PHOTO: Manjrekar James in training with Pécsi Mecsek Football Club. Courtesy: pmfc.hu
Manjrekar James has embarked on a professional soccer career in the Hungarian First Division with Pécsi Mecsek Football Club, more commonly known as PMFC.
James, 19, is a native of North York, Ont. and has spent the past six months in Europe on extended trials in Germany, Spain and Hungary.
James was with the PMFC first team and reserves since in mid-April. Once the initial training period ended, it was agreed that James would stay with the club in a training capacity until the end of the year in order to better acclimatize to his new surroundings. According to SIGMA FC Technical Director Bobby Smyrniotis, it was at that time club offered him a contract.
"He is currently playing with the reserve team in the Hungarian 3rd Division and trains with both the 1st and reserve team. It looks like he will be called into the first team squad this weekend (Sept. 1-2) for the first time," said Smyrniotis.
PMFC was founded in 1973 and has played most of their seasons in the first division, with twelve seasons spent in the second division. The club reached the UEFA Cup Winner's Cup in 1990 where they faced Manchester United.
After finishing first place in the Western Group of the second division in 2011, the club was promoted to the highest level of professional league. The team placed 12th in the top flight in 2011-12.
"[PMFC] expect a lot from James as a future prospect, and are looking to have him as a first team regular in the near future" explained Smyrniotis. "On our end we look for him to be able to get a lot of minutes of senior football - something which is paramount for a player of his age. This will help him mature further and allow him to make further steps in his career going forward," he said.
"He has all the tools as a player to succeed at this level and his commitment and hard work will allow him to keep on progressing in the game," added Smyrniotis.
James is a 6-foot-4 defender from North York, who came to train with Sigma as a 16 year old. He previously been on trial in Spain with Real Mallorca of the Spain's La Liga, and later spent time training at SC Paderborn 1st team of the Bundesliga 2. Strict rules regarding foreign visa requirements in Spain kept him from signing on at Mallorca in 2010 after a successful period at the club. James focus is now solely on his club football with PMFC. He missed the last U20 Canada national team camp invite due to club commitments, but will attend his second camp in the first week of September ahead of the CONCACAF U20 qualifying tournament in the spring of 2013.