Reggae Boyz defenders Michael Hector and Dexter Lembikisa were both selected to the Nations League Finals Best XI by Concacaf on Wednesday.

Hector was a big reason why Jamaica were seconds away from defeating the U.S. in the semifinals. The center back was immense for the Reggae Boyz and amassed seven clearances in the two games, to go along with a steal and an assist.

Lembikisa picked the right time to score his first goal with Jamaica with a powerful left-footed finish in the 1-0 Third-Place win versus Panama. He also had seven clearances.

The full team is as follows: GK Matt Turner (USA), Defenders: Antonee Robinson (USA), Michael Hector (Jamaica), Cesar Montes (Mexico), Dexter Lembikisa (Jamaica), Midfielders: Edson Alvarez (Mexico), Tyler Adams (USA), Weston McKinnie (USA), Forwards: Gio Reyna (USA), Christian Pulisic (USA), Haji Wright (USA).

Reigning Jamaica Premier League (JPL) champions Mount Pleasant Academy and English Football League One representatives Charlton Athletic have engaged a partnership with the long-term aim to further improve the quantity of elite players graduating from the club’s esteemed academy.

Mount Pleasant Academy (MPA) is a charitable organization offering talented children from throughout the Caribbean fully-funded boarding school scholarships.  The club has also provided two members of the current Reggae Boyz squad, as have the Addicks, in Michael Hector and Karoy Anderson.

The 'Mountain to Valley Partnership’ will provide a clear pathway for young, talented Caribbean footballers to play professionally in London, and will also allow Mount Pleasant to benefit from the knowledge, experience and expertise of Charlton's academy.

Non-Executive Director Paul Elliott CBE MBE, a Charlton academy graduate, who himself has Jamaican roots said the partnership is a strategic one that will prove beneficial to both parties.

“This long-term, strategic partnership will allow Charlton to dramatically increase the talent pool our brilliant academy is able to draw from. A lot of Charlton’s most successful homegrown players of the last 50 years have been of Jamaican origin - including many in the current team - so there is also a really good cultural fit,” Elliott said.

Mount Pleasant’s owner Peter Gould echoed similar sentiments.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a symbol of the solid partnership and mutual commitment to the development of football talent in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. This will help move regional football forward as young athletes will get an opportunity to hone their skills and develop their talents outside of the region,” Gould noted.

As Mount Pleasant continues to showcase its unique blend of Football and Academics, Sporting Director Paul Christie pointed out that the academy is already fortunate enough to attract many of the very best young players from throughout the Caribbean.

“Our belief is that this partnership with such a renowned London club will make us even more of an attractive proposition for talent. Charlton and Mount Pleasant have long-standing connections at many levels, from our respective ownerships to directors to coaching staff, so we are going to be building on firm foundations,” Christie reasoned.

Charlton’s academy was ranked eighth in England as of 2022 and long-standing Academy Director Steve Avory pointed to quality recruitment as key to a successful academy.

“Our recruitment of talented players in the immediate Charlton catchment area has been a key factor in our success and youth development over so many years. It all starts with talent ID,” Avory said.

“The Mount Pleasant partnership is an interesting, potentially fruitful, link outside of our south and east London focus and I know Bert Dawkins [Academy Recruitment Manager], who has been over to Jamaica to visit Mount Pleasant, is very positive about the possibilities with player recruitment from an emergent CONCACAF academy programme.,” he added.

As part of the various commitments underpinning the partnership, Charlton’s young players will take part in an annual youth tournament at Mount Pleasant’s campus, while the Addicks will host Mount Pleasant’s senior side in an annual pre-season charity match at The Valley.

The Charlton Athletic pair Karoy Anderson and Michael Hector have both been included in the Reggae Boyz squad for their upcoming CONCACAF Nations League away fixtures against Grenada and Haiti set for October 12 and 15, respectively.

The squad was announced during a press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) headquarters on Friday.

Anderson, a 19-year-old London-born midfielder, got his first call-up while Hector, 31, has earned 35 caps for the Reggae Boyz with his last appearance coming in 2021.

Midfielder Kasey Palmer and defender Amari’i Bell are both missing from the last squad due to injuries while Dujuan Richards, Ethan Pinnock and Coniah Boyce-Clarke also miss out.

Jamaica’s last game against Grenada was a 5-1 Friendly win in 2018. Their last tussle with Haiti saw them erase a 0-2 deficit to pull out a 2-2 draw at the National Stadium last month.

The Reggae Boyz are currently at the top of Group B of League A of the Nations League with four points. The top two teams from that group will advance to the quarterfinals and this will mean the teams are one step closer to qualifying for the Copa America.

Finishing at the top of the group would put the Reggae Boyz up against either Canada or Costa Rica in the quarterfinals in November while finishing second will mean a tie against the USA or Mexico.

The full squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Andre Blake, Kemar Foster, Jahmali Waite

Defenders: Javain Brown, Tayvon Gray, Di’Shon Bernard, Michael Hector, Greg Leigh, Adrian Mariappa, Damion Lowe, Dexter Lembikisa

Midfielders: Bobby Decordova Reid, Daniel Johnson, Joel Latibeaudiere, Kevon Lambert, Karoy Anderson, Demario Phillips

Forwards: Michail Antonio, Leon Bailey, Demarai Gray, Shamar Nicholson, Romario Williams, Renaldo Cephas

Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio will not be available for the Reggae Boyz matches against Japan and Serbia that have been scheduled for June as Jamaica’s senior squad continues its preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers in September.

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