MIAMI – While the US national team decamped from Kingston, Jamaica to Columbus, Ohio as quickly as possible after Friday’s World Cup qualifier, flying out first thing Saturday morning, their opponents have taken a different travel tack.
The Reggae Boyz spent an extra day in their island nation home, taking in a light practice session in Kingston on Saturday before traveling north to Ohio in multiple small parties on commercial flights throughout Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com crossed paths with a group including Ryan Johnson and Darren Mattocks passing through Miami International Airport on Sunday afternoon, and informal conversations with members of the Jamaican camp revealed that, as would be expected, the players are calm and confident as they prepare for a rematch with the USMNT which figures to be significantly more difficult than their 2-1 home victory at Kingston’s National Stadium.
Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore had referred to the Jamaica Football Federation’s ongoing need for private-sector support and sponsorship after that game, and the travel plans for the Columbus trip reflected that reality, with most of the players traveling in coach class.
One JFF staffer noted that foreign-based players tend to appreciate a bit of extra time spent back home on international breaks, time typically spent visiting friends and family. Whether the Reggae Boyz experience any negative physiological effects from a shorter post-travel recovery period remains to be seen.