With the annoucement of Jermaine Taylor's contract extension with the Dynamo, I sat down with Jermaine to discuss his new deal, his technical qualities and where he plays dominoes in Houston.
Pedersen: You have re-signed with the Dynamo after spending two years with the club. What factors contributed to your desire to remain with the club?
Taylor: Soccer is a funny game. You always want to do something that you are comfortable doing, and do it in a place where you are comfortable. I think these last two years have been good for me, reaching the Cup final two years in a row. [Houston] is now a home for me, and I wanted to be even more comfortable as a player and be someone who can help move the Dynamo forward.
Q: You have performed well for the Dynamo, playing multiple positions across the backline and earning a starting spot last season. What did it mean for you to have the organization want to commit to you long-term?
A: It's funny sometimes, when you've been with a team four or five years and you see a lot of changes; it's not always a good thing. I’m with the team right now, comfortable with all the guys here and the environment and I'm glad the Dynamo wanted to keep me here.
Q: The club has become a Jamaican contingent of sorts, with four Jamaicans, including yourself, Je-Vaughn Watson, Omar Cummings and 2013 draftee Jason Johnson. Being one of the first Jamaicans with the club, are you proud of the example you set, which may have played a role in brining in more of your countrymen?
A: Yes, something I’ve always told myself is that whatever club I play for, I want to make a good impression with that team. With Omar and JJ (Jason Johnson) coming in, I think Dom will enjoy having them as well. Dom notices that we are nice with the guys and things don’t bother us, and maybe he is looking at that along with our performance. I’ve already talked to JJ about what Dom is looking for in terms of player attitude inside and out of the locker room.
Q: You are a stout defender, with notable size and strength. But you also have quality touch and technique with the ball. Where did you develop such a smooth ability on the ball?
A: Growing up, where I played soccer, it was a very small area and very overcrowded. So you had to keep the ball as close to your feet and try and keep it from the other guys. As I got older, and was selected for the national team, we did a lot of technical work, and that helped. Coaches are always going to look for center backs that are big, strong and have good technical ability. In practice, sometimes I’ll do something well and Dom will (jokingly) say, “You know you’re a center back, right?” … [Brazilian national team center back] Lucio is my favorite player, and he is the guy I always watch when Brazil plays. He has good touch and he likes to move forward.
Q: You have now lived in Houston for two years. What are your impressions of the city?
A: It is a good city- I like it here. I am a laid back person and don’t go out too much in the city. Most of the time I spend on the Southwest side, where a lot of Jamaicans live. I play dominoes with the Missouri City Domino Club and there are a lot of Jamaicans. As I said, I don’t go out much, but where I do go in Houston, I enjoy it.