Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Topey, Scarlett will get their turn — Simpson

Published:Saturday | October 31, 2020 | 12:10 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

National Senior men’s football team manager Roy Simpson says the technical team is tracking defenders Jamoi Topey and Jordan Scarlett for possible future selection.

Many local football observers believe both players should have been included for the two-match series against Saudi Arabia on November 14 and 17.

Head coach Theodore Whitmore has spoken of his desire to improve the centre-back positions on many occasions, and this has come more into focus now with FIFA World Cup qualifiers set for next year.

But Simpson says that when the coaching staff believes both players are ready, they will be given the opportunity.

“When we have games, we invite a wide cross section of players,” he said. “The squad is 24, but we invited about 35 players and looked at them, we reached out to them and talked to them. We spoke to young Topey and explained to him what we are doing. He was part of the Gold Cup squad in 2017 and we brought him on some Caribbean tours with us and we believe that based on the feedback we are getting, he is improving.

“We know Jamaica sees him as one of our brighter prospects but we just ask to allow us the process of getting him to where we want him. Sooner or later, once he keeps on improving and developing, and gets to the level where we think he can get to, then we won’t hesitate to give him another opportunity.”

Topey, 22 years old, has played one senior international game for the country. He made his international debut in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Costa Rica last March. He currently plies his trade for United Soccer League (USL) team, Philadelphia Union II, but is nursing an injury.

The coaches have also been keeping their eyes on former Harbour View defender, Scarlett, who represents the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Scarlett, 25 years old, has been key in defence for the Rowdies, who have qualified for the USL championship final versus Phoenix Rising. He was also named in the USL Championship All-League second team this season.

“He has always been on our radar,” Simpson said. “It is just that we have not afforded him the opportunity as yet. I have had discussions with him, although not recently, but we are aware of what he can do and we are aware of the talent that he has. It is a wide pool of players and we just hope we can afford as many of them the opportunity. But next year will be a very active year, so what we can do is afford and open up to bring them in.”

Simpson says that the coaching staff strongly believes the squad they selected is equipped to meet the demands of the trip to Saudi Arabia.

“We have looked at some of our home-grown talent in Europe to see how they will match up and fit into the unit, and we believe that based on the availability of the game, and the goals of the technical staff, these players will fulfil the mandate asked of them,” he said.