An Alex Roldan goal in the 90th minute canceled out a Michail Antonio goal in the 82nd minute as El Salvador and Jamaica both netted a point
after battling to a 1-1 draw on Friday at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
The first half ended scoreless despite a sequence in the 39th minute off a corner kick in which El Salvador attempted two long-range shots, both of which hit the crossbar above
Jamaica GK Andre Blake.

Jamaica thought it may have had the winner with Antonio scoring his first-ever Jamaica goal late in the second half for a 1-0 lead. The attacker took the ball on the left-hand side of attack and charged forward, beating a pair of Salvadoran defenders and then GK Mario Gonzalez with a clever chip over the onrushing shot-stopper.

 Yet El Salvador still had something to say about the outcome of the match and found the 1-1 equalizer.
Roldan, wearing the captain’s armband, got into the box in the 90th minute and headed in a cross from the right-hand side, with the ball tucking under the crossbar and going in.

Next on the slate for El Salvador is a visit to Panama City to meet fellow Central
American rival Panama, while Jamaica heads back to Kingston where it welcomes the United States.

 

Jamaica Reggae Boy Liam Moore is hopeful the team can continue its recent trend of keeping clean sheets ahead of World Cup qualification encounters against El Salvador and the United States.

The Jamaican team got off to a rocky start to the qualifiers after conceding eight goals in its first six games.  However, the team’s fortunes have improved in the last two rounds after battling to a 0-0 draw with the competition’s top scorers Canada and securing a 2-0 away win over Honduras.

Moore missed that round of matches, which took place in September after suffering an injury, but the defender did, however, watch the matches while sidelined and is eager to make his contribution for the team as it looks to pick up where it off.

“I watched the games back in the UK while I was injured and I thought there were a lot of positives with the clean sheets,” Moore told TVJ Sports.

“Talking about moving forward now, it’s about trying to continue to grow from that.  So, we need more clean sheets and try to get as many points on the board as we can,” he added.

The Reading player has made five appearances for the Jamaica national team to date.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore is impressed with the team’s camaraderie, after using an extra day to prepare for the team’s World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday.

In recent months questions had been raised regarding the team’s sense of togetherness on the back of a rumoured rift between locally born and Uk-born members of the squad.  That narrative has, however, shifted on the back of two solid performances against Canada and Honduras in the previous round of matches.

Heading into Friday’s encounter Whitmore is eager to see that trend continue heading into the upcoming round of games.

“I’m very pleased with the enthusiasm of the players.  The camaraderie is good, the vibes in the camp is good and I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Whitmore said.

The team arrived in El Salvador on Monday, in order to be able to squeeze in an extra training session for the team.

“We are looking forward to the final session and the game.”

The Jamaicans who got their campaign slow start are looking to build momentum on the back of their first win of qualifiers, which came against Honduras in the previous round.  The team is currently 6th in the eight-team standings on 5 points, 3 outside of the qualifying spots.

Sports agent Cubie Seegobin and Jamaican Olympian Yohan Blake have agreed to go their separate ways after a relationship that lasted for more than a decade, the agent revealed in a statement earlier today.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore says the team is looking to continue riding its momentum into the upcoming round of World Cup qualifiers, particularly as it relates to defensive solidity.

The Caribbean team had a difficult start to its qualification campaign going winless in its first five games, before getting on the board against Honduras.  The run of games included a 3-0 home loss to Panama and a 2-0 away loss to the United States.  During the period the team conceded 8 goals.

Whitmore, however, made tweaks to the team’s formation for the last two matches against Canada and Honduras, which has led to two clean sheets.

“I think we want to build on the last two performances, from Canada to Honduras I think we can see much improvement because we have not conceded for the last two games, so we would like to build on that,” Whitmore said.

“We have a balanced squad here, for these two upcoming games so we are looking forward to it.  Again, we want to build on the strength of the last two performances.”

The Jamaicans will kick off the crucial round of matches with an encounter against El Salvador on Friday, followed by a home match against the United States on Sunday.  For the first time since the start of the campaign, the team will be allowed to have limited fans in the stadium.

 

 

Jamaica international Leon Bailey is feeling fit and ready ahead of a probable debut in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old has suffered an injury-plagued few months after moving to the English Premier League’s Aston Villa from German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.

 In a stop-start season at Villa, Bailey has managed 6 appearances at the club but only forced his way into the starting line-up for the past two games, having recovered full fitness.  In the meantime, however, Jamaica has played six World Cup qualifiers but only their first win in the last round.  Having finally joined the squad ahead of matches against El Salvador and the United States, however, the player is hoping to make an impact.

“I played my first 90 minutes on the weekend, so I am feeling ready to go,” Bailey said.

“We haven’t had a great start, but I hope we can turn things around very quickly because this means a lot not just to players but also the country,” he added.

I think as a team we need to do better, and we will.  Hopefully, we’ll get the results because it will be a dream for us all to make it to the next World Cup.”

Jamaica are currently 6th in the eight-team standings on five points, three outside of the final qualifying spot.

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah and the USA’s Ryan Crouser have been named 2021 Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

Jamaica-born bodybuilder Shawn Rhoden died Saturday of a reported heart attack, according to multiple reports.

Jamaica’s senior national men’s team is set to leave for El Salvador on Monday evening, November 8, giving coach Theodore Whitmore three days to work with the players before their crucial World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Friday, November 12.

Jamaica’s coming matches against El Salvador in San Salvador and a strengthened United States of America at the National Stadium in Kingston will be of great importance to the Reggae Boyz, who will be hoping to make up lost ground on the five teams ahead of them in the final round of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The players based in Europe are scheduled to arrive at the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston at 4:30 pm on Monday, where they will join the local delegation on a charter leaving at 7:00 pm. The players based in the United States (and Costa Rica) will fly directly to San Salvador on the same afternoon.

Injured players Dillon Barnes and Andre Gray will be replaced by Dwayne Miller and Javain Brown, respectively.

Jamaica will return to the island by charter on Saturday, November 13 before taking on the United States on Tuesday, November 16, at the National Stadium. A maximum of 5000 vaccinated spectators are expected to attend.

Jamaica got off to a poor start in the Octoganal round of qualifiers, losing 2-1 to Mexico and 3-0 to Panama in September. They then lost 2-0 to the United States in October and drew 0-0 with Canada and 1-1 with Costa Rica before getting their first win, a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Jamaica has five points, the same number as El Salvador. They are also a point behind Costa Rica and three behind Panama that a currently fourth in the standings.

Mexico, the USA and Canada are the top three teams and are in the automatic qualifying positions for the World Cup.

 

The Jamaica Olympic Association will be offering international courses in coaching development, adaptive sports and sports governance starting in January 2022. The courses will be done in conjunction with the United States Sports Academy.

Former Jamaica and West Indies spinner, Nikita Miller is to open his cricket academy later this month.

Following her exploits at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August, Jamaica’s 4x400m bronze medallist Candice McLeod has signed a deal with Sunshine Snacks.

Under the sponsorship agreement, Sunshine Snacks will support McLeod with funds to offset her training expenses along with a healthy supply of Sun Mix fruits and nuts as she prepares for the World Championships in Oregon next summer.

The 24-year-old McLeod, a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies, ran a personal best of 49.51s to make the final of the Women’s 400m. She finished fifth.  She was also a member of the mile-relay quartet that won the bronze medal.

McLeod expressed her gratitude to Sunshine Snacks for the support.

“This motivates me a lot as I  gear up for my 2022 season,” she said.

“It is an honour to have Sunshine Snacks on board as I have always enjoyed Sun Mix and even took some along with me to Tokyo. For the upcoming season, look out for a ray of sunshine every time I’m on the track!”

McLeod was also presented with a commemorative plaque in recognition of her exploits in Tokyo and she will enjoy a spa day at Excellence Oyster Bay courtesy of Sunshine Snacks.

“We’re extremely proud of our athletes’ achievements in Tokyo, and we wanted to pledge our support in a meaningful way,” said Shantell Hill-Afonso, Brand Manager for Sunshine Snacks.

“Candice was the perfect choice as we’ve seen videos of her consuming Sun Mix. We are happy to help on her journey as she prepares for Oregon. Apart from our financial pledge, she will also have our delicious Sun Mix snacks in her gym bag.”

When Joel Ricketts places his foot on his board in Cali, Colombia at the Junior Pan American Games later this year, he will have created history as the first Jamaican to compete in skateboarding in international competition but it will be only his first steps to representing the black, green and gold at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Since its entry into the Olympic Games in London in 1948, Jamaica has been represented at the Games in athletics, cycling, swimming, diving, gymnastics, judo, taekwondo and boxing. If Jamaica gets there, skateboarding would be the latest addition to the growing list of skills that the land of wood and water have paraded on the largest of sports’ global stages.

The gravity of such an accomplishment is not lost on the 16-year-old Ricketts.

"I'm glad that I could be given this opportunity to represent my country doing what I love. I would also like to thank the JOA and the SJL for giving me the said opportunity," he said.

Joel is an honour-roll student at Wolmer’s Boys School. The first of two children for project manager Joel Ricketts and his wife Loretta, a school teacher, Joel ran track, played football and basketball growing up but it was skateboarding that lit the cauldron of passion within him.

“Standing out vividly in my mind was the day I got a skateboard,” he said. “It was the most joyous day of my life. My passion for this particular sport led to my connection with Jamaica Skateboarding Federation and the Olympic body, Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd.

“This yearning of passion and exposure through the association has helped me to be a better team player and a more confident and disciplined individual. I am motivated and driven to excel in this sport and in other areas of my life. With the new-found self-determination and discipline gained as a result of skateboarding, this has allowed me to improve and own the skill and enjoyment of skateboarding.”

His declaration sounds like music to the ears of the Skateboarding Jamaica Limited (SJL) President Ryan Foster, who is also the Secretary-General and CEO of the Jamaica Olympic Association.

“The Junior Pan Am Games in Colombia will be historic for Skateboarding Jamaica Ltd as it will represent the first time that Jamaica will be represented in skateboarding in an international tournament,” Foster said.

“As the president, I am extremely elated that our athlete will be allowed to showcase his talent and this will be used as a stepping stone to many great things to come. Tournaments such as these are seen by the Skateboarding Jamaica Board as the beginning to the pathway to qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games.”

Joel is currently in California for a training camp courtesy of the JOA and SJL to get much-needed practice with some of the best young skateboarders in the world that Foster believes will help lay the foundation for a successful campaign towards Paris in 2024.

 “We have a core of skateboarders currently, which will form part of our Olympic squad and the board of SJL will be working with our strategic stakeholders to ensure that Jamaica will have representation in 2024 Olympics," the president said.

Meanwhile, Joel revealed that he is learning a lot in California.

“I am learning a lot, really, but what I am really working on is breaking the lines together and getting over the fear factor of skateboarding, which is falling but the basics are down so what we are working on is putting the basics together and formatting them into my trick system,” he said.

Creating history for Jamaica in the sport, he said, is both terrifying and satisfying.

“It’s a bit nerve-racking but I am also excited. I got this opportunity to do what I love, there is nothing better than that so I am just going to do the best I can,” he said.”

“To make the Olympics in skateboarding would be amazing. It is one of my goals.”

To get there, Joel has to successfully navigate a pathway filled with challenges that come in the form of qualifying tournaments across the globe. The equation is simple; do well and Paris awaits.

“You have the Street League, which is a skateboarding contest, which has aligned with World Skate and they organize contests in different parts of the world – France, Japan, Brazil and Italy sometimes. That’s where most of the points are earned and then there are other meets like the OISTU Open in Brazil,” Joel said.

His focus after the Junior Pan Am Games is getting better.

“More contests, more practice, getting better and getting over that fear and it would mean a lot to me,” he said.

“I go by the rule, ‘If it has been done it is achievable and there is always room for growth. The best is yet to come.”

The journey has begun.

Jamaica international Andre Gray has called for English League clubs to show more respect to teams from Africa and the Caribbean, as it relates to players taking part in international competitions.

According to the forward, currently on-loan at Queens Park Rangers from Watford, players that are called up for countries from the CONCACAF and Confederation of African Football (CAF) often faced increased pressure as clubs regard the decision in a negative light.

By contrast, players being called up for the England team is viewed as a positive and attracts much less scrutiny.  In truth clubs and countries have often found themselves locked in conflict regarding the use of top international players during international windows. 

Most recently things came to a head when English League clubs attempted to block, and in some instances prevented players from travelling to Africa, South America, and the Caribbean due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures that were put in place.  In retaliation, the countries affected threatened to use their power under FIFA regulations to ban players for one league match.  

“If England call there is going to be no arguments.  The minute you get called up for Nigeria or Jamaica it’s an inconvenience and a risk to the club,” Gray said in an interview with The Athletic.

“It’s just a stereotype around it.  It is the same with AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), which is scheduled to start in January.  That has more respect around it now because of people like Mo Salah,” he added.

 

 

Reggae Boyz captain Andre Blake has been nominated by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) for their Best Goalkeeper Award, the winner of which will be announced later this month.

Blake, 30, who has had 13 clean sheets for the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer so far this season and has kept admirably for Jamaica in the ongoing CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, is vying for the award alongside the likes of Liverpool’s Brazilian stopper Alisson Becker, Germany’s Manuel Neuer and England’s Jordan Pickford.

Blake is a two-time MLS Golden Glove winner, the last coming in 2020 when he won the award during the MLS is Back season. He also won the Golden Glove Award at the 2017 Gold Cup tournament when Jamaica advanced to the finals for the first time.

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