Virtue tipped to replace Coley at JC
Jamaica College (JC) head coach Miguel Coley says he will respond to reports that he will leave the Manning Cup and Walker Cup champions at the end of the season after Saturday's Olivier Shield final, with Andre Virtue being mentioned in informed circles as a possible replacement.
Former head coach of the national senior men's football team, Winfried Schaefer, told The Gleaner a few weeks ago that Coley - his former assistant in the national programme, will join him in a similar role at Iranian side Esteghlal FC in the Persian Gulf Pro League.
Coley has largely remained tight-lipped about his future with the Dark Blues, but he yesterday promised to speak on the matter after this weekend's season-ending showdown with daCosta Cup champions Rusea's at the National Stadium at 5:00 p.m.
"I will talk about my future after the Olivier Shield game on Saturday. Schaefer, with his reputation, would not come out and say just anything off the top of his head," Coley admitted.
Coley has led an exceptional career at Jamaica College, winning 11 trophies since his appointment in 2013. This includes five straight Manning Cup titles, four consecutive Olivier Shield titles and one trophy each in the Flow Super Cup and the Walker Cup competitions.
Meanwhile, several well-placed sources have pointed to Virtue - a former JC captain and star midfielder, who is noted for developing footballing talent through his Ballaz International organisation, as a strong candidate for the likely soon-to-be-vacant JC head coaching position.
Virtue admitted to The Gleaner that he is aware that he's being linked to the job, but was quick to point out that he has not had any related conversation with the institution.
"I have been hearing it, people have been calling and congratulating (me), but I know nothing of that," Virtue told The Gleaner yesterday.
"I have not spoken to anybody about that. As an old boy, I have always been involved and given back to the team. It is not a no, but I have not had any conversation with JC," added Virtue, who is in charge of the Jamaica Football Federation Youth Committee.
JC's long-serving manager, Ian Forbes, also denied knowledge of Virtue being offered the job to coach JC next year.
"I have heard rumours, but right now, that is not official," Forbes stated.
Schaefer, who has always spoken highly of Coley, earlier confirmed that he is looking forward to working with him once more.
"He (Coley) is the best local coach in Jamaica," Schaefer had said. "We want to have the same success like Jamaica (at Esteghlal)."
Schaefer and Coley worked together in the national programme between July 2013 and September 2016 and in that time, guided the Reggae Boyz to their best run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, finishing runners up to Mexico in 2015. During that campaign, the team had a 2-1 win over hosts United States. This was the first Jamaican team to ever beat the USA on America soil.
In June, the German also told The Gleaner that he believed Coley has all the qualifications needed to replace Vin Blaine as the Jamaica Football Federation's technical director. However, that role has since been filled by former national Under-17 men's team head coach, Wendell Downswell.