Copa America 2015 Team Guide: Jamaica
With the 2015 Copa America in Chile rapidly approaching, we have been building up to the tournament by looking at each of the competing nations and assessing their key individuals and looking back at their respective records in the tournament.
This time around, we’re looking at the second invited nation from the CONCACAF region, Jamaica, who are set to take part in the Copa America for the first time in their history.
Jamaica have named a mix of a squad, with some vastly experienced internationals called up alongside 12 players who each have under 10 caps. The vast majority ply their trade at club level in England, the United States and Canada, with three home-based players also included.
MLSsoccer.com lists the final 23 selected by manager Winfried Schafer:
Goalkeepers: Ryan Thompson (Pittsburgh Riverhounds), Duwayne Kerr (Sarpsborg 08) and Dwayne Miller (Syrianska).
Defenders: Wes Morgan (Leicester City), Jermaine Taylor (Houston Dynamo), Michael Hector (Reading), Daniel Gordon (Karlsruher), Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace), Hughan Gray (Waterhouse FC) and Kemar Lawrence (NY Red Bulls).
Forwards: Allan Ottey (Mobay United), Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver), Simon Dawkins (Derby County), Deshorn Brown (Valerenga), Romeo Parkes (Isidro Metapan) and Dino Williams (Mobay United).
“Winfried Schafer took over midway through Jamaica’s 2014 World Cup Hex campaign as Theodore Whitmore’s successor. He presided over the country’s sixth Caribbean Cup title in November last year and his reputation could be significantly enhanced following success at this summer’s events.”
Since that Caribbean Cup triumph, Schafer has also led Jamaica to successive wins over Venezuela and Cuba to prepare for the South American styles and teams they will face at the Copa America. Their last defeat came against Japan in October 2014.
The player on whom Jamaica will rely as they attempt to navigate a difficult group is holding midfielder Rodolph Austin.
“Captain of this Jamaican team, Austin is the heartbeat of the Reggae Boyz’s midfield with his tenacious tackling and boundless energy," says Carr. "Schafer is also likely to select Austin for Jamaica’s CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, which kicks off three days after the Copa finishes, underlining his importance.
He’s currently without a club, having recently been released by Leeds United, so there’s plenty of incentive for him to impress at the Copa with the football world watching.”
Austin is the second-highest-capped player in the squad and will be charged with stopping the likes of Nicolas Lodeiro and Lionel Messi from working their magic in front of the Jamaica defence.
One to Watch
With a nine players in the squad aged 24 or under, Jamaica have a decent crop of potential future stars to choose from who could form the bedrock of the team for tournaments to come. Carr has selected New York Red Bulls left-back Kemar Lawrence as his potential standout for Jamaica at the Copa.
“The 22-year-old is still relatively unknown in a global football context," said Carr. "Nicknamed Taxi, Lawrence signed for the Red Bulls in March this year after making over 60 appearances for Harbour View in his homeland."
Carr continues: “He possesses great speed, so he is able to track back and help out his central defenders, as well as contribute in an attacking sense, surging forward and producing crosses. He’s been one of the Red Bulls’ star performers so far this season, and although his name is now more familiar to U.S. football fans, the Copa will give him the opportunity to raise his profile even more.”
As a CONCACAF nation, Jamaica do not typically appear in the CONMEBOL Copa America tournament.
For 2015, however, they are one of the two invited nations—along with Mexico—from North and Central America and will contest their first Copa America. Jamaica will further take part in the 2016 Centennial Copa America.
13 June, 4 p.m. (CLT), Estadio Regional de Antofagasta, Antofagasta
Uruguay vs. Jamaica
16 June, 6 p.m. (CLT), Estadio Regional de Antofagasta, Antofagasta
Paraguay vs. Jamaica
20 June, 6:30 p.m. (CLT), Estadio Sausalito, Vina del Mar
Argentina vs. Jamaica