KANSAS CITY, Kansas:
JAMAICA FOOTBALL FEDERATION (JFF) President Captain Horace Burrell says he has called on the hierarchy of the sport in the United States to maintain a role as a major player in the development of the game in CONCACAF.
"The US Soccer Federation invited me to address their board of directors this morning in Kansas City. It was a meeting of their full board, and as a mark of respect, in my capacity as vice-president of CONCACAF and president of the Jamaica Football Federation, they invited me down as the main guest," Burrell said yesterday.
"During the address, I told them that it was very important for the United States to continue to play the role that they are playing. They're one of the big players in the regional football market."
The United States is home to the biggest regional professional football competition, Major League Soccer, which employs some of the best players from all the countries in CONCACAF.
"The football market in Europe is somewhat saturated, with thousands of players out of a job and with the USA having the Major League, it is certainly another source for other players. Many are not only finding it very attractive, but earn a livelihood for themselves and their families, so it's a win-win situation."
Burrell noted that during the meeting, Dab Garber, Commissioner of MLS, noted that 15 Jamaicans are contracted to clubs in the league and "... thanked Jamaica for providing these players, who are also enhancing their league".
A number of these players are members of Jamaica's senior men's national football team and the JFF boss says their participation in the North American league is positive.
"I think that Jamaicans being able to play professional football in the USA is bound to positively affect the development of our football because when these players are exposed at that level, it gives them experience and exposure," he said.
Apart from the football aspect, Burrell noted Jamaica's role in the appointment of USSF president, Sunil Gulati, to FIFA's executive committee.
He said: "It was Jamaica's vote that helped to propel Mr Gulati to his position as executive committee of FIFA and they expressed their thanks to me and Jamaica for this support. It is my view that it is significant that the USA, being a major player in CONCACAF, in this part of the hemisphere, have a seat in the corridors of the power of football.