Not every player would take the news of a loan to the second division with enthusiasm and vigor.
Jimmy Ockford isn’t like every player though. When he signed with Sounders FC this week only to be loaned to the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, he was all smiles, thrilled with the opportunity to sign his first professional contract and continue to pursue his dreams.
“It’s so surreal. I’m excited to take the next step in my career and seeing what happens,” Ockford beamed. “I’m excited to get to play soccer. It’s awesome that I get this opportunity and that’s all that I’m thinking about right now – a great opportunity.”
Ockford was Sounders FC’s second round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. He played one season at Louisville after three seasons at Mount St. Mary’s. When the Mount St. Mary’s soccer program disbanded, Ockford needed a new place to play and found a new school and a new position at Louisville. That he was able to play for a high-level program and switch positions to center back speaks volumes of Ockford’s malleability on the field and sheer desire to play.
In camp with Sounders FC, both were clearly on display as he played both as a center back and a right back while taking in everything he could learn from the players around him.
In a short time, he already feels like he has gained a lot and hopes the match experience he will get with the Cosmos will help further that development.
“We like Jimmy as a player,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “We were pleased that we were able to sign him and at the same time find an opportunity where he’s going to get games. So the loan with the Cosmos is great because he’s going to get a full season worth of games there and that will help his development as he continues because he is definitely a player for the future.”
Ockford is ready to put his best foot forward with the Cosmos, who won the NASL title in 2013.
“I’m still young and still developing. It would have been great to stay here, but at the same time, I’ll be getting a lot of games in this season and the most important thing for me is getting better,” Ockford said. “I have a long career ahead, hopefully.”
He will join the Cosmos prior to the club’s preseason trip to Dubai on Monday.