Fri | Apr 19, 2024

Speid comfortable with U20 quota system

Published:Wednesday | February 21, 2024 | 12:13 AMGregory Bryce/Staff Reporter
Rudolph Speid
Rudolph Speid

CHAIRMAN OF the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Technical Committee Rudolph Speid has defended the organisation’s quota on overseas players in the national youth programme.

This comes after the JFF announced the final squad for the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship Qualifiers.

Jamaica, coached by John Wall, are in Group F of those qualifiers along with Bermuda, Grenada, and Martinique.

The young Reggae Boyz will open their qualifiers against Martinique at the St Kitts and Nevis Football Association Technical Centre on Saturday.

Ahead of the tournament Wall named overseas-based players Ahir Dixon (Woodstock Academy), George Grant Jr (Middlesborough FC), Kyron Horsley McKay (Millwall FC), Makai Welch (Leyton Orient FC), Fabian Reynolds (Wolverhampton Wanderers), and Ashton Gordon (Atlanta United FC) in his 21-man squad.

Speid said while the JFF has no existing quota for its senior teams, there is a quota that limits the number of overseas-born players that can be chosen to represent the country at the junior level.

This quota, according to Speid, would not affect Jamaican-born players who have moved overseas to pursue their football careers.

Speid explained the quota changes based on the age group. For the under-20s, only six outfield players and one goalkeeper can be chosen. At the under-17 age group, four outfield players and one goalkeeper may be chosen, while among under-15s, two outfield players and one goalkeeper may be chosen.

“For the senior team, the coach can pick whoever he wants,” said Speid. “But we believe in development for our junior teams. There are stakeholders in Jamaica who don’t want not even one person born overseas to play for Jamaica. So there has to be that balance and with everything in life, you have to negotiate. Some want all (overseas-born players) and some want none, so there has to be a negotiation.”

Speid explained that the quota system is simply a guideline, and not a strict rule to follow.

Coaches of the various age groups are encouraged to speak with the technical committee should they want to exceed the number of overseas-born players set by the quota.

“There is a provision that says, if you need more than what the quota says, then you must justify it to the technical committee, who will make a recommendation to the board if you need more. There have been instances, say for like the last under-20 girls’ team, they had more than the seven players, they had 10 out of the group of 20, who were born overseas.

“The under-17 team that played the last World Cup qualifiers, they had eight and the quota was five. So the quota is there as a guide, but if you as a coach need more, then you need to make a case as to why you’ll need more. That is the part that nobody pays attention to. This is something that the JFF approved.”

Speid defended the quota system, saying that quotas are an integral part of the football world. He says the JFF’s quota ensures inclusivity across the board and allows for the development of youth players.

As he closed, he posed the question of how a possible Jamaican youth team would look without a quota in place.

“Quota is nothing new in football. The 32 teams that go to the World Cup are not the 32 best teams. FIFA actually practises quota by giving every confederation a quota that they can qualify with. So if it wasn’t for that then probably Jamaica would have never reached a World Cup. It’s about inclusion in everything you do. Quotas weren’t invented by Jamaica.

“I want to ask the people this question, are they comfortable on those youth teams with every single person on it being born overseas-born?”

Young Reggae Boyz squad

Goalkeepers

Akeem Bernard (Phoenix Academy), Joshua Grant (New York Red Bulls), Taywayne Lynch (Mount Pleasant FA)

Defenders

Romain Blake (Chicago Fire II), Michael Forbes (Cavalier SC), Adrian Reid Jr (Cavalier SC), Ronaldo Barrett (Cavalier SC), Ahir Dixon (Woodstock Academy), George Grant Jr (Middlesborough FC), Kyron Horsley McKay (Millwall FC)

Midfielders

Alexander Bicknell (Leixões FC), Makai Welch (Leyton Orient FC), Christopher Ainsworth (Cavalier SC), Brian Burkett (Dunbeholden FC), Dunsting Cohen (Vere United), Denzel McKenzie (Phoenix Academy), Robino Gordon (Phoenix Academy), Fabian Reynolds (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

Forwards

Ashton Gordon (Atlanta United FC), Nick Simmonds (Richmond Kickers FC), Tyrese Gowe (Dunbeholden FC)