Social media is abuzz with excitement over rumours that Jamaican International, Leon Bailey, is a target of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Bailey, who turns out for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, had a phenomenal first year there but the last season and a half have been a little more mute.

Still, Liverpool fans believe targeting Bailey, who made his international debut for Jamaica last year, is a good idea because the winger could flourish under the guidance of Klopp and could be a good replacement for Jadon Sancho, who is a marked man.

According to the ‘Anfield Edition’, Sancho still remains a target for Liverpool, however, with interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Borussia Dortmund, being an unwilling seller, a deal may be difficult.

Rumours of Bailey moving to England aren’t new either, with links to all the big clubs coming before he left Genk in Belgian’s top-flight league for Germany.

“But under Klopp, he will be a class player,” read one of the many comments.

“Great talent with a huge upside Yes please,” read another.

Bailey has scored just three goals in eight league games for Leverkusen this season but much of the period has been spent nursing injuries as well as on suspension from two red cards.

Bailey, has so far, played five games for the Reggae Boyz and has scored one goal.

The winger started with the Phoenix All Stars Academy, the brainchild of his father and agent, Craig Butler, where he stayed from 2009-2011 before moving to FC Liefering and then to Trencin. From 2015-17, Bailey was a Genk player until he was sold to Leverkusen for whom he has played 75 times and scored 17 goals.

With the Olympics in Tokyo just months away, Japan has ramped up their preparations and showed their might on Saturday with a comprehensive 9-0 thrashing of Jamaica’s Young Reggae Boyz at the Transcosmos Stadium in Nagasaki.

The under 22s from Jamaica were no match for their hosts, who are also preparing for the Asian Cup next month, a competition which also acts as a qualifier for Tokyo.

Though Japan has already booked their place in Tokyo by virtue of being the hosts, they would still like to do well in the Asian Cup and have laid down a marker for their rivals.

Japan will be in Group B of the Under-23 Asian Cup, where they will first take on Saudi Arabia on January 9, 2020, before turning their attention to  Syria on the 12th.

Qatar is next for the Japan side before what they will hope are quarterfinal match-ups. There are four groups with the top two from each making the quarterfinal.

Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore was the man in charge of the under-22s, saying the encounter would have given him the chance to take a look at some of the emerging talent from the country with a bid to fitting them into senior World Cup qualification games.

In January, former Portmore United attacking midfielder, Javon East will be embarking on a three-year stint with Primera División de Costa Rica outfit, Santos de Guápiles, when the new season begins.

Back in June, East went on loan with the Costa Rican top-tier club and has impressed enough to be offered a more permanent switch.

However, East, who made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, while happy with the club’s decision to see him as important to their future, is also looking elsewhere to secure that future.

“I am feeling good about this because it is a start to push my career towards Europe,” said East.

“I think that I just have to start the season good and finish it good in order to stand a chance to make it into Europe.”

East, had a phenomenal start to life with Santos, scoring 10 goals in 18 appearances for the club, making him its leading scorer last season, just three off the top goalscorer in the league.

East, though, has set his sights much higher, saying he wants to, at least, double that tally in the upcoming season.

“My aim for next season is to score 20-plus goals because from the first week that I went there, I adapted to their style of play and so I know that I can hit this target,” he said.

With much bigger targets, East, one of three foreigners in the Santos squad, believes he will have to do more adapting because he is no longer and unknown quantity.

“I think next season is going to be a bit tougher because my opponents in the league know about me now, and so I am going to have to double my work ethic going forward in the competition,” he said.

Reggae Boy Peter-Lee Vassell has been announced as Gatorade’s newest brand ambassador on Wednesday at the Pepsi Cola Jamaica office, in a signing ceremony.

The deal was sealed on Wednesday between Pepsi-Cola Jamaica and Vassell that will see the Reggae Boyz as the rehydration drink's brand ambassador for a year.

Speaking about the partnership, the 21-year-old from St James stated, "I’m grateful and honoured knowing that Gatorade is an international brand and I get to represent them, especially as a young player. I’m looking forward to a partnership where we grow together."

Michael Lopez Castillo, commercial manager of Pepsi Cola Jamaica expressed his delight.

“The move is a reiteration of Gatorade’s commitment to encouraging young athletes and partnering with them on their athletic journey by helping them improve their performance through delivering proper hydration. Peter takes being proud to be a Jamaican to another level and we want to be there with him on his journey. We are proud to partner with him and welcome him to team Gatorade.”

Explaining the company’s decision, brand manager, Cornelia Nathan further added, “Peter personifies the spirit of the brand through his persevering attitude and unwavering spirit. We believe that Gatorade is the perfect fit to partner with him as he sets out on his blossoming football journey.”

The midfielder is currently signed to Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles Football Club.

He was selected as the number 40th pick by Los Angeles Football Club in the 2019 US  Major League Soccer (MLS) Draft in January.

Vassell was selected in the second round as the 16th pick.

He is one of the few players who was not selected out of college, as he has been playing professionally for Harbour View FC since 2017.

Reggae Boyz defender Alvas Powell was selected by David Beckham's newly formed Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami FC.

Powell, who signed from Eastern Conference MLS side, FC Cincinnati, was selected in the second round (third overall) of the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday evening.  FC Cincinnati will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money in compensation for the selection.

The 25-year-old Powell made 13 appearances for FC Cincinnati, including 10 starts in the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2019. The Jamaican was acquired from the Portland Timbers via trade on December 27, 2018. 

Powell made 14 appearances for the Reggae Boyz and scored his first two international goals in a CONCACAF Nations League group stage match in Guyana on September 9.

Inter Miami co-owner Beckham will welcome his former club LA Galaxy to Florida for the new franchise's MLS home opener.

MLS is welcoming two new teams for the 2020 season, with Inter and Nashville SC taking the league to 26 franchises.

The full schedule for the next campaign is still to be confirmed, with the 2019 season ending just over a week ago with the Seattle Sounders defeating Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final.

But Inter have announced their first official home fixture, with Beckham's team to come up against Galaxy at their temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale on March 14.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will need a minimum of US$2million a year to fund its objectives of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, thanks to their performances in the CONCACAF Nations Cup, have continued to move up the Coca Cola World Rankings and now lie at 45.

That jump means the side, apart from continuing to lead all Caribbean countries are now third in the CONCACAF region after surpassing Costa Rica.

Only Mexico at 11th and the United States at 23, find themselves above the Jamaicans.

Canada, who beat the United States in CONCACAF Nations League action two weeks ago, have moved up to 69 to lie sixth in the region.

Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore had expoused the importance of improving the team’s ranking ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

Whitmore had explained to the country’s football governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), that getting the team’s ranking up was paramount to his efforts as coach and it seems somebody was listening.

The new format for World Cup Qualifying means the region’s top six teams, based on the FIFA Rankings earn automatic passage to the hexagonal round of qualifiers.

In addition to qualification to the hexagonal, the Reggae Boyz are also just one point away from qualification to Group A of the CONCACAF Nations League, as well as an automatic bert to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

 

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has picked up another hamstring injury, just days after the Bayer Leverkusen winger stated on social media that he had fully recovered from a similar setback on September 18.

The 22-year-old was expected to be in Bayer squad for the German Bundesliga game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday. However, just before the start of the match that Bayer lost 3-0, Bailey announced the further setback on his Instagram page.

"Found out this morning, the day of the game that I tore my hamstring again and now ruled out for some weeks," the post said.

"It's really been a rough month and half for me but I do trust in God and God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. Thanks to everyone who's been truly supportive during this difficult period. I promise I will come back stronger than ever before."

Earlier this week, Bailey had posted on his Instagram page that "I am back now, and I feel very good.  But of course, after an injury, it's important not to rush anything. Maybe I come off the bench,” Bailey said in making reference to the game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.

"I think I'll be in the squad, but I do not know if I'll start."

Just four weeks ago, Bailey suffered a muscle injury and was replaced at half-time in a 1-2 loss to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Bailey has scored two goals in six games for Bayer this season.

Watford skipper Troy Deeney could play for the Reggae Boyz if he wanted to, and the country’s federation, The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has asked him as much.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz assistant coach Jerome Waite believes the team was guilty of underrating its opposition in an uninspiring 2-0 win over lesser-ranked Aruba in Nation’s League action at the National Stadium on Saturday.

In the end, the Jamaicans scraped out a win courtesy of goals from Devon Williams and Shamar Nicholson but much more had been expected with approximately 129 places between the teams in the rankings.  It was the second time the Jamaicans faced the inhabitants of the tiny island, with a population of somewhere in the region of 106,314. 

Visibly annoyed spectators at the Jamaica National Stadium, galled by the home team’s misplaced passes and sloppy turnovers, clearly expected a result similar to the 6-0 beating administered to the visitors during a 1997 Caribbean Cup fixture.

“We won 2-0 and it could have been better, but we looked a little lacklustre,” Waite said following the match.

“One of the things that I believe contributed to that is that the opposition didn’t seem to have much to offer, so we went into a super-slow gear.  It’s not what we are capable of doing and when we play better opposition we have a tendency to rise to the occasion,” he added.

“Despite that, we have to understand that it’s a job and it’s our duty to continue doing what we need to do, which is to play our best at all times,” he added.

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz struggled to an unimpressive 2-0 win over Aruba, ranked at number 195 in the world, in the their Group C Concacaf Nations League Group C fixture at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

The victory, however, stretched Jamaica’s perfect record to three straight victories and kept them atop of the group with maximum nine points.

The Reggae Boyz, who are ranked at number 47 in the world, had previously crushed Antigua and Barbuda 6-0 at the Catherine Hall Sports Complex in Montego Bay, before beating Guyana 4-0 away.

The defeat kept Aruba at the bottom of the four-team standing without a point.

The Reggae Boyz looked on course for another big victory after Devon Williams handed them a 13th-minute lead. However, that was not the case as the Reggae Boyz, watched by 4,500 spectators at the venue, could only increase the lead on the stroke of full time after Shamar Nicholson was set up by a Lamar Walker’s through pass.

Nicholson, who had kicked a penalty very high over the crossbar in the 75th minute, spared his blushes in the dying moments of the match to wrap up the victory.

The penalty kick earlier was awarded following a challenge on substitute Javon East inside the box.

The teams will meet again in Curacao on Tuesday at 6:00 pm (Jamaica time), in the home-and-away tie.

 

Reggae Boy Leon Bailey will not play for the country when it takes on a pair of games against Aruba in October.

The Reggae Boyz begin their CONCACAF Nations League tie against Aruba at the National Stadium in Kingston on October 12 but then move on to Curacao for the away leg two days later.

Bailey’s unavailability was confirmed when scans showed a muscular tear following Bayer Leverkusen's UEFA Champions League game against Locomotiv Moscow.

Bailey has proved a little underwhelming, since coming into the Reggae Boyz line up for, first the Gold Cup, and now the CNL, but managed to score his first goal for the outfit earlier this month as the side crushed Antigua & Barbuda 6-0.

Bailey will be absent for about a month and won’t be available until November 15 and 18 when the Reggae Boyz take on Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana.

Jamaica were to have their next CONCACAF Nations League away game against Aruba on October 15 but that has been changed to a fixture in Curacao.

According to reports, Aruba’s home field, did not meet the FIFA and CONCACAF standards to host international fixtures.

The Reggae Boyz have played at the Ergilio Hato Stadium before when they visited Bonaire in Nations League action from last year.

It has been 22 years since the Reggae Boyz last played Aruba in a 6-0 affair and based on the start the team has had, that kind of result could be on the cards for the tiny island nation.

The Reggae Boyz started League ‘B’ positively, winning their first two games against Antigua & Barbuda and Guyana, 6-0 and 4-0 respectively.

Aruba, on the other hand, have found the league’s Group C a rough place to be, losing their games to remain rooted to the foot of the table without a point. Aruba lost to Antigua & Barbuda 2-1, before suffering a 1-0 loss to Guyana.

The tie between the teams could be well and truly over with the Reggae Boyz first facing them in a home game at the National Stadium in Jamaica on October 12.

Theodore Whitmore, head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz said that Jamaica couldn’t afford to be complacent now that the team has climbed up the latest FIFA World Rankings released on Wednesday.

Striker Shamar Nicholson grabbed a brace while Bundesliga star Leon Bailey netted his debut goal for Jamaica in a comfortable 6-0 win over Antigua and Barbuda in the CONCACAF Nation’s League on Friday.

It was Nicholson who got things going for the home team, much to the delight of the crowd, at the Montego Bay Stadium when he found the back of the net in the 9th minute.  Another debutant, Bobby Reid, added another for the team in the 31st minute with Nicholson returning to safely put the game away by adding another in the 51st minute.

FK Partizani forward Brian Brown added to that lead five minute after coming on to the pitch as a substitute for Junior Flemmings.  Bailey, in his fifth game for the national team, got his maiden international goal in the 77th minute with midfielder Peter Vassell rounding off the scoring in the 81st minute.

The Reggae Boyz have been drawn in group B of the tournament and will next travel to Guyana.  In group B’s other game, Guyana defeated Aruba 1-0.

 

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