Five Things to Know about Jamaica

The USMNT meets Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, March 21.

The U.S. Men’s National Team meets Jamaica in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Thursday, March 21 (7 p.m. ET, Paramount+ and Univision).

Fans also can follow the game via Facebook, Twitter @USMNT, Instagram @USMNT and the official U.S. Soccer App.

The Americans are vying for their third successive CNL title. This is Jamaica's first CNL semifinal appearance. The teams have played in a knockout-round match at AT&T Stadium before, as the USMNT defeated Jamaica, 1-0, in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals.

The winner will face Thursday’s victor of the Mexico-Panama semifinal at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, March 24.


The Jamaicans have forged a history as one of the top Caribbean sides. They became the first Caribbean team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup, booking a spot at the 1998 competition in France. Jamaica finished 22nd among 32 teams with a 1-2-0 record. It's lone World Cup victory came in a 2-1 win over Japan on Theodore Whitmore’s brace. The team has not reached the FIFA World Cup since.

Twice the Reggae Boyz finished as runners-up at the Concacaf Gold Cup (2015, 2017), losing to Mexico in the former, 3-1, and to the USA in the latter, 2-1. The Caribbean team also secured a third-place Gold Cup finish in 1993.

Jamaica also has won the CFU Championship/Caribbean Cup six times, the last time in 2014.


Since dropping a 2-1 friendly decision in Washington, D.C. on June 5, 2019, the USA has a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) vs. Jamaica.

The Americans hold a 19-3-10 advantage in a series that began during 1990 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The teams played a scoreless draw in Kingston, Jamaica on July 24, 1988. In the return leg in St. Louis on Aug. 14, the USA registered a 5-1 victory. Frank Klopas scored twice. Brian Bliss, Hugo Perez and Paul Krumpe added single tallies.

The USMNT's most memorable victory in the series came in a 2-1 triumph in Foxborough, Mass. on Oct. 7, 2001, which clinched a berth in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Joe Max-Moore scored twice, including an 81st-minute penalty kick.

The Jamaicans' best-known victory was a 2-1 upset of the defending champions in the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals. They tallied twice within a six-minute span, by Darren Mattocks (30th) and Giles Barnes (36th) in Atlanta on July 22. Michael Bradley scored for the U.S.

In a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Kingston on Sept. 7, 2012, the Reggae Boyz recorded a 2-1 win. Clint Dempsey scored 36 seconds into the match, but Jamaica rebounded behind goals by Rodolph Austin and Luton Shelton.

In the 2017 Gold Cup final that July 27 in Santa Clara, Calif., the USMNT grabbed a 1-0 lead on Jozy Altidore's goal before Je-Vaughn Watson equalized. Jordan Morris scored the winner in the 88th minute for a 2-1 triumph.

Matthew Hoppe scored his first international goal in the 83rd minute to boost the U.S. to a 1-0 quarterfinal triumph in the 2021 Gold Cup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on July 25.

The most recent encounter was a 1-1 group-stage draw at the 2023 Gold Cup in Chicago on June 24. Damion Lowe gave Jamaica the lead. Brandon Vazquez equalized in the 88th minute.


The Jamaicans dropped a 2-1 home decision to Canada in the first leg of the CNL quarterfinals at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica on Nov. 18, 2023. Jonathan David lifted the visitors into a 1-0 lead in first-half stoppage time. Shamar Nicholson equalized for Jamaica in the 56th minute, but Stephen Eustaquio tallied the game-winner in the 86th minute.

The Reggae Boyz showed great resilience in the second leg in Toronto on Nov. 21, pulling off a 3-2 victory, one of its biggest triumphs. After Alphonso Davies lifted the Canadians into a 25th minute lead, Nicholson scored in the 63rd and 66th minutes to give Jamaica the lead. But Canada's Ismael Kone tied it at 2-2 in the 69th. Bobby Decordova-Reid's 78th-minute penalty kick lifted the visitors to the win. That tied the series at 4-4, but Jamaica booked a semifinals spot because it had scored more away goals.

The Caribbean counterparts have played twice since, in two friendlies in Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica recorded a 1-0 win in San Fernando on March 1, as Kaheim Dixon scored in the 58th minute. Two days later, the two rivals played to a scoreless draw in Arima.


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 started 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 topflight.

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 in 2016, guiding Iceland to its first FIFA World Cup.

Hallgrimsson coached Al-Arabi in Qatar from 2018-21. Since taking over, he has guided the Reggae Boyz to a 7-6-7 record.


Manager Heimir Hallgrímsson selected a 23-man roster that boasts 11 players from the English Football Leagues. Most compete for Championship or League One clubs. Fulham midfielder Bobby Decordova-Reid (five goals in 24 league games) and West Ham United forward Michail Antonio (two goals in 17 matches) are the lone Premiership players. Decordova-Reid is a teammate of USMNT defenders Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson.

However, two of the squad's most dangerous goal-scorers - forwards Shamar Nicholson and Demarai Gray - won't be available for the semifinal due to suspensions. Hallgrímsson included them on the roster in case Jamaica reached the final.

Nicholson, who competes for Clermont (French Ligue 1), leads the squad with 16 goals in 44 appearances. Gray, who has five international goals in 10 matches, performs for Al-Ettifaq (Saudi Arabia).

The Jamaicans also will be without defender Ethan Pinnock, who suffered an ankle injury while performing for Brentford FC.

Five players should be familiar to American fans. They include four in Major League Soccer – the Philadelphia Union’s three-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake and defender Damion Lowe, New York City defender Tavyon Gray, and New York Red Bulls forward Cory Burke. Jahmali Waite tends goal for El Paso Locomotive FC (USL Championship).

Blake, the team captain, has a team-high 70 caps. Lowe has the most matches (58) of any field player. Burke is second behind Nicholson with seven goals in 31 games.

Two players compete in the Jamaican Premier League - keeper Shaquan Davis (Mount Pleasant) and forward Kaheim Dixon (Arnett Gardens).


GOALKEEPERS (3): Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union/USA; 70/0, Jahmali Waite (El Paso Locomotive FC/USA; 8/0; Shaquan Davis (Mount Pleasant; 1/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Damion Lowe (Philadelphia Union/USA; 58/3), Michael Hector (Charlton Athletic/ENG; 36/0), Richard King (IBV/ISL; 14/0), Dexter Lembikisa (Heart of Midlothian/SCO: 14/0); Greg Leigh (Oxford United/ENG; 12/0), Di'Shon Bernard (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG; 11/1), Tayvon Gray (New York City FC/USA; 3/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Bobby Decordova-Reid (Fulham/ENG; 27/8), Daniel Johnson (Stoke City/ENG; 23/3), Joel Latibeaudiere (Coventry City/ENG; 12/0), Kasey Palmer (Coventry City/ENG; 3/0), Karoy Anderson (Charlton Athletic/ENG; 2/0), Renaldo Cephas (Ankaragucu/TUR; 1/0)

FORWARDS (7): Shamar Nicholson (Clermont/FRA; 44/16), Cory Burke (New York Red Bulls/USA; 31/7), Michail Antonio (West Ham United/ENG; 14/3), Demarai Gray (Al-Ettifaq/KSA; 10/5); Jamal Lowe (Swansea City/ENG; 6/2), Bailey Cadamarteri (Sheffield Wednesday/ENG; 0-0/), Kaheim Dixon (Arnett Gardens; 0/0)