Five Things to Know About Jamaica

The seven-time confederation champion U.S. Men’s National Team opens up the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup against Jamaica on Saturday, June 24 at Soldier Field in Chicago (10 p.m. ET; FS1, Univision); Hydrated by BioSteel
By: Michael Lewis

The USMNT has already lifted a trophy this summer, securing a second-straight Concacaf Nations League title by defeating Mexico 3-0 in the semifinal and Canada 2-0 in the final last week in Las Vegas.

Having also won the last edition of the Gold Cup, they will now go for its record-tying eighth confederation championship this month.

Here are five things to know about the USA’s first opponent, Jamaica:  


Jamaica became the first Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup, booking a spot at the 1998 competition in France. It also has won the Caribbean Cup six times, the last time in 2014.

Some of the Reggae Boyz' most memorable results have come in recent Gold Cups. They were runners-up in 2015 and 2017. They finished fourth in 2019 and reached the quarterfinals in 2021.

Jamaica stunned the USMNT 2-1 in the 2015 semifinals, 2-1, becoming the first Caribbean side to advance to the Gold Cup final before losing 3-1 to Mexico days later in Philadelphia. Two years later, the Reggae Boyz exacted a measure of revenge in the semifinals as defender Kemar Lawrence scored a spectacular free kick in the 88th minute to upend the defending champions, 1-0.

Jamaica dropped a 2-1 decision to the USA in the championship match, with Jordan Morris scoring a dramatic 88th minute winner for the USMNT.

They finished fourth in 2019, winning Group C, over Curacao, El Salvador and Honduras, before losing to the USA in the semifinals, 3-1.


If it's the Gold Cup, it probably means the USA and Jamaica will meet. The June 24 encounter will be the eighth meeting between the two sides and the fifth consecutive tournament they have tussled. The Americans have recorded a 6-1-0 mark. 

In the teams' first meeting during the group stage at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on July 10, 1993, Eric Wynalda scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win as goalkeeper Tony Meola recorded the clean sheet. Twelve years later on July 16, 2005, DaMarcus Beasley struck twice and added an assist in a 3-1 quarterfinal victory in Foxborough, Mass.

Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey scored second-half goals as the USA registered a 2-0 quarterfinal win in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2011.

The Reggae Boyz upset the defending champions 2-1 in the 2015 semifinals at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as two goals in a six-minute span from Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes lifted them to a 2-0 halftime lead. Michael Bradley pulled one back for the USA two minutes into the second frame, but the hosts couldn’t muster another, as the USMNT suffered just its second-ever defeat to Jamaica.

In the 2017 final on July 27 in Santa Clara, Calif., the USMNT grabbed a 1-0 lead on Jozy Altidore's 45th-minute goal before Je-Vaughn Watson equalized five minutes into the second half. That left it up to Jordan Morris to score a dramatic game-winner in the 88th minute for a 2-1 U.S. triumph.

In 2019, Christian Pulisic tallied twice in the second half after Weston McKennie scored an early goal to power the USA to a 3-1 quarterfinal victory in Nashville, Tenn. on July 3, 2019.

Matthew Hoppe scored his first international goal on a header in the 83rd minute to lift the Americans to a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals in Arlington, Texas on July 25, 2021.


Jamaica enters the match without a victory in its first five games of the year and is winless in its last 10 matches (0-5-5), dating back more than a year.

The Reggae Boyz lost at Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0, on March 11 before playing to a home scoreless draw against the same opponents three days later.

They recorded a 2-2 draw at Mexico in their final Concacaf Nations League match on March 26. Twice the Reggae Boyz enjoyed leads, on Bobby Decordova-Reid's eighth-minute goal and an own goal in the 33rd minute.

In the first of two Gold Cup tune-ups in Wiener Neustadt, Austria on June 15, Jamaica dropped a 2-1 decision to Qatar. Shamar Nicholson's 61st-minute goal cut the lead in half in the 61st minute. On June 19, the Reggae Boyz lost to Jordan by the same score. Cory Burke gave the Caribbean side a 39th-minute advantage before Jordan rallied in the second half.


Heimir Hallgrimsson, who directed Iceland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, replaced Paul Hall as head coach on Sept. 22, 2022.

A former defender with several Icelandic clubs, the 56-year-old Hallgrímsson enjoyed a rather unorthodox start to his coaching career in 1993. While he was still playing with Höttur in his native country he guided the club's women's team to the championship of the second division while earning promotion to the top flight.

He was working as a dentist when he took the helm of IBV in 1999, coaching the team to the top of Iceland's women's premier league. He alternated between the club's men's and women's team before he became an assistant on the Iceland men's national team staff from 2011-13 before becoming co-coach of the squad along with Lars Lagerback from 2013-16. Hallgrimsson took over the sole reins of the side in 2016, guiding Iceland to its first FIFA World Cup.

Hallgrimsson coached Al-Arabi in Qatar from 2018-21.


The 23-man roster chosen by head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has an English and Major League Soccer flavor to it as no players were selected from Jamaican domestic leagues.

A dozen players perform either in the English Premier League or the lower tiers of the English Football League, while five compete in MLS. A 13th player, Dujuan Richards, a promising 17-year-old forward out of the Phoenix All-Star Academy in Jamaica, signed a pre-contract deal with Chelsea in March. He is expected to join the EPL side after his 18th birthday on Oct. 11.

Goalkeeper and team captain Andre Blake, regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in Concacaf, and defender Damion Lowe play for the Philadelphia Union. Minnesota United defender Kemar Lawrence, whose 75 caps are the most on the team, Vancouver Whitecaps defender Javain Brown and New York Red Bulls forward Cory Burke fill out the MLS contingent.

Forward Shamar Nicholson, who performs for Spartak Moscow (Russia), is the leading goal-scorer with 10, followed by Burke, with seven. The rest of the squad has combined for 17 international goals. 

Defender Adrian Mariappa, who performs for Salford City (League Two), is the oldest player (36), and has represented Jamaica 68 times.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union/USA; 64/0), Coniah Boyce-Clarke (Reading/ENG; 0/0), Jahmali Waite (Pittsburgh Riverhounds/USA; 3/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Dexter Lembikisa (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG; 3/0), Amari'i Bell (Luton Town/ENG; 9/0), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford/ENG; 6/0), Di'Shon Bernard (Portsmouth/ENG; 0/0), Damion Lowe (Philadelphia Union/USA; 52/2), Adrian Mariappa (Salford City/ENG; 68/1), Kemar Lawrence (Minnesota United/USA; 75/3), Javian Brown (Vancouver Whitecaps/CAN; 20/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Kevon Lambert (Phoenix Rising/USA; 19/0), Daniel Johnson (Preston North End; 11/2), Bobby Decordova-Reid (Fulham/ENG; 18/3), Joel Latibeaudiere (Swansea City; 0/0), Kaheem Parris (Dynamo Kyiv; UKR; 7/0), Jon Russell (Barnsley/ENG; 1/0)

FORWARDS (6): Leon Bailey (Aston Villa/ENG; 19/3), Cory Burke (New York Red Bulls/USA; 28/7), Shamar Nicholson (Spartak Moscow/RUS; 33/10), Demarai Gray (Everton/ENG; 0/0), Dujuan Richards (Chelsea; 2/0), Michail Antonio (West Ham United/ENG; 6/3)