Whenever Jamaican football fans in South Florida meet Inter Miami center-back Damion Lowe, they want to hear stories about his father, the legendary Onandi “Nandi” Lowe, who had a prolific MLS career. , England and Jamaica and played in the 1998 World Cup.
Damion, who followed in his father’s footsteps and is captain of Jamaica’s national “Reggae Boyz” team, is delighted to share his father’s stories. But he is equally proud to speak of being the grandson of the late Keith Lowe, a welder who raised Damion and his nine younger siblings while his father was on the road playing football.
“My grandfather is an inspiration to me, he built our family, the legacy, he made sure we went to school, we weren’t idle, we weren’t distracted by the things around us because growing up was pretty hard.” Lowe said after training Tuesday. “He was our gaffer [British slang for coach] and it has a special place in my heart. “
Onandi Lowe wasn’t around much during Damion’s childhood, so Damion’s mother and grandparents were at the forefront.
“My dad was always out because he played professionally in England, so he came home only for the summer holidays and then they called him up for the selection, so I didn’t see him much,” Lowe said. “My grandfather took care of us, he tried to protect us. We didn’t go out too much, we didn’t go to the parks. We are in a dangerous area, with a lot of armed violence, territorial wars and shootings. But we were a very respected family. “
When Lowe received a scholarship from the University of Hartford, his grandfather was so excited that he bought his grandson a first-class plane ticket from Kingston to Hartford and gave him $ 60 to save. the pocket.
“I was very excited because I was the first to go to my family’s university; it was a great thing, “Lowe said.” I was opening doors to many children in my community, inspiring them. He bought me a first class ticket and when I was 17 I didn’t realize what he meant. Suddenly, I’m going through the log queue quickly and in a big seat, I have good food. I am eternally grateful. It’s an experience I will always remember. “
He is currently traveling on charter flights with Inter Miami, who are preparing for a home game on Saturday against Minnesota United. Lowe, 29, is a regular in Inter Miami’s starting lineup. His only regret is that his grandfather did not see him play beyond high school.
Keith Lowe fell ill shortly after Damion went to college and died during Damion’s first semester.
“He never saw me play at a college game, he never saw me represent my country, and he never saw me play professionally,” Lowe said. “It was heartbreaking. I feel like I would be so proud. He would be the strongest in the stands. At least he could see my dad play in a World Cup, but I feel it would be so special for him to see me play.”
Lowe said his grandfather taught him to be the best at what you do.
“He was a welder and he worked in the cement company doing real hard work from he was a teenager until he died,” Lowe said. “He was a skilled worker. His life was his family and his job. ”
Athletic genes are very deep in the Lowe family.
Damion’s sister, Onanda, is a long jumper and runs the 100 meters and the 4×100 relay for Jamaica.
“She is very good,” said her brother proudly. “She was injured and just returned and is one of the best athletes in Jamaica.”
His brother, Andre, is a football player and played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies U-23 and the Seattle Sounders Academy team. “He’s left-handed, center, big, 6-foot-3 like my dad,” Lowe said.
Another sister, Leah, is running for Britain.
Lowe’s career has taken him to Seattle, Norway and Egypt, but he is more comfortable in South Florida, with the tropical climate and culture with which he grew up. Lowe moved to downtown Miami four years ago, long before signing with Inter Miami.
“When I was playing in Norway, it was very cold, so every time I took a break I would come to Miami,” he said. “I needed a warm place. I went downstairs and settled down. I felt at home, the people in the neighborhood who emigrated from Jamaica knew me and my father and they followed their career in their day.
He likes to go to Cypress Creek Park on Saturday mornings to see the local Jamaicans at the pickup games. Lowe has his favorite Jamaican restaurants: Dukunoo Jamaican Kitchen in Wynwood and Barbican Square in Miramar. He also enjoys cooking Caribbean recipes that his mother and grandmother passed on to him.
“I cook beef tails, goat curry, jerk chicken, everything works,” he said. “Like home”.