Omar Holness Receives Green Card
A look inside the midfielder’s journey toward becoming a permanent resident of the United States
BETHLEHEM, Pa. (February 14, 2018) – Omar Holness has spent the last six years of his life in the United States. Born in Jamaica in 1994, Holness moved to the United States when he signed to play collegiate at the University of North Carolina. And now, he is officially a permeant resident of the United States.
Holness received his green card last week just before Steel FC’s first preseason scrimmage against FC Motown. Gaining his green card was big steps forward both in his personal and professional life.
Holness’s journey toward a green card began during his rookie campaign, after being selected fifth overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by Real Salt Lake. The process consisted of filling out forms, having biometric scans, having an interview with the U.S. government, and then ultimately being granted permanent residence in the United States.
“[The process] was a little longer than I expected but it wasn’t something I was going to turn down,” Holness said. “A year and a half later, I’m very thankful to have a green card.”
Having a green card now makes life as a professional soccer player much easier. While in college, Holness was using a student visa to get around, which worked out fine because he rarely left the country, if at all. But playing as a professional the past two years, Holness had to contact the U.S. embassy every time he traveled outside of the country. Now, he can move freely between countries.
Not only does having a green card benefit the 23-year-old midfielder, but it benefits Steel FC as the Jamaican no longer uses one of the club’s international spots. Steel FC now sits at just three international players, with Santi Moar, Olivier Mbaizo and James Chambers occupying the spots ahead of the 2018 campaign. The official change from an international spot is pending league and federation approval.
“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,” Holness said. “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.”