After narrowly missing qualification for the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup, Jamaica commenced early preparation for the 2017 edition with a training camp at the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona. The camp continued yesterday, with the JFF naming 32 players for the second camp that will end on Thursday. “Well, we are basically in selection process. We started with 32 players last week and are now looking at 32 other players whom are currently in camp,” Under-17 head coach Andrew Edwards told The Gleaner after the early-morning session yesterday. “We want to rank the players in order to properly evaluate each player and have an idea of the best 20 players,” Edwards added. He said the players in camp, both local and overseas based, have responded well to the session so far. “We intend to improve the players by giving them bits of information,” he explained. PRELIMINARY STAGE The JFF is yet to be officially informed of when the Caribbean Football Union qualifiers will start, but Edwards said, “The preliminary stage usually starts in the summer, so we are looking at a 15-month period to qualify for the next Under-17 World Cup”. Jamaica will seek a third berth at the Under-17 World Cup football tournament after qualifying in 1999 and 2011. The nation missed the last staging after being eliminated on penalty kicks by the United States of America at the CONCACAF stage. The players in camp are: Kajeev White (Vauxhall High), Nickashe Murray (Wolmer’s Boys), Demale Sinclair (Jamaica College), Lloyd Reynolds (Holy Trinity High), Jeremy Verley (St George’s College), Romario McPherson (Bridgeport High), Shaquille Smith (Jonathan Grant High), Tyrone Small (Jonathan Grant), Akeem Davis (Munro College), Deandre Smalling (Munro), Tavin Small (Munro), Daniel Russell (Holmwood Technical), Marlando Maxwell (Manchester High), Dwayne Leven (Ptersfield High), Ricardo McIntosh (Clarendon College), Nickque Daley (Clarendon College), Calwayne Allen (St James High), Garnet Hudson (Cornwall College), Richard Thompson (Herbert Morrison High), Damani Osei (Cosby High, USA), Blake White (Home Schooled), Thriston Briscoe (North Babylon, USA), Chad Letts (YSC Academy), Rasheed Martin (Queens Gateway, USA), Jeadine White (St Andrew Technical High), Khalil Dabdoub (Hillel Academy), Jordan Peterkin (Kingston College), Renato Campbell (KC), Jabari Howell (Holy Trinity High), and Cleon Haynes (Wolmer’s Boys).
HERZOGENAURACH, Germany: Having partnered with a number of new young athletes in recent months, PUMA has announced its “most exciting athlete endorsement of all” with the signing of Nigel Ellis. The junior sprinter joins a growing Jamaican line-up of PUMA track and field athletes that includes Natasha Morrison, Kaliese Spencer, Asafa Powell, Hansle Parchment, Jaheel Hyde and, of course, the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt. Ellis has a big future in track and field. Under the coaching of Reynaldo Walcott at St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), he lowered his personal bests to 10.16 and 20.40 at the age of 18, claiming both the 100m and 200m sprint titles at the ISSA Boys and Girls’ Championships in Kingston. He is also currently the fastest 100-metre junior athlete in the world. PUMA continues to invest in growing its stable of athletes and partner federations, maintaining its presence in a sport that has always been a rich part of its history. With the Olympics in Rio approaching, PUMA has made significant strides to enrich its athlete portfolio, continuing its focus on becoming the fastest sport brand in the world. Speaking about the new partnership with PUMA, Ellis said: “In Jamaica, PUMA is the number one brand in track and field. I’ve known PUMA all my life. “I’ve seen the athletes they work with, the high schools they support, the quality of the running shoes and training wear they make. Signing with PUMA is a big moment for any athlete and, for me, this is a big deal. “I’m proud of the potential they see in me and the opportunity to continue my education. I look forward to working with them for years ahead,” he added. Pascal Rolling, PUMA’s head of sports marketing for running, said: “We are very happy to have signed Nigel. He is improving so quickly and his commitment and desire to measure himself among the best is clear. “He embodies the spirit and values of PUMA, both on and off the track, by training and competing hard, while living well with a joy for what he does. He’s a young man with a huge future and we’re pleased to play a part of the success that will come.”