Jamaica newcomers build depth, show future is solid

Jamiel Hardware (yellow jersey) made his Jamaica senior debut in an international friendly at Trinidad & Tobago on August 24, 2017, in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. (Photo: CA-Images)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – In last month’s 2-1 win over host Trinidad & Tobago, four players named in the starting line-up made their Jamaica debuts.

Two of that quartet accounted for the goals in the Reggae Boyz’s first win at T&T since 2010.

“I feel super excited” said Boys Town midfielder Jamiel Hardware, 25, who netted in the fifth minute.  “Knowing that I wasn't in the squad at first and coming into the squad, then making my debut and scoring that wonderful goal, it's emotional for me; a dream come true.  These are the moments we live for as professional football players.

“I just hope this is the beginning and that I will be able to get more opportunities moving forward with the national team.”

Hardware may get another chance to earn a second cap thanks to being named to Jamaica’s squad for Saturday’s friendly at Canada.

Earlier in August, goalkeeper Shaven Sean Paul competed for Portmore United in the Scotiabank CONCACAF League, but tried make the most of his international introduction.

“Overall I gave an average performance,” the 26-year-old remarked.  “I started shaky, but I finished better.  I'm grateful for the experience and it will only get better going forward.  Jamaican goalkeeping has a lot of depth, so I am happy for this chance to showcase my talent.

“[T&T’s] goal caught me out at the front post and it went over my head at the back post.  It was just unfortunate.  My second half was much better because I came out with confidence.”

Midfielder Kaheem Parris, just 16-years old, played in the 2017 the CONCACAF Under-17 came on as an 80th-minute substitute at Hasely Crawford Stadium to become youngest international.  He’s plans on taking things one step at a time.

“It is always a dream to play for my country, so to do so at U-17 and senior levels in the same year means something for me,” commented the Cavalier SC standout.  “Yes it was only 10 minutes, but it was a special 10 minutes to play.  For me, this is a moment to rejoice.  I plan to just keep working hard.  If it means going into the U-20 set up before playing more in senior team that is fine with me.  I am just thankful to play this wonderful game.”