Emerson Lawrence was invited by FC KTP head coach Sami Ristila into the club for February’s portion of pre-season after being a standout player at SoccerViza’s November combine in Danbury, Connecticut.
Emerson, 25, was a four year starter for Villanova, recording eight goals and four assists as the team’s holding midfielder and right back. Born in New Jersey, Emerson has Jamaican lineage which saw him participate with the Jamaica U-23 National Team in the run up to the London Olympics in 2012.
“I was both honored and excited to hear that I had received an opportunity with FC KTP,” Emerson told SoccerViza.
“Having the chance to play in Europe doesn’t come by often, so when I was notified that they were interested I knew I had to drop everything and go. I’ve been preparing for this moment and have been working hard, so I’m excited to show the staff what I can do.”
KTP was relegated from Finland’s Premier League this past season in a two-leg playoff with PK-35 Vantaa, losing 3-2 on aggregate.
After tasting the Veikkausliiga last season, Ristilla and company will be keen to get back to the top, but for the moment, Emerson is ready to soak in pre-season first, before thinking ahead to the season opener in April.
“I’m eager to learn from the team and staff. It’s an opportunity to develop myself both professionally and personally, not to mention exploring an entirely new country. I’m ready for whatever the future holds, and I’m thankful that SoccerViza is the platform on which I’m able to take the next step towards getting a contract.”
Emerson’s trial will last through the month, giving him ample opportunity to impress the KTP staff who are rebuilding the roster for another Veikkausliiga push this season.
“It’s a great opportunity for Emerson,” SoccerViza Player Relations Director Christopher McCollum commented.
“KTP is a club that we have worked closely with to develop a relationship over the past three transfer windows, and Emmo is the type of player that they value in Kotka. He’s a gifted player, but just as important as that, he’s a true professional off the field as well. KTP is a club that he can thrive in.”
Aside from training with the club, Emerson will have games against Kakkonen clubs Honka and PEPO, and fellow Ykkonen club JJK. His first test will be against PEPO on February 6.