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Boyz Depart For USA Friendly

Published:Monday | January 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMMarc Stamp
Reggae Boyz team manager Roy Simpson

Jamaica's senior men's football team will start preparations for its 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, when it faces the United States of America (USA) in a friendly international on Friday at the Finley Stadium in Tennessee at 7:30p.m. (Jamaica time).

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) released a 20-man squad last weekend following three weeks of training camps with local-based players.

Ewan Grandison of Portmore United, Michael Binns (Portmore), Kevon Lambert (Montego Bay United (MBU)), Dwayne Ambusley (MBU), Jourdaine Fletcher (MBU), Shamar Nicholson (Boys' Town), Owayne Gordon (MBU), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View) and Ladale Ritchie (MBU) are the local players who leave the island today.

They will be joined by Romario Williams (Atlanta United FC), Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steele FC), Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake), Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution), Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Sergio Campbell (Unattached), Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Oneil Fisher (Seattle Sounders), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union), Ryan Thompson (Saint Louis FC) and Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers), all based in the USA.

After playing the Americans, Jamaica will turn its attention to Honduras in another friendly in the United States on February 16.

Reggae Boyz manager Roy Simpson says the majority of the players selected are for the future.

"The composition of the squad is the players who have the life to take us to the 2022 World Cup," Simpson told The Gleaner.

"Although you might see a few ageing players, the majority are young talent," he added.

With regards to the overseas players, Simpson said that it is not a FIFA date, so the players selected are those available.

"Based on the goodwill of the clubs, we have some professional players in the team. They will get to Tennessee tomorrow," Simpson said.

Striker Jourdaine Fletcher is heavily tipped for a first cap in the senior team. He gained selection after scoring 34 goals in all competitions as a schoolboy playing for daCosta Cup champions Cornwall College last season.

Fletcher was the leading scorer for Faulkland in the 2016 Western League. He transferred to reigning Red Stripe Premier League champions Montego Bay United and scored on his league debut against Waterhouse this month.

The game will be the first time the teams meet in a friendly since their 1-1 draw in 2006. Further, this is the first time both are meeting since the semi-finals of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Jamaica beat the United States for the first time on US soil.

The US will be using the match to prepare for its upcoming 2018 World Cup Qualifiers against Honduras and Panama, respectively.

Jamaica, on the other hand, will be using this game to prepare for the defence of its Caribbean Cup title and also this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.