Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Thompson foresees ‘bright future’ for Reggae Boyz

Published:Sunday | August 2, 2015 | 8:00 AM
File Joel McAnuff (left) and goalkeeper Ryan Thompson console defender Michael Hector after last Sunday night's CONCACAF Gold Cup final. Mexico defeated Jamaica 3-1.

RYAN THOMPSON foresees a 'bright future' for the Reggae Boyz following recent performances at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The Jamaicans made history by becoming the first Caribbean team to play in the final and registered another landmark on their way there, when they defeated the United States in the semi-final. Prior to the 2-1 win at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, no Jamaican football team had ever beaten the United States in America.

In the final, the team lost 3-1 against Mexico. However, Thompson focused on the positives.

"It's just a building process for the future. It's very bright for Jamaica's football," he said.

On the way to the final, the Boyz won their group with seven of maximum nine points, then beat Haiti 1-0 in the quarter-final before advancing to the US game, then the final.

After that defeat, their only one at the tournament, he said: "We're happy with our performance and that's all we can ask for. Everyone went out there, played to the best of their abilities. Everyone went out there and pretty much wore their hearts on their sleeves out there. We could not have asked for anything more than that."

The tournament itself represented a breakthrough for Thompson, who made the most of half a chance. The 30-year-old goalkeeper grasped the number-one position after starting out as third string.

The former Ardenne High School Manning Cup representative got his chance in Jamaica's last group game against El Salvador in Canada, when Dwayne Miller got injured early and his back-up, AndrÈ Blake, was short on match practice.

"It started from last year when I got invited to camp, and ever since, Sch‰fer (Winfried) rang me, I'm there. I made certain that I'm going to be a face that he never forgets. I work hard every single day, I compete every single day. I haven't missed a camp. I haven't missed a single trip ever since coach Sch‰fer invited me and I'm thankful for that," Thompson remarked.

"He saw something in me as a player and I know I have a lot to give to the team and I want to build on these things going forward. Hopefully, Jamaica, and not just Jamaica, but the world, will recognise that we have quality players out there and give us the respect that we truly deserve.

"I'm just happy with my performance and what I was able to do for my country. Every game, I went out there I gave of my best. I wore my heart on my sleeve out there," he continued.

The goalie made a blunder that caused the goal in the US match and central defender Michael Hector made two that led to goals in the final. However, Thompson said the team's reaction to such situations reflects a spirit among the group that fosters growth.

"It's amazing. Everybody's going to make mistakes. This is the beauty about this team, we don't single out anybody, when one person makes a mistake, everybody makes a mistake, and it's just amazing to be a part of a group like this, nobody is going to single you out and this is just positive going forward. It's just pure positives going forward and again, I'm sure Jamaica's football is going to be very, very bright," Thompson emphasised.

"It's all a part of the game. You're gonna make mistakes and stuff happens," he added. "But I'm proud of my team. I'm proud of everybody. Nobody expected us to be here and we played in the final against Mexico, one of the best teams in the world."