US Soccer gets shot in arm from Barbados – Ferguson an asset for both Bajan and American goals

US Soccer has done much to improve its global stock, they have wooed the mythical Beckham to their shores and now they’re seducing Caribbean stock… Especially our own, according to Charles Boehm at the Potomac Soccer Wire

Born in Maryland to a Barbadian mother and Grenadian father, [Daryl] Ferguson spent time with D.C. United’s Super Y-League team before attending Seton Hill University, a small liberal arts college which was just beginning the move from club level to NAIA (and eventually, NCAA Division II) competition when he arrived in 2003.

?He?s clearly the most talented player we?ve ever had here,? said Seton Hill coach Dan McCarty. ?He?s just an amazing kid, too. He was a pre-med major, did well academically, he was a student ambassador. I mean, he?s a total-package kind of kid. Everything he has earned, he deserves.?

Despite a distinguished tenure at SHU, Ferguson had little intention of pursuing a professional career until McCarty urged him to do so in his senior year. With his confidence and curiosity piqued, the talented but raw defender soon caught on with the Delaware Dynasty of the Premier Development League and later trained with the Charleston Battery of USL-1.

Having been raised with a strong consciousness of his West Indian roots, he also reached out to see if Grenada or Barbados would consider him for their national team programs. Barbados officials replied first, so Ferguson took the plunge, booking a flight south with his own money in the hopes of making an impression.

It seems the risk paid off, he even earned a local nickname that makes a pun on a local shopping establishment –

?It was a risk. It was either a hit or miss, basically,? he said. ?The tryout was practicing with the Olympic squad, which was preparing for the Olympic [qualifiers], to go to Aruba in September. So I went over in late August, and they asked me to stay, so I ended up staying until the end of September.?

Ferguson played a full 90 minutes in all three of the Bajans? qualifiers, including a 2-0 win over Aruba and an unlucky 1-0 loss to regional power Jamaica. A 2-1 loss to Antigua and Barbuda eliminated Barbados from contention for a spot in next summer?s Beijing Olympics, but for Ferguson, it was a successful trip in every other sense.

?It felt really good, because I got a chance to represent part of my heritage and it was a great opportunity to showcase my skills as well,? he explained.

Noting his multinational background, his Bajan teammates quickly coined him ?Swirl Baby? when he revealed his familiarity with Grenadian culture on a team trip to the neighboring island ? but his strong build and physical play in defense saw the nickname evolve.

?Now they call me Big B,? laughed Ferguson.

Once an English colonial stronghold, Barbados is a cricket-obsessed nation whose soccer squad ? for now at least ? remains just one more minnow among many in a CONCACAF pool dominated by a few sharks like the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica. But with hungry domestic players eager to earn attention from overseas and a savvy coaching staff growing increasingly adept at identifying second-generation talent in England, Canada and the U.S., there?s much cause for optimism.

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