Always a strong and fast side, the Reggae Boyz have now improved organizational skills. Despite losing all three of their Copa America games last year, Jamaica "held" the mighty trio of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay all to narrow 1-0 wins. This experience helped them knock out the US national team to reach the CONCACAF Gold Cup final the following month.
- Rodolph Austin (Brondby/Sweden) – The tough-tackling midfielder guards the back line with aplomb. Austin is a solid passer that loves to play the long ball. His ability to control the tempo and hit nasty restarts makes him the team's star man.
- Wes Morgan (Leicester City/England) – Currently living a dream as captain of title-chasing Cinderella side Leicester, the veteran defender is tough as nails. He's an expert shot-blocker and loves to jump passing lanes for interceptions.
- Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo/United States) – The Dynamo skipper struck four times in his first 10 MLS appearances this season. The forward can run at you or shoot from long range and a tendency toward timely goals, such as his free kick winner against the US at last year's Gold Cup.
Winfried Schäfer – The German played 403 Bundesliga games as a midfielder, and accomplished the unusual feat of winning the 1970 domestic double playing for two different clubs. He began coaching immediately upon his playing retirement, starting with the Borussia Moenchengladbach reserves. He had a successful 12-year stretch managing Karlsruher before eventually switching to the international game with Cameroon in 2001. He guided them to the African Cup of Nations crown the following year. A few small potatoes jobs followed before he assumed Jamaica's top post in 2013.
Copa America Group C Schedule
June 5 vs. Venezuela (5 pm ET, Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill.)
June 9 vs. Mexico (10 pm ET, Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Ca.)
June 13 vs. Uruguay (10 pm ET, Levi's Stadium – Santa Clara, Ca.)
Copa America Squad
Goalkeepers (3): Andre Blake, Duwayne Kerr, Ryan Thompson
Defenders (7): Rosario Harriott, Michael Hector, Kemar Lawrence, Adrian Mariappa, Wes Morgan, Damano Solomon, Jermaine Taylor
Midfielders (8): Rodolph Austin, Michael Binns, Chevone Marsh, Joel McAnuff, Garath McCleary, Andrew Vanzie, Je-Vaughn Watson, Lee Williamson
Forwards (5): Giles Barnes, Simon Dawkins, Clayton Donaldson, Allan Ottey, Dever Orgill
Starting XI (4-4-2)
- GK: Duwayne Kerr (Sarpsborg 08)
- RB: Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution)
- CB: Wes Morgan (Leicester City)
- CB: Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace)
- LB: Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls)
- RCM: Garath McCleary (Reading)
- CM: Michael Hector (Reading)
- CM: Rodolph Austin (Brondby)
- LCM: Jobi McAnuff (Leyton Orient)
- FW: Giles Barnes (Houston Dynamo)
- FW: Clayton Donaldson (Birmingham City)
Style of play
Jamaica still play with speed and power, but now have raised their mental game. They are far more organized and disciplined under Schaefer, who has also lifted the team morale. Tactically, he adapts to his selection, so they still look like a Jamaican team. That said, he only picks players who are willing to give their absolute all for the shirt and it shows in their suddenly unified efforts.
How they qualified
Jamaica punched their ticket by winning the 2014 Caribbean Cup, where they topped Trinidad & Tobago on PK's to take the final.
Copa America history
Their first Copa America experience happened just last year in Chile. The Reggae Boyz suffered a trio of 1-0 losses against Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to bow out after the group stage.
Jamaica's shining CONCACAF achievement came with last year's runners-up finish at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They have also won the Caribbean Cup six times, including four of the last six, and played in their only World Cup in 1998.
United States vs Jamaica
|Matches||US Wins||US Losses||Draws|
There are 17 Jamaicans currently employed in MLS, the third-highest total of any foreign nation. Among the standouts are Houston attacker Giles Barnes, Seattle defender Tyrone Mears and returning San Jose wing ace Simon Dawkins. Forty-three Jamaican players have seen action over the course of league history, including two-time Goalkeeper of the Year Donovan Ricketts and Andy Williams, who stands ninth on the all-time MLS assists chart with 86.