FC Tucson: Sinclair fits in whether inside or out

2014-05-21T00:00:00Z FC Tucson: Sinclair fits in whether inside or outBy Dave Ord Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 21, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Odaine Sinclair is getting back in touch with the outside world.

After spending the winter playing indoor soccer, and doing so well he was named Rookie of the Year, the Jamaican forward is returning to his roots — grass roots to be precise — by playing the outdoor version of the game for FC Tucson.

In just three USL Premier Development League matches, the 25-year-old has two assists and has shown off a handful of stylish moves he honed while playing for the St. Louis Ambush indoor team.

Sinclair and his new teammates ambushed USL PDL foe OC Pateadores Blues in a 7-0 victory Saturday. FC Tucson will be back on the field at 7:30 tonight to face FC Hasental in a nonleague match at Kino Sports Complex North Stadium.

While with St. Louis, Sinclair finished in the top 20 in scoring with 37 points and was named the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Rookie of the Year. Not bad for the first time he ever played the indoor game.

“Indoor is like soccer meets hockey meets basketball,” Sinclair said. “We’re playing soccer, but we play on a hockey field and it’s scored like basketball. That kind of sums it up.

“The speed of the game and the intensity (make indoor different from outdoor). In indoor, you’ve got less space. It’s like a 90 mph game. It’s always going. The most a player stays in for is a minute or a minute and 30 seconds because it’s so fast.”

Less space forces players to think and react more quickly.

“What is very important is your first touch,” Sinclair said. “From the first time after finishing indoor and coming to outdoor, it seemed like I had so much space that I could do whatever I want.”

He showed a textbook example of that in Saturday’s match, making a tight turn around a defender while keeping control of the ball and then cutting it back to set up Ricardo Velazco for the first goal of the rout.

Sinclair started learning those skills at an early age in his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica.

“My dad played professionally back home,” Sinclair said. “A couple of my uncles played professionally, too. So I basically grew up in a soccer family. One of my uncles played for the national team.”

He left the island to play at Baker University in Baldwin Park, Kansas. As a junior in 2011, he scored 11 goals to help the Wildcats reach the NAIA Final Four.

More success followed with the Ambush, and then he hooked up with FC Tucson.

“A couple of my teammates from the St. Louis Ambush, Andres Acosta and Dan Antoniuk, came here for the Desert Diamond Cup,” Sinclair said. “They told me about the program, and I was looking to go play USL after I finished college.

“FC Tucson couldn’t have been a much better team to come to. … I like it a lot. The whole organization is so professional. I think this is the most professional atmosphere I’ve been in. They are very organized here, and they try to get the best of a player by providing the best facility. They look out for the players.”

Based upon three matches in his return to the great outdoors, the league had better be looking out for Sinclair.

Corner kicks

  • Tonight’s opponent, FC Hasental, is located in Thousand Oaks, California, and plays in the National Premier Soccer League. The NPSL, which has 78 teams, is roughly equal to the USL PDL. Hasental, a German word, translates to “hare valley,” and the team has a rabbit in its logo. It is also known as “Los Conejos” — Spanish for rabbits — because Thousand Oaks is in the Conejo Valley.

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