Obscure Metro Files: Jerrod Laventure and Blake Camp
May 18, 2011
Did you notice that the reserve league is back this year? You might have not, because two of Metro's three scheduled matches have been postponed. Nevertheless, MLS is once again trying to stir up development by giving those who can't make the first team something to do. The first time around, the reserve league lasted from 2005 to 2008, and, as far as Metro is concerned, did not amount to much.
But there were a couple of players who excelled for Metro reserves without ever making a first-team dent, making them a perfect subject for this edition of Obscure Metro Files.
Jerrod Laventure played college soccer at Seton Hall. He went undrafted in 2005, but with the reserve league starting, Metro needed some bodies to fill out the roster. So the striker spent entire season being signed to a series of three-day contracts. He would play for the reserves, get paid a pittance, and get released after the game was over. But it didn't go for naught. Laventure scored two goals, in wins over Los Angeles and Chivas USA, and earned a first-team spot next year.
He would stay two years on the Metro roster, logging 115 minutes in 2006. But Laventure did make a mark, tallying an assist and scoring a goal, a glorious volley in a 2:0 win in Columbus. But in 2007, he saw the field just once, in a four-minute mop-up stint. He did score five for the reserves, including the first hat-trick in reserve history, in a 4:1 win against Dallas.
Laventure, who was born in Middle Island, NY, flirted with the Haitian national team throughout his Metro stay, and finally got his cap in early 2008, playing in two games against El Salvador. But international acclaim was all he got that year, as Juan Carlos Osorio deemed Laventure a surplus to requirements, cutting him before the season. Laventure would drop down to the PDL, where he's since played for the Jersey Express (previously the Newark Ironbound Express), seemingly scoring at will.
Blake Camp's dent on the first team was even less than Laventure's. Drafted out of Duke in the 4th round of the 2006 SuperDraft, Camp was lauded by some pundits as the steal of the draft. That didn't turn out to be the case, as he didn't make his first team debut until September. Camp ended up playing in three matches for a total of 36 nondescript minutes. But for the reserves that year, he was a star. Nominally a central midfielder, Camp played all over the field, including central defense, started every match, and managed to lead the team with four goals.
Ragged with injuries in 2007, Camp didn't see any playing time with the first team, and only appeared in five reserve matches. The writing was on the door, and he was waived even before Osorio had a chance to put his dirty footprint on the squad. Camp would go on to play a season with the USL's Atlanta Silverbacks.
So who knows, will this year's reserve standouts ever amount to anything? Of course, to actually have a standout, those reserve matches do have to be played...