Jordan Webb rejects Portugal offer to return to Tampines Rovers
The opportunity to link up with coach Jurgen Raab again was too hard to resist for Jordan Webb as the Canadian winger turned down an offer from a Portuguese 2nd tier side to re-sign for Tampines Rovers in 2018.
Webb was previously under the tutelage of Raab at the Garena Young Lions, with the 58-year-old German inspiring them to several excellent displays in the second half of the 2015 season.
With offers from the Malaysia Super League also on the table, the 29-year-old admits that, although it was not an easy decision to make, Raab's influence made the difference.
"It was hard. I took the trip to Portugal to have a look because someone gave me the opportunity," Webb told ESPN FC. "But I didn't really like it there. It took me a long time, my wife and my family all spoke about it and there were a lot of things we took into consideration. Then there were also options in Malaysia.
"But 90 percent of why I chose to sign for Tampines was because of the coach. He helped me so much at the Young Lions to improve my game and my level of understanding. He gave me a lot of confidence as a player."
Apart from Raab, Webb is motivated by the chance to settle unfinished business with Tampines. In 2016, he produced 14 goals and 11 assists in all competitions -- outshining former Arsenal and Liverpool midfielder Jermaine Pennant in the process.
However, the Stags failed to win any silverware despite being in the running for the Treble late into the season.
"Next year we are definitely targeting to be the best and to win many things," Webb said. "We've got to train well and play our style of football, hopefully things will go our way as we want to bring something to repay the fans."
Webb is looking forward to a new lease of life after signing a three-year contract with Tampines.
The effervescent attacker did not enjoy the best of campaigns with Warriors FC in 2017, with just eight goals in all competitions. After six goals in his first seven outings, he didn't net in the S.League again until October in a 3-2 away defeat to Brunei DPMM as his side finished in a disappointing fifth position.
"I provided a few assists, but did not score that many goals," Webb said. "Honestly, it wasn't that great a year, but I met good people there and I'm glad I have those people in my life now. I'm thankful for the opportunity and I wish them (the Warriors) all the best."
With no headway on the status of attaining Singapore citizenship despite being touted for it in the last couple of years, Webb admits the wait has been frustrating.
Nonetheless he has not given up his hopes of representing the Lions and is eager to further improve his all-round play in 2018.
"I don't know whether I will still get it. I've been here for so long," Webb, who first arrived in the S.League with Hougang United in 2010, said.
"I love Singapore and the life here. I'm not thinking of it [the citizenship issue] now until the time comes, maybe.
"Now I just want to concentrate on football. I'm 29 now, I'm more mature and I know I've got to do something big next year. For sure playing with the best players at Tampines will help me in that."
Kenneth Tan is a Singapore-based football writer on S.League and AFC Cup for ESPN FC and FourFourTwo. Twitter: @KennerveT