In an exciting development for Jamaican football, Reggae Boyz captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake has secured a new two-year sponsorship deal with Spectrum Systems Limited, Jamaica's leading distributor of roofing and building products. This deal comes hot on the heels of Blake's recent sponsorship announcement with Supreme Ventures.

Blake's new partnership with Spectrum Systems highlights the company's commitment to supporting local sports, adding to their existing sponsorships of the Waterhouse Football Club and race car driver Sara Misir. As part of this agreement, Blake will be featured prominently in Spectrum's advertising campaigns and will support the company’s sponsorship initiatives within the football community.

The collaboration was celebrated with Blake's attendance at the Jamaica Premier League Superfinal last Sunday. During the event, he presented a gift to Waterhouse FC, which secured fourth place in the 2023/24 season, underscoring Spectrum Systems' ongoing support for the club.

Contributed: Andrew Stanigar Managing Director of Spectrum Systems greets Andre Blake on Sunday at the Jamaica Premier League Super Final.

Andrew Stanigar, Managing Director of Spectrum Systems Ltd., expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "We invest in sports sponsorships because they allow us to connect with our customer base. Both Andre Blake and Spectrum Systems have a lot in common—quality, reliability, and consistency. It makes sense to align the number one roofing company with Jamaica's number one goalkeeper."

For Andre Blake, the endorsement deal represents a valuable opportunity to further engage with the local football community. "Sponsorships like this allow me to connect better with Jamaica football fans," Blake commented. "I look forward to what we will be able to achieve together as I aim to inspire and connect footballers across the island while also championing Spectrum's advertising campaigns. It's a win for everyone."

With this new deal, Blake continues to expand his influence both on and off the pitch, leveraging his prominence to promote and support local sports. The two-year agreement promises to be beneficial for both Blake and Spectrum Systems, strengthening their ties to the Jamaican football community and beyond.

 

 

 

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.

Major Desmon Brown, the General Manager of Independence Park Limited, has provided assurances that the playing surface at Jamaica's National Stadium will be in excellent shape for the Reggae Boyz opening World Cup qualifier against the Dominican Republic on June 6, despite a busy upcoming schedule of events.

The National Stadium is set to host a series of high-profile events, starting with the Jamaica Athletics Invitational on May 11, followed by the Jamaica Premier League final on May 19, and the INSPORTS Devon Biscuits Primary School Championships from May 23-25. Additionally, the Racers Grand Prix will take place on June 1, just five days before the crucial World Cup qualifier.

With various athletic competitions taking place, including throwing events like the discus, Major Brown expressed concerns about maintaining the integrity of the playing surface, particularly due to the potential damage caused by shot put activities.

"The discus and the javelin are not a problem. It’s the shot put that is the problem," explained Major Brown, highlighting the challenges posed by the heavy metal ball which can create deep divots in the field.

“We did it sometime ago for Champs when we had to do it for like four days. What we did is that we took it up every night and put it back in the mornings otherwise it would kill the grass. If they throw the shot put, it takes three to four weeks to sort it out.

“It’s a sand field so (the shot put) compresses the sand and then you have to dig it up so that the grass can grow back through it.”

To mitigate this issue, Major Brown detailed a specialized plan involving the use of plywood and sand to protect the grass from damage caused by shot put. This method, although expensive, is effective in ensuring the field remains playable and in good condition for the upcoming football qualifier.

Despite the rigorous schedule of events, Major Brown emphasized that the playing surface has significantly improved in recent years, thanks to dedicated efforts to control weeds and maintain overall quality.

"We have a group of people who are very dedicated to getting that field back in good condition, so even with the events that we had recently, we are working on it to get it back," assured Major Brown.

Importantly, organizers of the international track meets have confirmed that only the discus will be contested during the upcoming Jamaica Athletics Invitational and the Racers Grand Prix, alleviating concerns about potential damage caused by shot put competition.

With Major Brown's strategic plans and diligent efforts, football fans can rest assured that the National Stadium will provide a suitable and safe venue for the Reggae Boyz as they kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign against the Dominican Republic on June 6.

Michael Ricketts, the President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), remains hopeful that the ongoing issues between the association and Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey will be resolved soon.

Bailey was dropped from the national team after breaking curfew prior to a crucial Nations League semi-final against the United States in late March. Subsequently, Bailey, speaking on the ‘Let’s Be Honest’ podcast, aired his grievances publicly, criticizing the JFF's professionalism and citing reasons for taking a self-imposed break from international football.

In response, the JFF issued a detailed statement refuting Bailey’s allegations.

On Thursday, Ricketts expressed regret over the situation and emphasized the player's past dedication to representing Jamaica on the field.

"I just think it is so very unfortunate and I hope he really doesn’t mean what he is saying," said Ricketts. "He probably was a little bit upset but we are hoping that things will settle down because he has given his all for his country.

“I remember, I think it was after the Canada (in the Nations League quarter-final) game that he came up to me and said ‘President, you know every time I go on the field I try to do my best because I am representing my country’ and I guess he felt bad because he didn’t do as well as people were expecting.

“And when he said that to me, I just thought that here is somebody, who it might not be working for him then but his heart is in the right place.

“I remember years ago, (West Indies cricket great) Viv Richards was going through a bad patch and when he was interviewed he said that you lose form but you don’t lose class and if you have the class the form will come back and I am just hoping that these issues and these utterances from Bailey will, sooner rather than later, be sorted out and that we can re-establish a proper relationship.”

However, Ricketts expressed concern over the tendency of airing internal grievances in public, particularly given the widespread reach of social media.

"I really don’t think he (Bailey) had an issue that had to be played out in the public," Ricketts remarked. "It’s just unfortunate and we are just hopeful that we will be able to sort these things out and have them amicably settled rather than going public because social media, it’s all over the world. So whatever you say or do the whole world will know."

Despite the current challenges, Ricketts expressed optimism about restoring a positive relationship with Bailey in time for upcoming national team activities.

"We are hoping that the coach (Heimir Halgrimsson) will work this out," Ricketts concluded. "I know the coach really wants to have this sorted out quickly. He is very disappointed but at the same time he is very optimistic that he will get it sorted out soon."

The JFF remains committed to addressing and resolving any issues with Bailey to ensure a harmonious working relationship moving forward. Jamaica will begin its World Cup campaign against the Dominican Republic on June 6 at the National Stadium in Kingston. Their next match will be against Dominica in Dominica on June 9.

 

 Following Jamaica’s historic performances in the CONCACAF Nations League Finals in Dallas with a third-place finish recently, the Reggae Boyz have moved in the latest editions of the FIFA Rankings and the CONCACAF Rankings Index. In the CONCACAF Rankings Index, the Reggae Boyz moved up from sixth to fifth as Jamaica gained 92 quality points, the most by any team in CONCACAF in the latest index.

In the April 2024 edition of the FIFA World Rankings, Jamaica moved up from 57th to 55th. Jamaica also remains number one in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts is delighted with these movements, stating, “We are certainly pleased to see our national team move up in the CONCACAF and FIFA Rankings respectively. For the first time in our history we landed on the podium in the CONCACAF Nations League and now we eagerly anticipate the busy summer that lies ahead.
Again we are proud of the Boyz and we look forward to them continuing to move up in the rankings.”

The Reggae Boyz will open their account in World Cup Qualifying on June 6 at home against the Dominican Republic before facing Dominica away on June 9. The 2024 edition of the Copa America is slated to run from June 20 to July 14.

Goalkeeper Jean Luke Wilmot emerged as the star for Constant Spring FC in the mid-season final of the Wray & Nephew KSAFA Championship League.

His heroics between the sticks, during both regulation time and in the ensuing penalty shootout to decide the winners, ensured that his team defeated Olympic Gardens FC 5-3 on penalties to secure their first title of the season.

The 24-year-old, who has been a player at the club since the age of sixteen, has experienced the highs and lows at Constant Spring for eight years. In that time, Wilmot has tasted victory and endured defeat in finals appearances. These experiences helped him deal with the pressure in the mid-season final, especially during the dreaded penalty kicks.

“Penalties are something that we were working on in training. For me personally, the final was just a regular game. I was simply doing my job to help the team win,” he explained.

“This win is very, very good for us because we reached the final last year and fell short. This time, we were determined not to settle for second place. We aimed to win, and we did,” he continued.

Wilmot hopes that the mid-season final victory will serve as a catalyst for the club to achieve their ultimate goal this season and surpass last year's performance.

“It's a booster for the team, for everyone. A victory always boosts morale. But the real aim for the team this season is to go one step further than last year and become the Championship League champions.”

Wilmot celebrated the win with his two brothers, Javier and Tariq, who also play for the club. However, he believes this victory is just the beginning for the trio.

“It's a dream come true, but it's not the ultimate dream. The dream is to win everything there is to win with my brothers. For this season, it's to be the champions at the end of the season. That's just the tip of the iceberg.”

His only league title win came back in 2018, and Wilmot believes that the arrival of Neville “Bertis” Bell as head coach in January is the key factor that will help them achieve their goals.

“If you asked the players, we would say yes, however, he would say no because we are the ones who play, and it is down to us to execute what we practice.”

The Manuel Neuer and David de Gea fan spoke of the impact Bell has already made in his short time at the helm at Constant Spring.

“There is a sense of familiarity. He has brought the team closer together. The team is now functioning as a family. He is a role model to the players, not just as a coach but as an individual. It is amazing. He is an amazing person and an amazing coach.”

The former Mona High School Manning Cup player says that they will not get carried away with their mid-season success and that they will quickly return their attention to the main job at hand.

“We will take each game one step at a time as we always do for the rest of the campaign,” he concluded.

 

 

Sports Innovators Group Ltd (SIG) has inked at three-year deal with Spanish La Liga club CA Osasuna to organize an annual football camp in Jamaica. The inaugural camp, scheduled for April 1-5, 2024, at the Barbican Astro Turf, promises an enriching experience for young Jamaican football enthusiasts aged 8 to 17, both boys and girls.

The collaboration between SIG and CA Osasuna aims to provide Jamaican players with the opportunity to refine their skills under the guidance of experienced coaches, fostering their development and enhancing their chances of success in professional football. Managing Director at SIG, Paul Campbell, expressed the strategic importance of offering such opportunities to young players, citing the success of the previous SL Benfica camp and the need to maximize the potential of Jamaican talent.

"We felt from a strategic perspective that it was important for us to offer more opportunities to our young players by giving them the best possible chance of maximizing their potential," said Campbell, emphasizing the impact of quality coaching on player development.

Campbell highlighted concerns regarding Jamaican players' struggles to adapt to the demands of professional football overseas, emphasizing the importance of introducing European methodologies at an early age to facilitate smoother transitions in the future.

The CA Osasuna camp, accommodating 80 players, will feature two daily sessions, each hosting 40 participants over the first four days. On the fifth day, players will have the chance to showcase their skills during inter-squad games, providing a platform to impress coaches.

Head of the Physical Conditioning department at CA Osasuna, Iokin Lobo Yeregui, expressed excitement about working with Jamaican players, emphasizing the importance of developing their specific skills and leveraging their potential at a crucial age.

"This football training camp is a good opportunity to develop the specific skills of the children, taking into account their age is important to taking advantage of the window of opportunity they have," said Yeregui. "I think it will be successful as Jamaica is a special country to develop football, and we are going to live this experience to the fullest."

Endorsed by the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA), the camp will also serve as a talent identification opportunity for CA Osasuna, potentially opening doors for Jamaican players to pursue professional careers abroad.

In addition to player development, the camp will include a coaching education workshop, offering ten local coaches the chance to collaborate with CA Osasuna coaches over the five-day period, further enriching football expertise in Jamaica.

With the partnership between SIG and CA Osasuna, Jamaican football stands poised to benefit from world-class coaching and opportunities for player and coach development, marking a significant step forward in the nation's footballing journey.

 

 

 

Jamaica Senior Men’s Team Vice Captain Damion Lowe was honored on Saturday at the 19th staging of the Camperdown Classic at the National Stadium in Kingston on February 10.

Lowe, a second-generation Reggae Boy, was pleased to be honored by his alma mater.

The citation shared that while a student at Camperdown High, Damion never missed a football game. He contributed significantly to every football team from first to sixth form. He also did track and field while at the sprint factory, participating as a long jumper and a reserve for the 4x100m relay team.

Former principal and Chairperson for the Camperdown Classic, Cynthia Cooke, mentioned, “Damion demonstrated leadership abilities at a young age by coordinating school devotions. His exceptional performance in six-week assessments earned him ‘A’ badges, which were celebrated with enthusiastic applause from his peers.”

Dubbed the 'Head of State', Damion has represented Jamaica at all levels. He has earned 60 caps for the Reggae Boyz since his debut in 2016. He has played professionally in Europe (Norway), and Africa (Egypt) and spent the last two seasons in the US MLS, first at Inter Miami and currently with Philadelphia Union.

Lowe was nominated for the CONCACAF Defender of the Year award in 2021.

His philanthropic efforts include an annual Christmas treat in his community of Rockfort, East Kingston over the past three years. 

"I’m grateful to be able to represent both Camperdown and Jamaica. I Hope this award will inspire the next generation to follow their dreams and to remember that only your best is good enough.” Lowe said.

 

 

The new 2023/2024 Jamaica Premier League powered by returning partner Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum is set to kick off this weekend with six highly anticipated encounters across several venues on the island.

Last season saw 16,830 minutes of pulsating football from 350 players from 14 clubs. However, only one champion can be crowned in the new season which will get underway on Sunday, October 22 with defending champions Mount Pleasant FC hosting former champions Portmore United at the Drax Hall Sports Complex starting at 3:15 pm.

That encounter will be preceded by the clash between debutants Lime Hall Academy FC who will be going up against Montego Bay United at 1:15 pm.

All eyes will be on the Mount Pleasant/Portmore clash with both clubs possessing impressive rosters, with Mount Pleasant set to unveil new signings Damari Deacon, Fitzroy Cummings, Dominican Troy Jules and Marlon Allen.

Portmore United will also have their fair share of firepower with the likes of Emelio Rosseau, Alex Marshall and veteran Rudolph Austin in their ranks.

Elsewhere, Tivoli Gardens will host Waterhouse FC at the Edwards Seaga Sports Complex at 3:00 pm while over in Clarendon, home side Humble Lion will welcome the league’s other debut team Treasure Beach FC at Effortville.

On Monday’s televised doubleheader, Molynes United under coach Alex Thomas will face off with Linval Dixon’s Vere United at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex starting at 5:00 pm after which the home side ‘Junglist’ Arnett Gardens will entertain Dunbeholden at 7:00 pm.

 CEO of the Professional Football Jamaica League, Owen Hill says the new season is expected to heighten the already exciting local football product which will be further advanced with the return of long-time sponsor Wray & Nephew.

 “Our mission is to build a solid football industry with supporting ecosystems which involve building out our income, capital and grants. These are the key pillars that will help us to keep raising the bar,” said Hill.

 Raising that bar is right up the alley of the team at Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, with Brand PR & Communications Manager Dominic Bell eagerly anticipating the start of the new season to roll out the brand's extravagant plans.

 “Both Wray & Nephew and the JPL share a common goal in elevating the league to allow the players to benefit from international level play. We are excited to inject our standard of excellence into the matches starting on Sunday and we look forward to the spectators enjoying a world-class display of Jamaican football,” Bell added.

 

 

Reggae Girlz forward Cheyna Matthews is to retire from professional football after what will be her final match this weekend, according to reports.

Matthews, who was a member of Jamaica’s history making Reggae Girlz squad that made it to the round of 16 at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and who plays for the Chicago Red Stars will hang up her boots after her team battles OL Reign at the SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday, October 15. She is to be feted by her club before Sunday's match.

The player who turns 30 in November, has played for the Reggae Girlz since 2019 and represented the team at two World Cups.

The Jamaica Football Federation expressed their gratitude for her contribution to Jamaica’s women’s programme.

“Thank you Cheyna for your wonderful service to Jamaica. As you retire from football we would like to wish you all the best on the next chapter of your life and you will always be a Reggae Girl.

A Georgia native, Matthews, a Florida State alum, began her professional career in 2016 when she was the seventh overall draft pick by the Washington Spirit. She played five years with Washington Spirit before joining Louisville FC in 2021.

Cheyna, who is married to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jordan Matthews, is mother to three three sons.

 

 

 

 Amidst the excitement of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 in Australia, the spotlight has shifted to two exceptional Jamaican footballers, Sashana Campbell and Ashleigh Shim.

These dynamic athletes have been selected to participate in Festival23, an inspiring Football for Good event taking place during the tournament.

With a gathering of approximately 70 female delegates from over 40 countries, Festival23 celebrates the transformative power of football on a global scale.

The remarkable journey of Sashana Campbell and Ashleigh Shim is a testament to the core mission of Football is Freedom, an organization established by none other than Cedella Marley.

The daughter of Reggae icons Bob Marley and Rita Marley, Cedella Marley holds the mantle of CEO of the Bob Marley Group and serves as a global ambassador for Jamaica's women's national team. Her vision for Football is Freedom revolves around empowering women and nurturing young leaders across the region. Since its inception in 2021, the organization has been steadfast in driving awareness for women's football, advocating for its growth and recognition.

Both Campbell and Shim have assumed vital roles within the Football is Freedom family, serving as assistant coaches and mentors in grassroots staff mentorship programs.

Sashana Campbell, an accomplished Reggae Girlz defender, has been a stalwart presence in the senior squad since 2014. With her recent appearance in Australia for her second consecutive World Cup with the team, she embodies unwavering leadership qualities that continue to inspire her teammates and fans alike.

Ashleigh Shim, a former Reggae Girlz forward, made her mark on the world stage as a member of Jamaica's 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup squad.

Beyond her on-field prowess, Shim stands as a fervent advocate for women's football, instilling empowerment and strength in young girls worldwide both on and off the field.

Cedella Marley emphasized, "This is part of Football is Freedom's plan to develop a proper ecosystem that the players can relate to and to support the growth and development of our Reggae Girlz through exposure to opportunities such as Festival23. This also helps our former players by providing a pathway to other careers in football. Football is Freedom is more than certain that our women will make an impact in the conference."

Festival23, hosted collaboratively by Football United, Creating Chances, and Common Goal, has unfolded in the vibrant city of Sydney. The event commenced with an official opening ceremony on August 6, extending its influence until August 13. The overarching theme, 'Inspiring the Next Generation to Embrace Equity, Driven by the Inclusive Spirit of Women's Football,' encapsulates the essence of Festival23.

The event's program spans a spectrum of activities, engaging young leaders from the global football community and beyond. From the Young Leader Fairplay Tournament on August 9 to the Football Coaching Education and Football for Good Forum on August 11 and 12, respectively, participants are immersed in enriching workshops and cultural experiences. Over 2,500 youths in Australia have seized the opportunity to participate, amplifying the potential for positive social change across communities, both locally and globally.

As the world tunes into the FIFA Women's World Cup games, Football is Freedom shines on 'OCEAUNZ TV,' a brand-new YouTube content series by the adidas Football Collective. In episode one, Cedella Marley presents the captivating essence of Football is Freedom, sharing intriguing anecdotes about her father's deep connection to the sport and providing insights into the talented players she mentors.

With their indomitable spirit, Campbell and Shim embody the essence of Football is Freedom's mission. Their participation in Festival23 signifies not only their exceptional talent but also the strides being taken to empower women and promote the holistic wellness of athletes within the realm of football. As the event unfolds in the backdrop of the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, the Reggae Girls' presence continues to inspire and uplift, leaving an indelible mark on the global football community.

 

 

 

 

The highly anticipated Porus Football Festival, an annual tournament that has captivated football enthusiasts since its inception in 2016, is set to kick off on June 7th, 2023.

The event, co-founded by former JFF president Crenston Boxhill and Manchester Businessman Karam Persad, has experienced remarkable growth over the years and has become one of the premier football tournaments in Jamaica.

After a brief hiatus due to the global pandemic, the Porus Football Festival made a triumphant return in 2022, attracting a record number of participating teams and an unprecedented night attendance that exceeded 2000 patrons on a weekday. This remarkable success has cemented the event as one of the few night football tournaments in Jamaica.

Spanning six weeks, the Porus Football Festival will showcase the skills and talents of 16 competing teams vying for the grand prize of $250,000.

The tournament will culminate on July 16th with a star-studded celebrity football match, promising the presence of legendary football figures such as Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore and Walter Boyd, who delighted thousands of fans in the previous edition.

Adding to the excitement, the closing night will feature a spectacular concert, which is expected to rival prominent music festivals like Reggae Sumfest.

Last year's event boasted electrifying performances by renowned artists such as Bounty Killa, Beenie Man, Joshie, and a host of other top talents, captivating a packed venue of 10,000 spectators.

This year, the Porus Football Festival promises to deliver an equally sensational experience, with over 500 returning Jamaicans from across the diaspora anticipated to grace the event.

However, due to the severe weather system currently affecting Jamaica, the organizers made the difficult decision to postpone the festival's initial start date of June 4th to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants, staff, and attendees.

This precautionary measure reflects the organizers' commitment to delivering an unforgettable experience while prioritizing the welfare of everyone involved.

The Porus community, renowned for its warm hospitality and love for football, eagerly anticipates the rescheduled Porus Football Festival on June 7th. The event promises to be a spectacle of talent, excitement, and entertainment, exemplifying the spirit of sportsmanship and unity.

 

President Michael Ricketts, the Jamaica Football Federation and the entire football fraternity, are saddened by the passing of former national player and outstanding coach, Frank Brown.

Brown, who was widely regarded as one of Jamaica’s best ever defenders, passed on Monday afternoon.

“He was a passionate individual who lived, breathed and taught football,” remarked Michael Ricketts. ”Frank will be remembered equally for his defensive abilities as a player and his outstanding work as a football coach and mentor. He represented Jamaica with distinction. He then went on to guide countless youths both in Kingston and the rural areas to a better life through football. It was no accident that so many of his charges went on to represent Jamaica. There are no words to express the debt of gratitude Jamaica’s football owe to Frank. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.  May his soul rest in peace,” Ricketts concluded.

Frank Brown was one of a short list of coaches who won both the Manning Cup and the DaCosta Cup.

Icelandic head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is enjoying his time as head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

The 55-year-old former professional footballer was appointed as the head man for Jamaica in September last year after a four-year stint at Qatari club Al-Arabi from 2018-2021.

Before that, Hallgrimsson was a member of the coaching staff of his native Iceland from 2013-2018.

He was initially appointed as assistant coach to Lars Lagerback before being promoted to joint-head coach after the 2014 World Cup.

Hallgrimsson and Lagerback oversaw the most successful period in the country’s football history including a quarter-final berth at Euro 2016. He officially took over as head coach when Lagerback left to coach Norway after Euro 2016.

“The experience has been good,” stated Hallgrimsson to Sportsmax.TV at the JFF’s official Adidas kit launch at their headquarters on Tuesday about his first few months coaching the Reggae Boyz.

“There are a lot of things I need to learn first before I can really change things. It takes time. You’ll never know everything but it’s better to do the work in the beginning than to slowly learn,” added Hallgrimsson.

He says his focus, as of late, has been to try to learn about Jamaica’s football culture.

“I’ve been doing this. The first two camps I had in January were to get to know the players and the ones that were recommended or played before,” he said.

“In February, I’ve been focusing on the domestic league and domestic players, trying to learn the football culture in Jamaica, watching training sessions, talking to coaches and owners. Maybe, in one week, I will need to start to watch the players playing abroad because it takes a lot of time to do as well,” he added.

When questioned about immediate plans for the Reggae Boyz, Hallgrimsson mentioned that the next few games will give him and his staff an opportunity to see as many players play as possible.

“We play in Trinidad and Tobago on the 11th and the 14th of March. That is good preparation and I think that match will feature players from the domestic league. Then we have the game in Mexico at the end of March and there, we will have the ability to bring in all the players that we want because that’s a FIFA window. We then have a game against Guatemala in early April where we can, hopefully, get some of the players in the US that were not in the Mexico squad.”

“The purpose of all this is to try give as many players as possible a chance to play so we can have the best squad possible in the Gold Cup this summer.”

The 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup is scheduled for June 24-July 16 in California.

The Reggae Boyz were beaten 0-1 by the USA in the quarter-finals at the 2021 edition.

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) held a press conference on Tuesday to officially unveil the new kits to be worn by the respective national teams.

The kits are the first of a ground-breaking partnership between the Federation and apparel giants, Adidas, and were officially unveiled in the boardroom at the JFF headquarters.

“This is a very significant day for football in the history of this country,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts.

“The JFF started the process of negotiating with Adidas, arguably one of the most decorated sport apparel manufacturers in the world. These negotiations were intense and there were times when I felt helpless or that it would not work but, thereafter, came some light and the rest is history,” Ricketts added.

The agreement with Adidas is in place for the next four years.

“It is significant for the JFF to be working with Adidas. The expectation around this transaction, globally, is huge,” said JFF General Secretary Dennis Chung.

“I think that, based on feedback, the expectation and the excitement of people internationally could even be more than here. This transaction with Jamaica is more than just football and sports. It is a culture,” he added.

The Under-17 Reggae Boyz and senior Reggae Girlz are the first two national teams to sport the new kits.

The Under-17s recently competed in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship where they lost to Guatemala in the Round of 16 and the Reggae Girlz are currently in Australia taking part in the Cup of Nations, a build-up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup from July 20- August 20 later this year.

The Reggae Boyz first time in the new kit will be in two friendly internationals against Trinidad & Tobago on March 4 and March 11.

 

 

 

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