Calm Off The Field, Intense On The Pitch For Omar Holness
"Everybody knew everybody," Holness said in regards to the tight-knit community that he grew up in.
The midfielder was the team's vice-captain for the Jamaican U20 national team that advanced to the U20 CONCACAF final stages of World Cup qualifying.
"[It was] a really good feeling to represent my country, represent my community, as well as represent myself and my family," added Holness.
But don't let his easy-going personality off the field fool you. Once he laces his boots up and takes the field, Holness plays a physical brand of soccer that has shown well in the early stages of his collegiate career.
He stands six feet tall and 170 pounds and has no problem mixing it up inside the Atlantic Coast Conference, a league known for its physical play, especially in the midfield.
Holness may have adopted this style of play from idolizing English national team captain Steven Gerrard who is best known as a hard-nosed competitor with an ability to cover the field from box to box.
North Carolina head coach Carlos Somoano had a similar description of Holness.
"He's quite a good player," Somoano said. "He's athletic and he's got great range and can cover a lot of ground. We've seen flashes of it this year with the Maryland goal. Those types of plays kind of catch your eye and you're like, ‘Wow we could really have something with this guy.'"
Holness' goal against Maryland was the first of his career.
Holness was able to dribble the ball 60 yards past three defenders and perfectly placed the ball in the lower-right corner of the net. Holness said it was the best goal he's scored in a televised and recorded match.
"I think it was all just instinctive," Holness said. "I was using instinct. Where to turn, where to move away from the defender, where to move the ball. . . It was all instinctive."
In his free time Holness enjoys spending time hanging out with friends playing Xbox.
"I'm always on Halo in between studying. Halo and FIFA, but I hang out with friends most of the time."
When asked where he will be 10 years from now Holness responded, "Playing professionally. Hopefully in Europe or in the states but playing soccer professionally.
"In Europe... just growing up that was something that just had to happen for me. It's a dream that I'm going to be chasing for a long time."
For now, Holness is grateful for his opportunity to be in Chapel Hill.
"It's an honor to play in that light blue," Holness said. "Words can't even explain how I feel to be a part of this Carolina family, because it really is a family. Really and truly Carolina is just home."
Holness has played in all of North Carolina's games and has started 10 matches. He has one goal and two assists through 13 games leading into a key Friday night matchup at Virginia in Charlottesville. Kick off is scheduled for 7 p.m., and will available on the ACC Digital Network.
By Stephen Thompson, UNC Athletics Communications