The year 2023 has been a historic one for football in Jamaica.

In fact, President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, described it as the greatest year in Jamaica’s football history at a press conference held at the JFF headquarters on Thursday.

“We are delighted to be here this morning basking in the glory of a number of the achievements of a number of our national units,” Ricketts said.

“I would say without apology that, so far, this must go down in history as the most successful year ever in the history of football in this country,” he added.

The biggest of those achievements is, undoubtedly, the recent exploits of the Reggae Girlz who became the first Caribbean team to ever advance to the Round of 16 at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Four years after their maiden World Cup appearance, the Girlz progressed from Group F including powerhouses France and Brazil, securing draws with both along with a 1-0 win over Panama to finish with five points and progress to the Round of 16 where they suffered a 0-1 loss to Colombia on Tuesday.

“The girls really, really made us proud. I want to reiterate the fact that these girls have impacted the whole world,” Ricketts said.

“Sometimes we don’t understand the magnitude of the achievement until we meet people overseas and they are so amazed that Jamaica, with less than three million people and hardly any world class facilities, can not just qualify for the World Cup, but also be competitive. I know their performance would’ve provided a catalyst for young girls and boys in Jamaica to want to play the sport,” Ricketts added.

On the men’s side, the Reggae Boyz got to the semi-finals of the Concacaf Gold Cup for the first time since 2019 and, in the process, got their biggest win ever in the tournament with a 5-0 group stage win over St. Kitts & Nevis.

The Gold Cup also saw the Reggae Boyz defeat Guatemala for the first time in 11 years and Trinidad & Tobago for the first time in seven years. Individually, Demarai Gray was named to the team of the tournament.

Some other achievements for Jamaican teams included the Under-20 Reggae Girlz defeating a Central American team at the Concacaf U-20 Championships since 2020 with a 4-1 win over Panama.

The Under-15 Reggae Boyz are currently in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf U-15 Championship for the first time. They will take on Honduras on Thursday.

Jamaica also produced the youngest scorer in the history of the CAC Games when 18-year-old Shaniel Buckley scored in a 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico.

Everton winger Demarai Gray was the only Reggae Boy selected to the Concacaf Gold Cup Best XI unveiled on Monday.

The 27-year-old made the most in his first five matches with Jamaica, scoring two goals and chipping in with two assists while completing 86 percent of his passes. Jamaica lost to eventual champions, Mexico, at the semi-final stage.

The full team of the tournament is as follows: GK Guillermo Ochoa (MEX), DF Fidel Escobar (PAN), DF Johan Vasquez (MEX), DF Jorge Sanchez (MEX), MF Luis Chavez (MEX), MF Adalberto Carrasquilla (PAN), MF Orbelin Pineda (MEX), MF Edgar Barcenas (PAN), MF Demarai Gray (JAM), FW Jesus Ferreira (USA), FW Ismael Diaz (PAN)


Mexico are champions of the Concacaf Gold Cup for a ninth time, as Santiago Gimenez struck for a dramatic late winner to deliver Mexico a 1-0 victory over Panama in the 2023 Gold Cup Final on Sunday evening at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

Just minutes into the match as second half substitute, Gimenez scored in the 88’ with a sensational strike to seal the title for Mexico.

There were few chances for either side in the opening half hour. Panama forward Ismael Diaz had an early look at goal in the second minute, but was unable to get off a clean shot, while Mexico’s Uriel Antuna shot right at Panama goalkeeper Orlando Mosquera in the 12’

As far as true scoring threats, the biggest one of the first 45 minutes for Mexico did not arrive until the 42’ when a Luis Romo cross from the right wing was dummied, allowing a clean, sweeping shot from Orbelin Pineda that was saved by Mosquera. Henry Martin was there for the follow up on the doorstep, but again Mosquera came up big.

As for Panama, a shot from Anibal Godoy that bounced wide past outstretched Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in first half stoppage time served as the best opportunity for Los Canaleros.

Panama stayed strong and almost found a goal late on when Edgar Barcenas swung a shot wide in the 87’.

The decisive moment would come a minute later in the 88’, as Gimenez, introduced into the game just minutes earlier, received a pass from Pineda with his back to goal, spun around the defender, charged toward net and slotted home a left-footed finish he’ll never forget, earning Mexico the dramatic 1-0 triumph.

Jamaica’s Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson insists that a number of positives came from the Reggae Boyz failed Concacaf Gold Cup campaign, but in the same breath, admitted that they still have much to work on, particularly, their defending.

Hallgrimsson fielded one of the strongest, if not the strongest team, on paper, in the tournament where individual quality is concerned, give the presence of English Premier League players, Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray, Bobby Reid and Leon Bailey.

Each of those players had a significant hand in Jamaica’s 1-1 draw against United States, followed by 4-1, 5-0 and 1-0 victories over Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis and Guatemala, respectively.

However, from a collective perspective, the Reggae Boyz chemistry was woefully lacking and their limitations in defence and midfield were exposed in the 0-3 semi-final loss to Mexico at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on Wednesday.

“We are still a work in progress, some of these guys are playing for Jamaica for the first time so knowing the tactics and teammates, we hope, will improve over time so let’s see,” Hallgrimsson said.

 “I think throughout this tournament, we grew as a team we know more about each other both on and off the pitch, I think that is a good experience for us to have spent this almost five weeks together. So, they have learnt more about me, and my strengths and weaknesses and we (the coaching staff) have learnt more about the players.

“And then partnerships within in the team has grown, it is hard to say after a loss like this that we have improved as a team, but I am going to say it anyway and I think the future for Jamaica’s national team is bright, if we do it in a correct way and continue to do it in a correct way,” he added during a post-game press conference.

After Henry Martin’s second-minute goal was followed by Luis Chavez’s 30th-minute strike, the Reggae Boyz never really recovered, even though they gradually grew in the game and showed more attacking purpose, particularly at the backend of the second half.

But their push to pull one back left them open and that, coupled with their poor defending, resulted in substitute Roberto Alvarado (90+3), adding another.

“What we did poorly was stopping the crosses and when they had free crosses then it was difficult to stop the players, but our defending in general, I will have to look at that. I think collectively we weren’t as good, both defending and attacking,” said Hallgrimsson.

“But let’s also give credit to Mexico, we haven’t played as good a team as Mexico and so for us, it was always tough to come back after conceding a goal in the first minute, it was always kind of a slap in the face and then I think it took us some time to grow into the game,” he argued.

With this year’s edition of the Gold Cup not having a third-place playoff, Hallgrimsson and his team are now left to pick up the pieces and focus their attention on their next assignment, which is the Concacaf Nations League in September, and on a longer-term, the 2026 World Cup qualification.

“It’s a hard defeat to take but we try to use the positives and see what we can work on in the future. We are just trying to focus on ourselves, and I think it’s the beginning of hopefully a successful journey for Jamaica until 2026. Like I said, we wanted to win this competition, but we are thinking long term,” Hallgrimsson ended.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz are left to pick up the pieces of another failed Concacaf Gold Cup campaign, as they again fell by the wayside at the semi-final stage, losing 0-3 to Mexico in an entertaining encounter at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, on Wednesday.

Henry Martin opened the scoring in the 2nd minute, before Luis Chavez (30th) inflicted more pain, leaving substitute Roberto Alvarado (90+3) to throw salt in the Jamaicans wounds and send eight-time champions Mexico into their third-consecutive Gold Cup final.

They will meet 2005 and 2013 finalists Panama in Sunday’s final, after the Central Americans defeated United States 5-4 on sudden-death penalty after playing out a 1-1 stalemate in full and extra time at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

With a large turnout of Jamaican spectators inside the 61,000-capacity stadium, the Reggae Boyz, who were finalists in the 2015 and 2017 tournaments, and also 2019 semi-finalist, started with a burst of purpose but it evaporated as briskly as it started.

This, as Mexico won possession from the failed Jamaican attack, in the middle of the park and broke down the right channel.  A long pass switching the point of attack was picked up by Jesus Gallardo, whose pass across the 18-yard box found an unmarked Martin, who applied an easy finish beyond Andre Blake.

The Mexicans went close to doubling the lead eight minutes later, but Blake diving full stretch to his left, denied Erick Sanchez’s left-footed effort from the top of the 18-yard box.

Though the Jamaicans orchestrated a few quick breaks, using their speed an athleticism down the channels, they were unable to make it count in the final third, where the lacked composure.

In fact, it wasn’t until the 24th minute that they got a shot off at Guillermo Ochoa’s goal when Demarai Gray found space for a right-footer from outside the 18-yard box that was easily collected by the Mexican shot stopper.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, they soon found themselves two goals down at the half-hour mark when Chavez’s delightfully taken left-footed free kick from about 25 yards out, rendered a five-man wall useless, beating Blake’s full stretch dive to his right.

While the action remained lively for the most parts, neither team was able to create any more meaningful chances in the latter stages of the half, as they went to the break with the score unchanged.

Heimir Hallgrimsson made a tactical change at the top of the second half, bringing on striker Shamar Nicholson for holding midfielder Kevon Lambert and the move worked to some extent, as the Reggae Boyz started seeing more possession of the ball in the attacking third.

They went close to pulling on back in the 54th minute, after Leon Bailey orchestrated a decent buildup in which he switched the attack to Michail Antonio, who whipped a one-time pass across the face of goal, but Nicholson was late in arriving at the far post.

As the Jamaicans continued to enjoy a good passage of play with Mexico at a lull, Antonio had the opportunity to hit the target from a solo run in the 75th minute. However, the West Ham United man was hesitant in pulling the trigger and the belated effort was charged down.

Both teams continued the probe for goals, the Jamaicans moreso, but while they came up empty in their hunt, Jaime Lozano’s side helped themselves to another. Poor defending by Damion Lowe allowed Gallardo a free run in the box to play a pass across the face of goal for Alvarado to tap in from close range in time added.

Teams: Jamaica- Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Javain Brown (Dexter Lembikisa 51st), Kevon Lambert (Shamar Nicholson 46th), Bobby Reid, Amari'i Bell, Dishon Bernard, Joel Latibeaudiere (Daniel Johnson 85th), Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Michail Antonio (Dujuan Richards 85th)

Subs not used: Jahmali Waite, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Adrian Mariappa, Kemar Lawrence, Jonathan Russell, Kaheem Parris, Corey Burke,

Booked: Brown (29th), Lambert (39th), Bernard (55th)

Mexico –Guillermo Ochoa, Jorge Sanchez, Cesar Montes, Johan Vasquez, Jesus Gallardo, Erick Sanchez (Carlos Rodriguez 62nd), Luis Romo, Luis Chavez (Edson Alvarez 72nd), Uriel Antuna (Roberto Alvarado 72nd), Henry Martin (Santiago Gimenez 63rd), Orbelin Pineda (Diego Lainez 87th)

Subs not used: Antonio Rodriguez, Angel Malagon, Julian Araujo, Gerardo Arteaga, Ozziel Herrera, Israel Reyes, Victor Guzman

Booked: Antuna (61st), Alvarez (90th)

Referee: Mario Escobar (Guatemala)

Assistant referee: Luis Ventura (Guatemala); Humberto Panjoj (Guatemala)

Fourth Official: Bryan Lopez (Guatemala)

Reggae Boyz Assistant Coach, John Wall, believes the team has become “more unified” since their training camp in Austria prior to the Concacaf Gold Cup in the USA.

The Reggae Boyz held a pre-tournament training camp in Austria from June 11-20 which included friendly internationals against Qatar and Jordan. The Boyz came up short in both those encounters.

Since then, however, Jamaica has seen massive improvements in their performances.

Wall, in an interview of the JFF’s Instagram page, had this to say about whether or not he’s seen improvements since the Austria camp.

“Yes, especially on the team side on an emotional and team bonding level,” he said.

“I think there are bits and pieces that are falling into place and I think we are becoming even more and more unified in our ways and how we want to win games and how we want to perform overall. That’s generally my impression, so far, being in the bubble as I am,” Wall added.

They currently have a record of 3-1 in the ongoing Gold Cup and, after a 1-0 win over Guatemala in the quarterfinals on Sunday, are all set to tackle powerhouses, Mexico, in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The Jamaicans will be aiming to reach the Gold Cup final for the first time since 2017.

In 2021, they lost by a goal to nil against eventual champions, USA, at the quarterfinal stage.

A lone strike from left full-back Amari’i Bell proved enough to put Jamaica’s senior Reggae Boyz into their fourth Concacaf Gold Cup semi-finals, as they edged Guatemala 1-0 in lively quarterfinals encounter at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday.

Bell’s strike which came in the 51st minute, was also the first international goal for the 29-year-old Luton Town defender, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, especially as the Reggae Boyz hunt their first Gold Cup triumph.

The Jamaicans, who were finalists in the 2015 and 2017 tournaments, and also 2019 semi-finalist, will be hoping to get by perennial rivals Mexico in Wednesday semi-final contest at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

Having won all four of their previous Gold Cup meetings, the Heimir Hallgrimsson-coached Reggae Boyz went in with some degree of confidence to again stamp their authority over the Central Americans on this the fifth occasion, and that they did to some extent.

They dominated possession and camped out in Guatemala’s quarters for most of the first half, as they showed enterprise in their build ups, which should have resulted in at least two early goals. However, proper decision-making in the final third was woefully lacking on their part.

Aside from defiant defending from the Guatemalans, the Jamaican attackers seemed a bit overconfident at times and neglected a simple one-time pass or shot when they opportunity presented itself. That resulted in a goalless end to the first half as Guatemala had little opportunities to trouble Jamaica’s goalkeeper Andre Blake.

Things shaped up differently on the resumption with Guatemala being more purposeful in attack, but it was the Jamaicans that broke the deadlock when Demarai Gray sidewinded his way into space to play off a pass to an unmarked Bell, who used time and space allowed to set and drive past Guatemala’s goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen at his near post.

The Jamaicans continued to marshal proceedings and could have pulled further ahead in the 65th when Gray, set Leon Bailey free, but the Aston Villa winger’s effort off his right foot was blocked by Hagen.

Guatemala grew in confidence in the latter stages of the encounter and almost got back on level terms in the 79th minute when substitute Alejandro Galindo’s header from dead centre of the 18-yard box, was kept by Blake, who took flight to his left.

Both teams continued their press in attack and while the Boyz had the better chances, they again lacked conviction in front of goal and fortunately for them, their profligacy didn’t come back to haunt them.

Teams: Jamaica- Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Javain Brown (Dexter Lembikisa 64th), Kevon Lambert (Daniel Johnson 46th), Bobby Reid, Amari'i Bell, Dishon Bernard, Latibeaudiere, Leon Bailey (Corey Burke 85th), Demarai Gray, Michail Antonio (Shamar Nicholson 78th)

Subs not used: Jahmali Waite, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Adrian Mariappa, Kemar Lawrence, Jonathan Russell, Dujuan Richards, Kaheem Parris

Booked: Bernard (32nd), Lambert (45th)

Guatemala –Nicholas Hagen, Aaron Herrera, Jose Pinto, Nicolas Samayoa, Jose Ardon, Oscar Castellanos, Marlon Sequen (Jorge Aparicio 64th), Nathaniel Mendez (Darwin Lom 82nd), Pedro Altan (Alejandro Galindo 71st), Carlos Mejia (Antonio Lopez 82nd), Rubio Mendez

Subs not used: Ricardo Jerez, Fredy Perez, Cesar Archilla, Jose Morales, Esteban Garcia, Gerardo Gordillo, Stheven Robles

Booked: Ardon (77th)

Referee: Drew Fischer (Canada) 

Assistant referees: Micheal Barwegen (Canada); Caleb Wales (Trinidad and Tobago) 

Fourth official: Joseph Dickerson (USA) 

Head coach of Trinidad & Tobago’s Soca Warriors, Angus Eve, has described his team as “going through a rebuilding stage” after bowing out of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA on Sunday.

The Trinidadians secured a comfortable 4-0 win over St. Kitts and Nevis in their first game of the group stage before suffering a crushing 1-4 defeat to Jamaica then ending their campaign with a 0-6 hammering at the hands of the defending champions and hosts.

Eve, in a post-match press conference, acknowledged a gap in skill between his players and those on the teams they lost to before explaining how that gap can be closed.

“We need to have our players being exposed at the highest level and consistently play football at a high level,” he said.

“Most of the guys don’t get the exposure on the outside and consistently play at a high level, because you have to remember that our league just returned after three years. The CFU used to have competitions. You can see that St. Kitts are in the same boat as us receiving a number of goals,” he added.

Eve also criticized the fitness level of his players, noting that getting the players fit is a job for their clubs rather than the national team.

“A national team coach can’t get the players fit when they come here. They have to come from their clubs with that fitness so your job is now to put them in a formation that will get them to play well.”

“A lot of times, as you can see, we were lacking fitness,” Eve added.

Despite all this, Eve did say he sees progress in some areas, specifically in the standard of the tournament.

“The tournament is improving all the time. We were here in 2021 and we are progressing. When you look at the French-Caribbean teams, they can bring in players who are playing in France and plug those holes,” he said.


In a thrilling CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Jamaica and St Kitts and Nevis at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on Sunday, the Reggae Boyz secured a resounding 5-0 victory, with defender Di'Shon Bernard shining brightly on the field.

In addition to his solid defensive play, the young former Manchester United centre-back scored his first-ever goal for the national team, leaving the coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, heaping praise upon the promising talent.

"I think he will get maybe more recognized in the upcoming years. This one is helping him a lot in that," Coach Hallgrimsson said, acknowledging the potential that Bernard possesses.

During the match, Bernard's skills stood out, and his versatility surprised the coaching staff.

"In that area, you can see his physical strength is good, his speed is good. Aerially, he's very strong. But I haven't seen this attacking skill like he showed in the opponents today," the coach noted with admiration.

 "I asked him, 'Have you ever done that before?' He replied, 'Yeah, coach, yeah, coach,' after the game. So now he is a young player, still has some things to learn, and he's going to grow for sure."

Bernard's performance on the pitch has been impressive, especially considering his relatively recent addition to the national squad. He, along with fellow newcomers (Demarai) Gray and (Joel) Latibeaudiere, has quickly integrated into the team, understanding their roles and responsibilities seamlessly.

 "I give him a lot of credit. He's new to the squad, but he has done really well since he came in. Like I said before, you give someone a chance, and he takes it," Coach Hallgrimsson added, expressing his delight with the player's dedication and skill.

Bernard's impactful performance has left the coaching staff with a pleasant dilemma of deciding on the starting lineup for future matches. "That is pleasing for coaches when players put you in a spot now, I mean in a dilemma, who I will pick for the next game. So really good," the coach admitted.

An own goal from St Kitts goalkeeper Julani Archibald, Corey Burke, Daniel Johnson and Corey Burke completed the scoring for Jamaica who finished on seven points for second place in Group A. The Reggae Boyz advanced to the quarter-final round of the Gold Cup.

Jesus Ferreira notched another hat trick as the United States topped Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sunday night in their Group A finale, securing a first-place finish in the group and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Ferreira is the first player to score hat tricks in two different Gold Cup games in the same tournament and is also the first U.S. player to score hat tricks in back-to-back games.

The U.S. opened the scoring in the 14th minute. US defender DeJuan Jones pushed forward from his left back position and found midfielder Cristian Roldan near the edge of the area.

Roldan’s attempted a cross that fell back into Jones’ path, and he crossed for Ferreira. Ferreira took one touch and hit the ball past Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Marvin Phillip on the half-volley.

The defending champions doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Djordje Mihailovic set up Alejandro Zendejas to cross. Ferreira’s first shot was deflected by Phillip, but Ferreira put a shot back on goal that was deflected and went over the line.






Ferreira then completed his hat trick right before halftime with a penalty conversion and a 3-0 lead.

Trinidad and Tobago thought it had its opener after the hour mark, when Shannon Gomez thumped a shot from distance but saw his effort bounce off the post.

Instead, it was the U.S. adding a fourth next. Cade Cowell ran onto a wayward pass from a Trinidad and Tobago player and was one-on-one with Phillip.

After shifting past the goalkeeper with a cut back to his right foot in the box, Cowell finished for his first career Gold Cup goal.

It was 5-0 in the 79th minute when DeAndre Yedlin combined with Julian Gressel, whose pass found Gianluca Busio, who scored with a right-footed shot for his first-ever goal for the United States.

The final goal came in stoppage time, with Brandon Vazquez scoring off the bench, running onto a pass into the box from Cowell and finishing the move.

With the result and Jamaica’s 5-0 victory over St Kitts and Nevis, the USA finishes first in Group A and moves to the quarterfinals awaiting the runner-up of Group D.

Trinidad and Tobago turns its attention to Concacaf Nations League League A play, which begins in September.

Jamaica completed an unbeaten campaign in Group A of the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup with a commanding 5-0 victory versus St Kitts and Nevis on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

With the result, the Reggae Boyz finish second in the group with a 2W-1D-0L record, clinching a berth in the quarterfinals, and will face the first-place team from Group D next Sunday at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The first half hour was full of chances for Jamaica, mostly coming from a series of deep crosses but with no end product, as the Sugar Boyz defence did well to stay compact and maintain their lines.

The Reggae Boyz broke the deadlock right before the 30-minute mark, as a deep cross from Leon Bailey reached Kaheem Parris, who tried to play back across goal only for Saint Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Julani Archibald to deflect the ball over the line for a 1-0 Jamaica lead.

Jamaica then added a second right before the break to double their advantage, as Bailey played a slick back-heel to Jonathan Russell’s whose right-footed finish beat Archibald for a 2-0 lead.

The momentum stayed with Jamaica and soon it was 3-0 on a tidy finish from DiShon Bernard after a pass from Shamar Nicholson in the 49’.

St Kitts and Nevis did get a pair of good looks at goal during the contest from Romaine Sawyers, one in each half, but the Sugar Boyz attacking player was unable to convert.

Jamaica kept their foot on the gas and quickly tacked on another two goals to make it a 5-0 lead. Daniel Johnson fired in one in the 72’ after an initial block by substitute goalkeeper Jamal Jeffers, followed by a good finish from Cory Burke in the 74’.

From there, the Jamaican defence saw things out the rest of the way to nail down the clean sheet victory and a place in the next round.


For all the talks about his winless streak in eight friendly games, Jamaica's Head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said he never paid much attention to those numbers as the fact remained that he was yet to lose a game at a major tournament.

In fact, Hallgrimsson, who registered his first win since taking the reins to guide the Reggae Boyz late last year, pointed out that the team's 4-1 drubbing of Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A fixture on Wednesday, was a strong indicator that time and greater consistency, could lead to better results going forward.

Prior to this Gold Cup triumph, Hallgrimsson had lost 0-3 to Argentina, 0-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, and 2-1 to Qatar and Jordan respectively, in friendly fixtures. His record also includes, 1-1 and goalless score lines with Cameroon and Trinidad and Tobago, also in friendlies, followed by a 2-2 Nations League stalemate with Mexico and more recently a 1-1 stalemate with United States in their Gold Cup opener.

While for some the victory Demarai Gray (14th and 28th), Leon Bailey (17th) and 17-year-old Dujuan "Whisper" Richards (90+2), who became the youngest scorer in the history of the tournament, was a relief, the Icelandic tactician said the focus was more on building a competitive team.

Andre Rampersad (49th) got the consolation for the twin island republic.

"It didn't affect me at all, I was not counting," Hallgrimsson declared during a post-game press conference at Citypark in St Louis, Missouri. 

"I will tell you another fact, I haven't lost a competitive game for Jamaica and that is what matters, the competitive matches. I am pretty sure this team will grow, there are a lot of young players starting to play for us and they will only grow as the tournament gets older. That is the important thing about tournament like these.

"Normally in a FIFA Window when you have players for seven days, eight days, maximum, and you have two matches, there is so little you can do to connect with them at that time. But when you have a tournament like this, you can always add things where you can improve the understanding between individual players. So, it's helping us a lot which is why it's important to be here and that is why it is important to make it to the Copa America next year as well, so we can continue grow as a team," he added.

Hallgrimsson, who was also taken to task about his selection of rising sensation Richards, argued that the late goal scored by the Chelsea-bound prospect, justified the coaching staff's decision.

He reiterated the fact that the former Kingston College talisman, who was making his Gold Cup debut, still have immense scope for improvements which will come in time as Richards learns from his more experienced counterparts.

"Normally I don't like to talk about individual players, but we were criticised for picking the kid and he only needed 10 minutes to score a goal, so that shows why we selected him, and I don't think he knows what he is going to do, the opponents don't know what he is going to do but he is lethal. 

 "I have to admit when he took the shot, I was wondering why he was shooting from that range, but he scored, so he is kind of like the guy that defy the odds a little bit and all teams need players like him. As I said before he has a lot to learn, but he still knows a lot and can do a lot right now," Hallgrimsson shared.

He also spoke highly of Gray, who celebrated his 27th birthday with a brace in only his second appearance as a Jamaican international. 

"Demarai, everybody knew he was a longtime coming, I think we started talking about him coming to Jamaica two years ago so for everyone to see now how good a individual talent he is, taking players on, he is a real quality on the field, and he is fast as well. It will take time for him to really get into the tactics and get to know the players around him, but I think it was a good birthday present he gave to all of us scoring two goals and I think he had a really good game," Hallgrimsson noted.

That said, Hallgrimsson lauded the dominance of his Reggae Boyz unit to not only consistently break down the Soca Warriors 5-4-1 defensive formation, but more importantly, maintain their composure and firm defensive posture for the most parts.

"We have good depth in the squad, not much difference between some players and we have tried these players in these positions before, so it was good to give both Javain [Brown] and Dexter Lembikisa a chance to play and Amari'i was a little bit injured, so we didn't want to risk him so that's why Taxi [Kemar Lawrence] started at left back and did a good job there. But at half time, he felt a little stiffening up, so we moved Dexter to the left and Joel Latibeaudiere played right. 

"So there were a lot of changes going on in these positions and then just the rotations of the centre-backs, I think Dishon Bernard did a really good job, so I hope Jamaicans are happy to see that there is a young centre-back coming up, he showed his strength and character in this game and in generally was really good," Hallgrimsson reasoned.

"I don't think Trinidad created a chance except for the goal, I think that was the only chance they created, so that's good and shows the defensive game we played today (Wednesday)," he ended.

Trinidad and Tobago's Head coach Angus Eve intends to lift the mood of his dejected players, as they aim to keep their Concacaf Gold Cup campaign alive after being outclassed by Jamaica in a 1-4 loss that has basically eliminated the Soca Warriors from the tournament. 

Trinidad and Tobago's chances of claiming one of two spots from Group A evaporated thanks to goals from Demarai Gray (14th and 28th), Leon Bailey (17th) and Dujuan Richards (90+2). Andre Rampersad (49th) pulled one back for the twin island republic.

Angus and his team still have a glimmer of hope of progressing to the knockout stages, but it will require an unlikely win or draw against powerhouse and favourites United States in their final group fixture on July 2, while hoping newcomers St Kitts and Nevis also pull off an unlikely win over Jamaica by a wide margin.

United States, who hammered St Kitts and Nevis 6-0 currently heads the group on four points, same as Jamaica but with a healthy six-goal difference to Reggae Boyz three. Trinidad and Tobago are third on three points, while the Sugar Boys on their Gold Cup debut are yet to earn a point.

"We just have to pick the guys up, the dressing room is very dejected this is the first match we have lost in about nine for the season and we don't normally concede goals but I thought that the second half when we came back on I thought that we were really in the game and we created a lot of chances," said Angus, who rued what he thought was a handball against Jamaica's defender Damion Lowe.

In real time, it seemed the ball did in fact come off Lowe's hand and Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero thought so too when he initially awarded the penalty. However, by the VAR, the replay showed that the ball came off Lowe's head.

"I think the handball should have been a penalty. Unfortunately, we don't get to see it (replays) on the pitch anymore, at one point we had a tablet where we could see it. From where we were, the hand was in an unnatural position, but it was a penalty and then it wasn't a penalty, we didn't get any explanation as to why not," Angus argued.

Going into the second contest with a 5-4-1 defensive formation after a comprehensive 3-0 win over St Kitts and Nevis in their opener, Trinidad and Tobago seemingly had all their bases covered, but things didn't pan out as Angus expected.

Their defence was easily and consistently broken down by the Jamaicans who were quick to press the ball and the Soca Warriors were at times caught ball watching. In fact, Gray was left unmarked on both occasions when he scored and the one attempt Trinidad and Tobago made at pushing a high line, they were beaten by a timely run from Bailey who went on to beat Nicklaus Frenderup in a one-one-one situation.

The Soca Warriors did come into their own in the second have and looked threatening in open play, though they were unable to get anymore that Rampersad's cheeky heel finish.

Aside from possibly being star-struck, Angus believes there was some positives to work with which he is hoping they can improve on ahead of Sunday's encounter.

"I thought the second half we were way more positive it seems like we settled down better credit to Jamaica, the type of players that they have and the quality that they have in the team, we don't have that type of quality, so it was always going to be a struggle.

"But when you give away soft goals...I thought we gave away a lot of soft goals very early and we had to dig ourselves out of a hole. I think we also started really slow, but as I said I take full blame for it, the aim was to keep the game as tight as possible in the first half so we could go out and express ourselves a little bit more in the second half, but we just didn't defend well," Angus explained.

That said, the tactician gave some insight to his decision not to start three of his best players in what was a vital fixture.

"Triston Hodge had a tight hamstring, Kevin Molino is just coming back into football, and he complained that he was really tired so he didn't feel like he could start and then Auvray had some little knocks and bruises. So, we made the three changes, we were trying to keep the game a little bit tight in the first half so we could probably get those players on. 

"So, we had the plan from the time they got the goals, unfortunately we seem to be a bit nervous, I think big name (players) probably scare us and we made some bad mistakes. But I take full blame for the result because I am the coach of the team," he ended.


Defending champions, USA, climbed to the top of Group A of the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup following a 6-0 drubbing of St Kitts and Nevis at CityPark in St Louis Wednesday night.

Jesus Ferreira scored a hat trick and Djordje Mihailovic added two more plus two assists to propel the USA to the resounding victory that sees the home side lead the group on goal difference over Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz who had earlier beaten Trinidad and Tobago 4-1.

The U.S. got on the scoreboard in the 12th minute when defender Bryan Reynolds played a ball into space that midfielder Gianluca Busio ran onto. He cut back across the box where Mihailovic was able to thump in the home the opener.

Reynolds then scored a stunner of his own in the 14th minute. After a corner kick bounced out of the box, Reynolds swung his foot, keeping his shot low and the ball kissed off the post and in for a 2-0 lead.

Next up, it was Jesus Ferreira scoring in the 16th minute, taking a pass from Alejandro Zendejas and running past a defender to fire a right-footed shot into the back of the net for a third goal in four minutes for the defending Gold Cup champion.

Ferreira doubled his tally in the 25th minute, making a run behind and ending up one-on-one with Saint Kitts and Nevis goalkeeper Julani Archibald, who wasn’t able to stop Ferreira’s low right-footed shot that made it 4-0.

And his hat trick was complete in the 50th minute, with Mihailovic finding Ferreira in the box, and the forward putting a quick right-footed shot past Archibald.

The U.S. extended its lead to 6-0 in the 80th minute, swarming forward in transition. Mihailovic finished a move that started down the right wing and saw Christian Roldan register the assist

The Stars and Stripes close out group play against Trinidad and Tobago on July 2, while St Kitts and Nevis faces Jamaica on the same day.


Demarai Gray had a birthday to remember, as he got on the score sheet twice to lead Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz to a 4-1 win over Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A fixture, at Citypark in St Louis, Missouri on Wednesday.

Gray, making his second appearance for the Reggae Boyz, celebrated his 27th birthday in style when he scored his first goal as a Jamaican international in the 14th minute and added a second in the 28th minute.

The Everton winger’s second came after Leon Bailey (17th) doubled the lead, while Chelsea-bound rising sensation Dujuan Richards, who was an 82nd-minute substitute, capped the victory with his first senior team goal in the 90+2 minute. With that, the 17-year-old became the youngest ever goalscorer in Gold Cup history.

Trinidad and Tobago got what turned out to be a consolation through Andre Rampersad in the 49th minute.

The win –which was also Heimir Hallgrimsson’s first since taking the reins as Jamaica’s Head coach late last year –provisionally saw the Boyz to the top of the standing on four points, one ahead of Trinidad and Tobago.

Group favourites United States, on a point, were leading newcomers St Kitts and Nevis, without a point, 4-0 at half-time in the late kickoff.

The much-anticipated clash between Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago

Was the first international men’s game to be played at the 22,000-plus capacity stadium and though it wasn’t the most attractive or entertaining encounter, the spectators that turned out were well treated to five goals.

It was initially projected to be a close contest, especially as the Soca Warriors Head coach Angus Eve opted for a defensive 5-4-1 formation that was expected to prove difficult for the Reggae Boyz to break down.   

But it became clear early that the objective of the formation would prove futile, as Michail Antonio dispossessed a defender a played a cheeky pass off to send Bobby Reid on his way. However, Reid took an unwanted touch and later hit the ball in the side netting.

The Soca Warriors briefly enjoyed a good passage of possession where they looked threatening in open play but couldn't create any meaningful opportunity and later found themselves behind.

In the 14th minute, a decent build up by the Reggae Boyz ended with Bailey finding an unmarked Gray, who buried his right-footed effort in the left corner beyond the slightly advanced, Frenderup in goal for Trinidad and Tobago.

Bailey doubled the lead three minutes later when he timed his run to perfection to latch on to a long pass from Joel Latibeaudiere and finished with aplomb in a one-one-one situation with Frenderup. The goal was initially flagged as offside, but that decision was later overturned on by VAR.

The Soca Warriors tried to play their game but were hardly allowed any room to cause any problems for Jamaica’s defence and, as such, only absorbed consistent pressure. 

They found themselves 3-0 down before the half-hour mark after Kevon Lambert won possession and found Antonio. The West Ham man then slipped by a defender and placed a pass on a platter for the wide-opened Gray to complete one of the easiest finishes of his career.

As the score remained unchanged at the break, the half-time team talk by Angus, coupled with Jamaica's defensive frailties, saw Trinidad pulling one back four minutes into the resumption.

Captain Levi Garcia got away from Jamaica’s debutant Dishon Bernard and drove a pass in for Rampersad to apply a back heel finish beyond Andre Blake, while under pressure from two defenders.  

Still, the Jamaicans continued to apply consistent pressure and created numerous opportunities to add to their tally, but those were squandered due to both faulty shooting and poor decision-making.

It wasn’t until close to the end that they got another when Richards’s shot from a distance took a wicked deflection and sailed past the flat-footed Frenderup, who had no chance.

Teams: Jamaica -Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Kemar Lawrence (Dexter Lembikisa 46th), Bobby Reid (Shamar Nicholson 62nd), Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Demarai Gray, Leon Bailey (Dujuan Richards 82nd), Michail Antonio (Corey Burke 77th), Dishon Bernard, Javain Brown (Daniel Johnson 62nd

Subs not used: Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Jahmali Waite, Kaheem Parris, Jonathan Russell, Adrian Mariappa, Amari’i Bell,

Booked: Brown (9th), Lowe (75th)

Trinidad & Tobago: Nicklas Frenderup, Alvin Jones, Sheldon Bateau, Kareem Moses, Aubrey David, Shannon Gomez (Molik Khan 76th), Malcolm Shaw, Andre Rampersad (Kevin Molino 63rd), Ajani Fortune (Kaile Auvray 46th), Levi Garcia, Neveal Hackshaw

Subs not Used: Marvin Phillip, Denzil Smith, Leland Archer, Luke Singh, Triston Hodge, Ryan Telfer, Joevin Jones, Real Gill, Kadeem Corbin

Booked: Hackshaw (5th), Bateau (41st), Jones (73rd)

Referee: Fernando Guerrero (Mexico)

Assistant referees: Enrique Bustos (Mexico); Jorge Sanchez (Mexico)

Fourth Official: Reon Radix (Grenada)

Var: Benjamin Pineda (Costa Rica)

Avar1: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica)

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