Jamaica to host U.S. in pair of U-17 friendlies
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Action from the Caribbean under-17 qualifier between Jamaica (green jersey) and the host US Virgin Islands on July 16, 2016, in Charlotte Amalie. (Photo: Aisha-Zakiya Boyd)

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica will ramp up its preparations for next year’s CONCACAF Under-17 Championship next month, when it hosts the United States in two friendlies. 

The Reggae Boyz, who finished third in September's Caribbean qualifying finals to earn a place at Panama 2017, will square off against the Americans on November 2 and 8.

"We have always given a commitment to give as much support to the team's preparation as humanly possible,” said Captain Horace Burrell, president of the Jamaica Football Federation. “These friendlies shall go a long way in preparing our team for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship as we strive to qualify for the U-17 FIFA World Cup.”

The U.S. will play an additional match against a local side on November 4. Venues for all the games are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Since the first edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1985, the U.S. has qualified for every edition of the competition except the one contested in 2013. Jamaica has competed in two U-17 World Cups – 1999 in New Zealand and 2011 in Mexico, where it drew with France, 1-1, for its first-ever tournament point.

In 2015, Jamaica fell agonizingly short of reaching the FIFA U-17 World Cup, falling to the U.S., 4-5 on penalty kicks, after a scoreless draw in a CONCACAF-playoff decider. Earlier in that competition, the Reggae Boyz earned a 1-0 win over the Americans thanks to Nicholas Nelson’s conversion from the spot.