A reset of the culture as well as objectives of the Jamaica Senior Women’s National Team or “Reggae Girlz” is of paramount importance to returning Head coach Hubert Busby Jr.

Busby Jr was rehired last week after previously serving in the role in 2021 and won’t have a lot of time to settle back into the role as his first assignment will be to navigate a pair of international friendlies with global football powerhouses Brazil on June 1 and 4.

The two teams last met at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup where a 0-0 draw secured the Reggae Girlz spot as the first Caribbean nation to ever advance from the group stage at a World Cup.

The squad for these two friendlies can be looked at as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, 18 of the members of the squad were in that history-making World Cup squad but, on the other hand, they haven’t played together since that tournament which was nine months ago.

“I think coming back in with two weeks to go, there is a lot of work to do in a short period of time and the idea that the core of this particular group hasn’t been together in nine months so there’s a lot of work that we’re doing now behind the scenes to get up to speed in terms of watching Brazil and getting the players organized,” he said in an interview with JFFLive on Wednesday.

Busby Jr then went into detail on two of his major objectives in his second stint as Head coach of the Reggae Girlz.

“More importantly, I think, some of the objectives for us is to reset the culture, reset the objectives in terms of what we’re looking to do and understand, I know it’s the most used cliché in sports, but whatever we do, we really have to stick to a process of how we look to get back to the next World Cup in 2027,” explained Busby Jr.

“This is just the first part in utilizing each and every window, making sure that, regardless of the results, we are hitting our targets of what we want to accomplish heading into the World Cup Qualifiers,” he added.

Brazil will be using these friendlies as preparation for the Olympic Games where they won consecutive silver medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

These two friendlies will also be the last home international appearances for perhaps the greatest female footballer ever, Marta, who has announced that she will retire after the Paris Games.

“This is going to be a little bit of a send-off match for them. It will also be Marta’s last game in Brazil in front of her home crowd before she retires and there’s a little bit of a revenge factor from what happened at the World Cup so we’ve got to manage all of that,” Busby Jr said.

“We’re going to have these three training sessions and prepare the team for these matches,” he ended.

 

In a week highlighted by outstanding performances at the SEC Championships, Jamaican athletes, Brianna Lyston and Nickisha Pryce, have earned spots on the latest edition of The Bowerman Watch List, released on Wednesday. For Pryce, it marks a significant debut, while Lyston continues to solidify her presence among collegiate track and field's elite.

Nickisha Pryce's inclusion on the list comes on the heels of her standout performance at the SEC Championships in Florida. The senior at the University of Arkansas blazed through the 400m in a remarkable 49.32 seconds, making her the second-fastest Jamaican woman ever over the distance. This achievement places her just shy of the national record held by Lorraine Graham at 49.30 seconds. Pryce's sensational debut on the Watch List underscores her rising prominence within the collegiate sprinting scene.

Pryce, who hails from St. Mary, Jamaica, also became the No. 3 collegian all-time in a race that featured four sub-50 collegians for the first time. She followed with an outdoor PR 22.67 for seventh in 200m. In the winter, she was runner-up in the 400 at both the SEC Indoor and NCAA Indoor 400 with a best of 50.83 while also clocking an absolute PR of 22.62 in the 200. Pryce is the 13th Arkansas woman named to the Watch List, leaving the Razorbacks behind only Oregon (18) and Texas A&M (15) all-time in that regard.

Meanwhile, Brianna Lyston, representing LSU and her hometown of Portmore, Jamaica, delivered a series of impressive performances at the SEC Championships. Lyston claimed victory in the 100 meters with a personal record time of 10.91 seconds, propelling her to the ninth-fastest all-time collegiately in this event. Additionally, she showcased her versatility by finishing fourth in the 200 meters (22.37 seconds) and contributing a strong lead leg for LSU's third-place 4x100 relay team (42.49 seconds). Lyston's consistency and speed both indoors and outdoors have earned her a remarkable sixth appearance on The Bowerman Watch List.

Among other notable athletes recognized on the latest edition of the Watch List are JaMeesia Ford from South Carolina (Sprints), Rachel Glenn from Arkansas (Hurdles/Jumps), and Jasmine Jones from Southern California (Sprints/Hurdles), highlighting the exceptional talent across various disciplines in collegiate track and field.

As Lyston and Pryce continue to push boundaries and raise the bar in their respective events, their achievements at the SEC Championships have rightfully secured their places on The Bowerman Watch List, a testament to their outstanding performances and potential in the world of track and field.

 

 

 

 

Dwayne ‘Busy’ Atkinson scored his sixth and arguably most crucial goal of the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League season when he netted the opening goal for Cavalier FC against Arnett Gardens FC in their return leg semi-final at Sabina Park on Sunday.

With the tie delicately poised at 1-1 after the first leg, it was evident that in a match defined by fine margins, the first goal in the return leg would be pivotal.

The match was only 15 minutes old when Atkinson converted from the penalty spot to put the ball in the back of the net, giving Cavalier a 1-0 lead on the day and a 2-1 advantage on aggregate.

A stunning strike by Adrian Reid in the sixth minute of added time at the end of the first half then provided last season’s runners-up with a perfect 2-0 cushion heading into halftime. Keith Simpson's stoppage-time goal in the 94th minute was only a consolation for Waterhouse, as the game concluded 3-2 on aggregate in favor of Cavalier.

Atkinson was just 19 years old when he clinched the title with Cavalier in 2021. Having gained valuable experience overseas playing in Iceland last year, he hopes that the lessons learned in Europe will prove beneficial when they face Mount Pleasant FA in the final for a second consecutive season.

The designated penalty taker for Cavalier revealed that he was confident when he stepped up to take the spot-kick against Arnett Gardens goalkeeper Eric Edwards.

 He also emphasized the importance of scoring first for Cavalier to quieten the vocal Arnett Gardens fan base.

 “It was really important for us to take the lead against a team like Arnett, who have such a large fan base,” he noted.

 While expressing confidence ahead of Sunday’s showdown against the reigning champions, Atkinson remained mindful of the threat they pose.

 “I am very confident of victory, but Mount Pleasant is a very good team, so I need to put in a lot of work with the boys and stay focused for this one,” said the diminutive winger.

 Last year’s painful defeat in the final has been a driving force for Cavalier all season, especially for Atkinson and his teammate Richard King, who were both playing for Vestmannaeyjar FC in Iceland at this time last year.

 They both missed the final and are thrilled to have the opportunity to rectify last year’s disappointment.

 Atkinson admitted that it was agonizing to watch from afar and not be able to assist his team, but he is now ready to claim his second premier league title come Sunday.

 “I have no words to describe how I felt last year, not being able to help my teammates, but I was playing for another team in another league at that time. This season, we have worked hard and have been dedicated to achieving our championship goals.”

 “It would mean a lot to me and my teammates to win this season because, as you can see, there is a lot of talk going around that Cavalier only won the JPL during ‘corona time,’ so winning this one would be fantastic,” he explained.

 Surprisingly, Atkinson says he would have preferred to play the final at Sabina Park.

 “I would have preferred to play the final at Sabina Park instead of the National Stadium because it has a better pitch than the stadium.”

 The 22-year-old is gearing up to put on a show in the final with hopes of securing another overseas contract at the end of it all.

 “I believe that an outstanding performance in the final could help me secure another overseas contract, so I want to deliver for my team,” he acknowledged.

 Cavalier and Mount Pleasant will battle it out in the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League finals at the National Stadium on Sunday, May 19, starting at 6:30 pm.

NB: The Jamaica Premier League final will be aired live on Sportsmax.

MLS leaders Inter Miami were held to a 0-0 draw by state rivals Orlando City on Wednesday, as they failed to spark in Lionel Messi's absence.

Messi was missing from the squad due to a knee injury, and Miami were unable to extend their winning run to six MLS games without their superstar.

Indeed, other than a few Luis Suarez attempts, Orlando had the better of the chances at Inter&Co Stadium.

Yutaro Tsukada might have won it for Orlando on his debut, but the substitute sliced off target late on.

Miami are a point clear of FC Cincinnati at the top of the Eastern Conference, and Gerardo Martino will hope to have Messi back for the Herons' clash with D.C. United.

Data Debrief: Miami's unbeaten run rolls on

They may not have taken all three points, but Miami are now unbeaten in eight MLS matches. It is their longest unbeaten streak in the competition.

Orlando, meanwhile, have failed to score in five of their 12 games this term; no team has failed to do so more often in MLS.

Reigning Jamaica Premier League champions Mount Pleasant FA and Cavalier FC have booked spots in this year’s Concacaf Caribbean Cup where they will again challenge for a berth in next year’s Concacaf Champions Cup.

By virtue of setting up a repeat of last year’s final, Mount Pleasant, hunting their second local top-flight title, and Cavalier, seeking redemption from last season’s defeat, joined three other clubs from Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago as early confirmations.

This will be Mount Pleasant’s debut in the Caribbean Cup and first appearance in a Concacaf tournament, while Cavalier makes a return after an unbeaten run in the group stage, before finishing as runner-up to Suriname’s Robinhood FC. It also and earned them a debut appearance in the Concacaf Champions Cup.

From Dominican Republic, Cibao FC, will make its second appearance in the Caribbean Cup as the 2023 league champion from the Dominican Republic. Cibao has become a regular to Concacaf competitions, appearing in the 2018 Champions League and the 2020 and 2022 Concacaf League.

Based in Santiago de los Caballeros, Cibao became the first team in the history of the Dominican Republic to secure an official international title when they won the 2017 Concacaf Caribbean Club Championship.

Meanwhile, Moca FC, also out of Dominican Republic, returns for a second crack at the Caribbean Cup due to their standing in the 2023 season. Moca reached the semifinals in the previous edition and won the third-place match to qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, making its debut earlier this year. Gustavo Ascona is the club’s all-time leader with four goals in the competition.

Trinidad and Tobago’s AC Port of Spain will make a second appearance in the Caribbean Cup. The club will be aiming to achieved new milestones by getting their first win in the tournament and, by extension, secure a first Concacaf Champions Cup participation.

The remaining clubs in the annual 10-team tournament –that crowns a Caribbean champion and determine participants from the region for the Concacaf Champions Cup –will be determined as their respective nations wrap up their domestic seasons.

A draw will be held on June 6 to divide the teams into two groups of five.

For Tiffany Cameron, the past eight months have been a rollercoaster ride filled with uncertainty and challenges. But as she prepares to step back onto the international stage with Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, the excitement and anticipation are palpable.

The return of Cameron, and other members of the senior Reggae Girlz 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, comes after a prolonged dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), which kept her sidelined from international duty.

They last represented the island in the Olympic Games qualifying playoff away to Canada, last September, but later withdrew their services citing a lack of payment and mistreatment from the country’s governing football body among their reasons.

With things now back to some semblance of normalcy, Cameron is eager to get going again, after the lengthy pause, as she also expressed delight at the prospects ahead.

“It always brings joy to my heart to represent Jamaica. It is a special opportunity, and at the same time, international duty is my home away from home,” Cameron told SportsMax.TV from her base in Spain.

“At times it was very difficult for me to accept that sometimes things behind the scenes with our federation and World Cup players were out of my control, but I knew things would fall into place eventually. While away, I still tuned into our (Jamaica’s) games whenever they were streamed online, and I was impressed by some of the young talent we have. It’s important to take note that everyone in our pool of players matters and can contribute in their own way. Having a larger pool of players will make our squad more competitive,” she added.