The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team opens the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship against Jamaica on Sunday, April 23 at Estadio Maracaná de Panama in Panama City, Panama. The game can be seen live at 1:30 p.m. ET on the official CONCACAF Facebook page.
Here’s what you should know about Sunday’s opponents:
What’s in a (nick)name?
Jamaica has one of the most interesting nicknames in world soccer, with the country’s national teams referred to as the Reggae Boyz in recognition of the popular genre of music that originated on the island in the 1960s.
How they got here
Jamaica makes their 13th appearance in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship after finishing third in the 2016 Caribbean Football Union Men’s U-17 Tournament. The Reggae Boyz produced Group Stage wins against Guyana (4-1), Antigua and Barbuda (3-1) and U.S. Virgin Island to advance to the Final Round. There they defeated Bermuda 6-2, drew 0-0 with Haiti and bested Trinidad & Tobago 3-2 to advance to qualify for the tournament and advance to the Semifinals. There, they fell 1-0 to Cuba, before rebounding with a 3-0 victory against Curaçao in the Third-Place Match.
CONCACAF U-17 Championship History
In the 17 CONCACAF tournaments from 1983 to 2015, the Reggae Boyz have taken part in 12 and qualified twice in 1999 and 2011.
- READ MORE: Five Things to Know About the 2017 CONCACAF U-17 Championship
- READ MORE: The U-17 MNT's History in World Cup Qualifying
In 1999, Jamaica hosted and finished atop Group A, collecting wins against Honduras and Costa Rica before tying the USA to secure their top spot and qualify for the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand.
In 2011, Jamaica drew with Trinidad & Tobago and defeated Guatemala to advance to the Knockout Round where they defeated Honduras 2-1 to book their place at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico.
The two organizations with the largest representation of players on the Jamaican roster are Clarendon College and Kingston College (2 each). These four players, along with 11 other players, are all based out of Jamaica. Four players are based in the USA and one player joins the side unattached to any school or club.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Tajay Griffi (Wolmers Boys/JAM); Daniel Russel (Manchester High/JAM)
DEFENDERS (9): Calwayne Alle (St James High/JAM); Kendall Edward (Atlanta United FC/USA); Kimani Gibbon (St Jago High/JAM); Akeem Mullin (Vauxhall High Sch./JAM); Damani Ose (Cosby High/USA); Casseam Priest (Kingston College/JAM); Shane Ricket (Little London High/JAM); Richard Thomps (Herbert Technical/JAM); Jamoi Tope (Camperdown High/JAM)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Coby Atkins (American Heritage/USA); Renato Campbe (Kingston College/JAM); Jermaine Lyon (Denham Town High/JAM); Kaheem Parris (Dinthill Technical/JAM); Jeremy Verley (Milton Academy/USA); Blake White (Unattached)
FORWARDS (3): Nicque Dale (Clarendon College/JAM); Ricardo McInto (Clarendon College/JAM); Raewin Senior (Excelsior High/JAM)
Playing in the USA
Defenders Damani Ose and Kendall Edward, and midfielders Coby Atkins and Jeremy Verley all currently play soccer in the United States. Verley gained notoriety in July of 2016 when the midfielder left Jamaican club Harbour View F.C. after receiving a scholarship to attend Milton Academy in Boston, Mass., for his three remaining years of high school.
Edward is also a notable Reggae Boy playing in the USA as the defender currently plays in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for Atlanta United’s U-15/16 side.