Jamaica international Omar Gordon has joined USL Championship club OKC Energy in a move away from Jamaican Premier League club Montego Bay United.

The 27-year-old striker is fresh from completing a loan spell at USL Western Conference team San Antonio where he made a solid impression.  Gordon scored six goals in seven appearances and notched four assists.

Locally, Gordon made a measurable impression with 125 appearances for Montego Bay United, a club he joined in 2011.  He scored 37 goals and helped the club to the Jamaican National Premier League title in 2014 and 2016.

Energy FC Head Coach Steve Cooke admitted he was pleased to have acquired the player’s services.

“Having watched him at close quarters playing for San Antonio last year, we always knew he was a threat against us, “Cooke said.

“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s powerful and he’s got the pace to get in behind – great 1-v-1 attacking defenders. I think he can contribute goals, assists and really take the game to the other teams.”

Gordon has also previously competed on loan in the United States with Indy Eleven during the 2016 season when he recorded three goals in 20 appearances for the club. 

In recognition of her outstanding break-out season last year, Jamaica’s fast-emerging track star Briana Williams has been nominated for the prestigious 2019 Laureus World Sports Award for Breakthrough of the Year.

Craig Butler, agent and guardian of Bayer Leverkusen budding star Leon Bailey, believes the player is set to benefit greatly from a change of coach at the Bundesliga club.

The 21-year-old player was a standout performer last season, when he made his debut for the club, scoring nine goals and providing six assists.  Bailey’s exploits got the attention of several of Europe’s top clubs with the chance of a move away from the German club seeming a distinct possibility.

Following a tumultuous period and a dip in form, however, the player fell out of coach Heiko Herrlich’s plans and managed only eight starts for the new term.  After a slow start, Herrlich was replaced by Peter Bosz just ahead of the winter break.  Butler is convinced the change of coach will lead to a revival of fortunes.

"I am very happy that this change has come about. Leon did not develop under Heiko Herrlich," Butler told SportBild.

"For Leon, it is very important that he enjoys football, he lives alone in Germany, the family is in Jamaica, and if Leon does not have fun, it kills him,” he added.

"Top clubs have come forward, Real and Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Roma, and in recent months they have been surprised that Leon plays so seldom, wondering why a top league player like him is suddenly sitting on the bench."

Former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell is expected to return to the track later this month after reportedly being booked for an appearance at the Meeting de Paris.

The January 27th indoor meet is listed and Indoor Permit Meeting.  The 36-year-old Powell, a World Championship silver medallist, could be back on track for the first since 2018 when a groin injury ended his season.  Injuries have been a big issue for the former sprint king in recent years as prior to that he suffered a hamstring injury, which kept him out of last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Powell is scheduled to line up in the 60m sprint alongside European Indoor champion Richard Kilty of Great Britain.  Adding to a competitive field will be American Mike Rodgers and Cuban star Yunier Perez, who is returning from injury, are also down to face the starter.  The French contingent of home town heroes will be led by Renaud Lavillenie, Kevin Mayer and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz team and coach Hue Menzies have been rewarded for an outstanding 2018 by scooping the CONCACAF Outstanding Performance and Women’s Football Coach of the Year awards.

The Jamaicans made history when they became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup after a penalty shootout win over Panama in the CONCACAF Qualifiers last year. 

Menzie who took over the position of technical director of the women’s program three years ago has been a fixture of the national program since.  At one point the coach went for several months without receiving an actual salary from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

The team’s star striker Khadijah Shaw also received some recognition after being nominated for Female Player of the Year award, along with the USA’s Lindsey Horan and the eventual winner Alex Morgan.  She was also nominated in the goal of the year category for a spectacular strike in the team’s win over Cuba.

The 2018 Male Player of the Year award went to Mexico’ s Hirving Lozano.  Lozano’s year was highlighted by an exceptional performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

 

Male Player of the Year

  1. Hirving Lozano (MEX) - PSV Eindhoven/NED
  2. Keylor Navas (CRC) - Real Madrid CF/ESP
  3. Sebastian Giovinco (ITA) - Toronto FC/CAN

 

Female Player of the Year

  1. Alex Morgan (USA) - Orlando Pride/USA
  2. Khadija Shaw (JAM) - University of Tennessee/USA
  3. Lindsey Horan (USA) - Portland Thorns FC/USA

 

Male Goalkeeper of the Year

  1. Keylor Navas (CRC) - Real Madrid CF/ESP
  2. Guillermo Ochoa (MEX) - Standard Liège/BEL
  3. Cody Laurendi (PUR) - Oklahoma City Energy/USA

 

Female Goalkeeper of the Year

  1. Alyssa Naeher (USA) - Chicago Red Starts/USA
  2. Yenith Bailey (PAN) - Sporting SM/PAN
  3. Stephanie Labbe (CAN) - Linköpings FC/SWE

 

Men's Football Coach of the Year

  1. Matias Almeyda (ARG) - San Jose Earthquakes/USA (Formerly CD Guadalajara/MEX)
  2. Remko Bicentini (CUW) - Curacao National Team
  3. Juan Carlos Osorio (COL) - Paraguay National Team (Formerly Mexico National Team)

 

Women's Football Coach of the Year

  1. Hue Menzies (JAM) - Jamaica Women's National Team/Florida Kraze Krush/USA
  2. Jill Ellis (USA) - United States Women's National Team
  3. Monica Vergara (MEX) - Mexico U-17 Women's National Team

 

Male Referee of the Year

  1. Cesar Arturo Ramos (MEX)
  2. Mark Geiger (USA)
  3. Joel Aguilar (SLV)

 

Female Referee of the Year

  1. Lucila Venegas (MEX)
  2. Crystal Sobers (TRI)
  3. Carol Anne Chenard (CAN)

 

Goal of the Year

  1. Joe Corona (MEX) - SCCL: Club America (MEX) vs Tauro FC (PAN), 19'
  2. Alan Pulido (MEX) - SCCL: CD Guadalajara (MEX) vs Toronto FC (CAN), 72'
  3. Khadija Shaw (JAM) - CWC: Jamaica vs Cuba, 2'

 

Outstanding Performance Award

Jamaica Women's National Team

Jamaica’s sports minister Olivia Grange said her government is willing to back the Jamaica Tallawahs but simply cannot afford what is required for the franchise to remain in Jamaica for the start of the upcoming CPL season in August.

The winless Jamaica Scorpions have made three changes to their squad that departed the island on Monday for Grenada where they play the Windward Island Volcanoes starting January 17 in the next round of the West Indies Championships.

The Jamaica Scorpions left the island on Monday for Grenada hoping to rebound from two poor performances that resulted in consecutive losses in the West Indies Championships.

Former champions Montego Bay United pulled off an upset on Sunday when they defeated newcomers Mount Pleasant FC 1-0 in Red Stripe Premier League action on Sunday.

Jamaica will compete in the 4x200m relays at the DSI Invitational/Armory Invitational Indoors in New York City on January 26.

A majestic five-wicket haul from spinner Nikita Miller gave the Jamaica Scorpions a fighting chance against the T&T Red Force but the hosts face a stiff task to save the match heading into Sunday’s third day at Sabina Park.

Beginning the day at 62 for 2 and with a lead of 153, the Red Force had their eyes set on heaping more misery on the struggling Scorpions.  In the end, they did, as the team posted a second innings score of 233 but it could have been a lot worse were it not for the heroics of Miller.

After dismissing the opening pair of Kyle Hope (20) and Jeremy Solozano (13) on the previous day’s play, Miller returned to rip through the middle order, denying the Red Force any real momentum. 

With the twin-island republic in a strong position at 114 for 4, Miller removed the dangerous Jason Mohammed for 14 before having Denesh Ramdin caught for 25. 

Spinner Khary Pierre was the highest scorer for the Red Force in the second innings, crafting a hard-earned 46 from 142.  Miller ended the innings with overall figures of 7 for 87. 

In response, the Scorpions were off to a solid start courtesy of an opening partnership between Oraine Williams and Chadwick Walton that was worth 89 runs.  Pierre, however, got the crucial breakthrough when he snatched the back-to-back wickets of Walton and Williams in the 22nd over.  Both were caught by Ramdin.  Things got worse for the Scorpions as they lost the next three wickets for nine runs with Imran Khan removing Jason Mohammed for 1 and Daniel St Clair removing Paul Palmer (8) and Kenroy Williams (0).  Assad Fudadin (6) and Rovmon Powell (2) will begin the day as the not out batsmen with the Scorpions needing 217 runs to win at 108 for 5.

Jamaican sprinter Andre Ewers destroyed the field to claim top spot in the men’s 200 dash at the Orange and Purple Elite meet on Friday.

The Jamaican powered to the line to stop the clock at 20.94, well clear second place compatriot and former Calabar High School standout Jermaine Brown who was second in 21.37.  Shannon Patterson was third in 21.41.  The mark was not only an early NCCA but world lead.

The start is a good one for the sprinter who was named to the prestigious Bowerman preseason watch list.  The Bowerman is collegiate track & field’s highest honour and has been awarded annually by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) since 2009.

Ewers finished the year ranked No. 7 in the world with outdoor season-bests of 9.98 in the 100-metre dash and 20.28 in the 200m.

 

Jamaican sprinter Natalliah Whyte seems to be adjusting well to life at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) after a solid debut at the 2019 UAB Blazer Invitational meet on Friday.

The 21-year-old Whyte only recently completed what some considered to be a surprise move to Florida from the higher profile Auburn Athletics track programme. 

Whyte, however, looks to be right at home and got things going in comfortable fashion as she clocked 7.36 to claim the women’s 60m dash in school’s opening meet of the season. The Jamaican finished well-clear of second place Brandee Presley of Ole Miss, who clocked 7.47 for the runner-up spot and Old Mississippi’s Kelly Rowe (7.57) who finished third in 7.57. 

The mark was well short of Whyte’s best time of 7.12, which was set in Texas in March of last year but still represented FAU’s second fastest ever time over the distance. 

Interestingly, it was Whyte who set the new school record with a time of 7.36 in the preliminary round, before narrowly failing to equal the mark in the final.

The duo of Jenae Ambrose and Jamesha Moorer, both Whyte’s teammates, had a picture finish in the 60-metre preliminaries after crossing the line in 7.65, which is tied for the seventh fastest time in school history.

 

Former Calabar High alumni Fabian Hewitt has made a good early impression on Clemson University head coach Mark Elliot after setting a new personal best at the 2019 Clemson Orange and Purple Elite meet on Friday.

At the team’s second meet of the season, the 21-year-old, who earlier transferred from Wiley College, clocked the personal best in the men’s 300m with a time of 33.78.  The run saw Hewitt eclipse his previous best and team-leading 34.30, which he set for the Tigers on his debut in December.

The effort put the Jamaican athlete second behind South Carolina’s Arinz Chance, who took the event with a time of 33.00.  Third place went to Hewitt’s teammate Deonte Tolbert who stopped the clock at 33.98.

 The athlete’s run was perhaps even more impressive as he competed in the men’s 60m dash preliminary round a little over two hours prior.  In that event, Hewitt recorded the 10th best time after stopping the clock at 6.89, which earned the glowing assessment from the coach.

“Some of our incoming student-athletes such as Fabian [Hewitt] in the 300m and the 60m showed today that he has good range,” was Elliott’s assessment.

Jamaica-born Manchester City star has offered words of encouragement to a young British fan that has struggled with facing racial abuse.

The plight of the 13-year-old Manchester City fan was brought to the attention of the Sterling by his grandmother.

 According to the letter penned to the England international, the concerned matriarch revealed Ethan Ross, a young goalkeeper in the under-14s team at Newport County, had been badly affected after suffering abuse from bullies in Newport last year.

"Dear Ethan, I have recently been told from your loving Nanna Sue about the tough time you are having with racial abuse," wrote Sterling, quoted by BBC Sport.

"Stand tall, don't let them take away your courage. You are strong and very brave and your nanna is also very proud of you. Keep being you kid."

Sterling has himself been the target of racial abuse.  Most recently the league suspended four Chelsea supporters who abused the Manchester City winger during a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge.

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