Jamaica Men’s National Senior Team head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson today announced seven teenagers—five attached to England Premier League clubs—in his 25-man squad to face Trinidad and Tobago in friendly internationals on 11 and 14 March.
The pick of the bunch is highly touted Chelsea FC attacking midfielder Omari Hutchinson, who represented England at Under-17 and Under-19 level but, remarkably, opted to switch allegiance to Jamaica last year.
The 19-year-old was an unused substitute for Arsenal five times last season before he moved to Chelsea, where he made his England Premier League debut in a 1-0 loss away to Manchester City.
A flood of new signings under Chelsea manager Graham Potter appears to have closed the door to the first team and Hutchinson plays exclusively with the London club’s Under-21 squad.
However, Hallgrimsson will give him a chance to stake a claim to the Jamaica senior team against the Soca Warriors.
At present, Jamaica are preparing to face Mexico in a crucial Concacaf Nations League A fixture at the Estadio Azteca on 26 March. The Reggae Boyz need a historic win to become the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Nations League semifinal round.
Hallgrimsson, who is making his home debut after steering Jamaica to 1-1 draw with Cameroon and 3-0 loss to Argentina on the road, also selected Tottenham U-21 midfielder Dane Cassonova, Fulham U-21 midfielder Delajo McCoy-Splatt, and the Wolves pair of right back Dexter Lembikisa and forward Tyler Roberts.
Roberts and Lembikisa represented Jamaica in the 2022 Concacaf Under-20 Championship.
Hallgrimsson also made room in his squad for 17-year-old Jamaican schoolboy standout Dujuan “Whisper” Richards, a six foot four forward who recently trialled for the Newcastle United Under-21 team.
Uncapped 18-year-old Arnett Gardens goalkeeper Asher Hutchinson is the seventh teenager in the current squad.
It is not bad for a ‘B’ team, as Jamaica can still call on the likes of Aston Villa flanker Leon Bailey, West Ham United forward Michail Antonio and Spartak Moscow attacker Shamar Nicholson when the Fifa international match window swings open—later this month.
Soca Warriors head coach Angus Eve says he hopes to be “competitive” against Jamaica but is focused on getting wins over The Bahamas and Nicaragua in Nations League B action on 24 and 27 March respectively.
Eve travelled to Jamaica with former MLS utility player Joevin Jones as his most high profile player, while goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and midfielder Noah Powder are regulars in his first team.
El Salvador-based playmaker Jomal Williams will also be anxious to impress after a four-year hiatus from the National Senior Team.
Williams’ last cap came in a 4-0 loss to Honduras on 17 November 2019, which sealed Trinidad and Tobago’s demotion to the second tier of Concacaf. It was Dennis Lawrence’s last game as head coach.
Eve selected two teenagers in his squad, as W Connection attacker Nathaniel James and Sporting Kansas City triallist Kailé Auvray in his 24-man squad.
Terminix La Horquetta Rangers flanker Real Gill is on a tour with his club and was not available to join the Warriors
Goalkeepers: Jahmali Waite (Pittsburgh Riverhounds—USA), Kemar Foster (Waterhouse), Asher Hutchinson (Arnett Gardens),
Defenders: Dexter Lembikisa (Wolves—England), Oshana Staple (Harbour View), Adrian Mariappa (unattached), Ricardo Thomas (Dunbeholden), Richard King (Cavalier), Jamoi Topey, Alwayne Harvey (both Mount Pleasant), Fitzroy Cummings (Vere United),
Midfielders: Dane Cassanova (Tottenham—England), Delajo McCoy-Splatt (Fulham—England), Ravel Morrison (DC United—USA), Lamar Walker (Portmore United), Demario Phillips (Mount Pleasant), Jahshaun Anglin (Harbour View),
Attackers: Dujuan Richards (unattached), Omari Hutchinson (Chelsea—England), Jourdaine Fletcher (Neroca—India), Tyler Roberts (Wolves—England), Collin Anderson, Dwayne Atkinson (both Cavalier), Trivante Stewart, Sue Lae McCalla (both Mount Pleasant)
(Trinidad and Tobago team)
Goalkeepers: Marvin Phillip (AC Port of Spain), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Denzil Smith (W Connection),
Defenders: Alvin Jones (unattached), Kareem Riley, Josiah Trimmingham (both Club Sando), Justin Garcia, Jelani Felix (both Defence Force), Jameel Neptune (AC Port of Spain), Andre Raymond (Dumiense FC—Portugal),
Midfielders: Matthew Woo Ling, Michel Poon-Angeron (both AC Port of Spain), Noah Powder, Jesse Williams (both unattached), Justin Sadoo (Defence Force),
Attackers: Jomal Williams (Once Deportivo—El Salvador), Joevin Jones (unattached), Kailé Auvray (Sporting Kansas City—US), Kadeem Corbin (Central FC), Reon Moore (Defence Force), John-Paul Rochford, Jomaul Francois (both AC Port of Spain), Nathaniel James (W Connection), Kwesi Weston (Louisiana Krewe FC—US).