Where Are They Now - Jason Bent
This chapter in the Where Are They Now series travels back to more recent times with Peverell Green taking a look at the career of Jason Bent.
JASON BENT - Born 8th March 1977 Scarborough, Ontario, Canada.
Jason began his football career playing college football with the University of Maryland and later with the delightfully named Maryland Terrapins.
He spent 1997-98 in the Bundesliga with FSV Zwickau where he made thirteen appearances.
He made his debut on 3rd August 1997 in a 4-0 defeat at home to SP Vgg Unterhaching, his final game in Germany was on 29th November 1997, it also ended in defeat, this time a 3-0 at home to FC Carl Zeiss Jena.
Jason returned to the US to play for Colorado Rapids playing in the MLS, in his first season at the club he helped them reach the finals for the first time and in 1999 he played an integral part in the Rapids reaching the finals of the US Open Cup.
In 2001 Jason almost signed for FC Copenhagen but eventually, after a long drawn out process of obtaining a work permit he was signed by Argyle manager Paul Sturrock.
Jason made his debut on 22nd September 2001 in a 2-0 win at home to Macclesfield with Lee Hodges and David Friio scoring the goals.
He scored his first goal for the club on 27th November in a 3-0 win at Home Park over Carlisle, he scored the second goal after Mickey Evans had opened the scoring with Martin Phillips getting the third. Three days later, in a FA Cup first round replay Jason scored the first goal in a 3-2 home win over non-leaguers Whitby Town with Ian Stonebridge and Martin Phillips both scoring to set up a second round game with Bristol Rovers.
By the time Jason scored his next goal Argyle were already promoted, with a 4-1 win at Darlington confirming they would finish as champions. 2 goals from Marino Keith with Mickey Evans and Jason ensuring Argyle were the champions for the first time since 1958-59.
He scored again in the final game a 2-0 win at home to Cheltenham with Graham Coughlan also scoring after Jason had scored the first.
With Argyle back in Division 2 for the 2002-03 season they carried on where they left off from the previous one, winning four of their first five matches.
Although he was an exciting player to watch, throughout his Argyle career he was injury prone which led to him missing a lot of games. He only managed one goal as Argyle finished in eighth, with Jason scoring in the team's biggest win, 6-1 over Peterborough, he got the last goal after Marino Keith, two own goals, Paul Wotton and David Friiio had all scored.
2003-04 started well for Jason, on 12th July he played for Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup against Costa Rica with Canada winning 1-0. He then scored for Argyle in a 3-1 win at home to Stockport at the end of August with Marino Keith and Kevin Hodges scoring the first two. Jason was an almost ever present for Argyle until he sustained a serious knee injury playing for Canada on 18th November in a 3-0 defeat against the Republic of Ireland.
He wasn't able to play first team football again for four months.
Jason returned for a top of the table clash with Swindon at Home Park. Argyle won the game 2-1 but it would be another month before Jason would play again.
He returned for another top of the table game, this time at Ashton Gate with Bristol City winning the game 1-0. It was the last competitive game Jason would play in.
Argyle went on to win their second championship in three years with Jason being released at the end of the season.
During the three injury hit seasons he spent at Home Park Jason made 74 appearances scoring six goals.
Jason spent the next two years receiving physiotherapy almost every day in an attempt to continue his playing career, but unfortunately he was never able to play again and announced his retirement on 23rd March 2006.
In 2008 back in his native Canada, Jason became assistant coach of Toronto FC Academy.
After one season he moved on to become the head coach of their U-18 programme and then became the U-18 manager with two of the players he looked after graduating to the Toronto FC first team.
In both 2009 and 2010 his academy senior team qualified for the Canadian Soccer League Playoffs. On 22nd February Jason became assistant coach to the first team under new manager Aron Winter, also part of the coaching team was former Argyle playing legend and manager, Paul Mariner.
As well as his league playing career which took him to play in USA, Germany and England, Jason also travelled the world playing for Canada.
His international career began in 1992 when he played for Canada U-17's, playing in the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Japan. He then moved on to the U-21 and U-23 teams before making his full international debut in October 1997 in a World Cup qualifying game. He played at the 1997 FIFA world Youth Championship held in Malaysia. Jason played in eleven World Cup qualifiers and played in the 2001 Confederations Cup.
In 2002 he played in the Gold Cup with Canada finishing in third place.
His international career was ended in his 32nd appearance with his knee injury in the 2003 game against Ireland, which virtually ended his playing career as well.
In 23 of Jason's full international games he played alongside former Argyle favourite Carlo Corrazzin.
Jason was always a crowd pleaser and but for his injuries which prematurely ended his career, would have probably been playing for Argyle in the Championship.
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