said Palmer, who has 12 caps for the Jamaica national team. “A lot of people were disappointed I was leaving, but they were happy I was moving on to better things. It was great, and I’m sure they were watching [Thursday] and were rooting for the Houston Dynamo.”
While the paperwork may have taken longer than expected, it did not take Palmer long to feel welcome in Houston during the preseason. His new Dynamo teammates helped make the transition easy.
“The first day on the pitch, I felt like I was here forever,” Palmer said. “The players welcomed me with open arms.”
As for those teammates, they are excited to have the Jamaican midfielder on the team.
“Lovel’s that guy that came in, didn’t say a whole lot, put his head down and worked hard,” fellow midfielder Brad Davis said. “I think he had some good games and scored a fantastic goal in Orlando, and he’s just 25, but if you give him a little time with this team, he will fit in quite well.”
Prior to the start of the season, head coach Dominic Kinnear discussed what had made the team sign Palmer.
“We liked him, and we feel there was a need in that position for one or two guys that can play in there,” Kinnear said. “I thought the way he played with us, he did alright. We saw enough of him that we did feel that if he comes in, he will get better.
"He covers good ground, he’s pretty strong in the tackle, a good athlete, and makes decent decisions on the ball. The one thing that stands out is that he strikes the ball from distance with both feet, so I think he will be a good addition for us.”
Now that Palmer is finally with the team, Kinnear will get more time to figure out if Palmer can play at any other position. Kinnear originally envisioned Palmer as a holding midfielder, but he said he will let Palmer’s abilities speak for themselves.
"He does play a couple of positions for Jamaica, so we’ll find out more as we go along,” Kinnear said. “The main reason we brought him here was the holding midfield position, but he could see some time in other positions as well.”