Omar Holness is Jamaican by birth but has spent the last six years in the U.S., playing college ball at UNC Chapel Hill and as a professional within Real Salt Lake’s organization.
Just before Bethlehem Steel played FC Motown last Saturday, Holness received his green card, designating him as a permanent resident in the United States.
What this means for Bethlehem Steel and the Philadelphia Union is simple: Holness will not occupy an international slot within the organization. The status change has Bethlehem down to three internationals — James Chambers, Olivier Mbaizo and Santi Moar — and the Union standing at seven, for a total of 10 of 15 available international slots in the organization.
For Omar, it’s a chance to focus on soccer. It’s a process to get a green card, including forms, biometric scans and interviews with the government; all things that take time and are probably nerve wracking in many ways. On top of that, soccer players on visas have to check in with a U.S. embassy every time they go out of the country, a procedure that goes away upon receiving a green card.
Below is Omar, in his own words on what it means to him.
It’s the next step toward becoming a citizen of the United States which is obviously huge but it also makes things a lot less complicated for soccer. International spots are coveted in soccer and allow a team to bring in a big name and I’m happy to do my part for Bethlehem Steel FC. I’m happy that I can help the team out by opening up another spot and I think that speaks for itself
The Steel take on Junior Lone Star’s U23 side on February 17th at YSC Sports in Wayne. Holness is still rehabbing an ACL injury sustained but is on schedule to return to the field some time in the early part of the season.