Gordon calls for college players
The interim head coach of the Reggae Boyz, Merron Gordon, wants players participating in the United States of America's collegiate football system getting more opportunities to represent Jamaica at the international level.
According to Gordon, who has been appointed as head coach for the Austria Mini Tournament from August 20-26, players doing well in the college system should be among those who are invited to the national squad, and he called for this approach to the selection of the Reggae Boyz squad.
"This is something we need to do in the future when the players do well here (locally) and go to colleges in the US," Gordon said.
In a rare case, the JFF recently named Memphis University's Maliek Howell for the Austria Mini Tournament, and Gordon thinks the right-back has been doing extremely well and deserves to be included, which can foster more collegiate players also getting the opportunity.
"Maliek is going to college, not just for education but also to move over to the professional leagues. Players like Maliek with special talent, we have to keep nurturing them, especially those (college players) who want a professional career out of football.
"Maliek is a top talent, a lot of clubs are eyeing him, so it's also a good opportunity to showcase himself. We don't have a lot of right-back in and around the Jamaica team, so we need some more players at right-back," Gordon said.
He noted that the Reggae Girlz traditionally look to the USA's college system to recruit players, which is rarely done by the Reggae Boyz. He said this makes it difficult for Jamaican men in the USA's College system, which oftentimes lead to them not being called to the national team for up to four years.
Gordon, however, argues that this hampers the development of these players, with many being former youth representatives.
"The Reggae Girlz always continue with them but with the Reggae Boyz, a lot of times we do not see these players again," he said.
Meanwhile, Gordon added that the Austria Mini Tournament is also an opportunity for some overseas-born players who have been showing interest to represent Jamaica, like Exeter City's 27-year-old midfielder, Jevani Brown.
"We have watched tapes of them and they are doing well. It is a good opportunity to showcase themselves. He (Brown) is one such player and we need to continue, bringing youngsters through. It's a good opportunity to really make a mark for themselves," he stated.