U-21 league to return in 2019
A revamped Under-21 football competition is expected to come on stream early next year.
During the recent TVJ Sports Town Hall meeting at the sports lounge at 100, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Mike Ricketts revealed that the federation planned to restart the national Under-21 tournament for Premier League clubs, and yesterday, Vice-President Bruce Gaynor confirmed that the new competition would be used to expose, assess, and select players for the Olympic squad.
"The Under-21 league will be used to identify the best players that are qualified to represent the country at the Olympics. The Olympic qualifiers next year are for the 2020 Games, and the Jamaica Olympic Association has given us support," Gaynor said.
The national Under-21 competition for Premier League clubs will commence next January.
Meanwhile, JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint says that they are looking at lowering the age limit for the competition.
"Our thinking is that we should go lower than Under-21. When you are 21, you should be playing with professionals," Wint said.
At the same town hall meeting, outspoken football administrator Craig Butler said it was important for young footballers to be rubbing shoulders with stronger, bigger players. He said that this would help young players to make the transition to senior football more smoothly.
"A kid at 16 years old who is a top player is not challenged by other 17- and 18-year-olds. He has to be pushed by 21, 22 year olds. But there should be no more than five players under the age of 17 among the Under-21s," he reasoned.