We knew something was up with Junior Flemmings, mostly because he told us...
Hope to be back on the pitch as soon as possible....backstrongerthanbefore ...❗️— Junior Flemmings (@Flemmo_77) September 2, 2016
Hope to be back stronger than ever...— Junior Flemmings (@Flemmo_77) September 5, 2016
Soccer is life ❗️ pic.twitter.com/OBDx7yO32n
Speaking to Big Apple Soccer's Kristian Dyer, New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch confirmed that the Jamaican is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. The player has reportedly had meniscus surgery, and RBNY has decided that will keep him off the field for the rest of the year.
It is disappointing news for Flemmings, who signed a contract this year with New York Red Bulls II and had become an increasingly influential part of the team's seemingly inevitable march on the USL regular season title. He'll watch his NYRB II teammates seek to finish that job in their remaining four league games. And he'll watch whatever they are able to achieve in the USL playoffs without him.
Still, Flemmings can reflect on a job well done this season. Back in February, the player promised the Jamaica Observer he would be focused on advancing his career abroad: "Now it is all about performance and hard work."
He delivered seven goals and four assists in 23 appearances for NYRB II, second on the team in both categories at the time his season-ending injury was revealed.
A frequent visitor to theNYRB II highlight reels, Flemmings appeared to be visibly outgrowing USL in recent weeks, putting in a series of eye-catching performances for the back-up Bulls. His target for this season would surely have been to win the attention of RBNY's first team, and that mission would appear to be accomplished. Jesse Marsch told BAS:
Everyone is very confident that he’ll have a full recovery and be ready to go for preseason next year. There’s a chance we bring him in with the full team from the start.
Describing Flemmings as a player "I think we're earmarking for the first team", Marsch was fulsome in his praise for the young Jamaican.
The injury may have deprived the 20-year-old of seeing out NYRB II's USL campaign, but he has got what he wanted out of this season: a shot at signing a contract in MLS next year.
He may, of course, have other options. The injury in some ways does RBNY some good. The Red Bulls will be the first to know when he is fit, and presumably have first option on signing him to a new contract (he was reported to have signed a one-year deal with NYRB II).
It has been about a year since Flemmings was first associated with RBNY. His injury is a disappointing end to what was a very good first season, but the better news is that he has already done what he set out to do this year. He's the frame for the 2017 RBNY first-team squad, and if you have watched any NYRB II this season, you will know that is an exciting prospect.
Get well soon, Junior. Hope to see you back on the pitch in red and white in 2017.