Jamaica Premier League

Jamaica Premier League (89)

For some, owning a football club is a statement that you are at a certain level as a businessman. But for Mount Pleasant Football Academy’s owner Peter Gould, it is not just about status.

In fact, Gould would readily tell you that he cares little what others think about his financial status and more about fulfilling his heart’s desire –to change the landscape and, by extension, help shape the legacy of Jamaica’s football through his academy.

“We had a couple of setbacks, you know the Covid-19 pandemic was a big setback obviously, but we are gaining back our strength and momentum and I think we should be in a better place by September. So, we are pretty excited, we have put a lot of work into the academy and the platform is well and truly set to accomplish all that we want to,” Gould declared.

“It will take a few years to build a complete institution, but we have people willing to come along and help us to move to another level, so we firmly believe we will be able to get there and put Jamaica’s football on the map the real way,” he added.

The Englishman established the academy in 2016 after he travelled to Jamaica and fell in love with the Mount Pleasant community in St Ann. Two years later, Gould opened a state-of-the-art football facility, which he said was designed to properly develop and nurture the talent of some of country’s young football prospects.

Incidentally, 2018 was also the same year that Mount Pleasant’s senior team, formerly known as “Stush in the Bush”, earned promotion to the Jamaica Premier League (JPL), and five years later, they are crowned kings of top-flight football.

The team, boasting one of its academy products, Devonte Campbell, defeated Cavalier 2-1 in Sunday’s final at Sabina Park, courtesy of a Sue-Lae McCalla brace. Collin Anderson got Cavalier’s goal.

“This is our first Premier League success, so it feels good, this was one of our objectives and it is great that we achieved it. I am happy, the fans are happy, and I also believe the community is widening in terms of people supporting our movement. So, obviously we are doing something right and I firmly believe that they only way to build is from the community,” Gould noted, as they continue to celebrate the parish’s first national title.

While it is unlikely that the entire Mount Pleasant setup, including the academy is yielding much return on investment for Gould and his wife Amanda, he said it is imperative that they maintain their standards to continue impacting the lives of the young charges, in particular.

Through the innovative project at the academy, the young men benefit from a high school education, as directed by the Ministry of Education, along with a structured football training programme.

The Mount Pleasant Football Academy has already sent Under-13 and Under-15 teams overseas to compete, with the latter currently representing St Ann in a Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) youth tournament.

“Listen the investment, I don’t even count it, the investment is about changing people’s lives, it is about the kids and exposing them. The ambition is to develop talent for the future, but more than that, they are getting an education and that I believe is the way of getting quality football…educating your players and then you get that discipline on and off the field," Gould opined.

He continued: “This is what we have coming through the vine and as we keep expanding you will have more kids coming to Jamaica to do their English and Mathematics and to play football. Many parents are making plans for their kids in the coming period, so they can go into officiating or coaching and analytics, so it is looking quite lovely.

“So, we are absolutely in it for the long haul, we are still building and putting in plans as we go along, it is just to get it done faster but it has been non-stop movements.”

Though admitting that there were times when he was infuriated by the Premier League team’s substandard performances, Gould reiterated that his approach is one of heart over head as he is well aware that in football, success comes at a high price. As such, he pointed out that the thought of backing out never once surfaced.

“I can’t say I was never disappointed especially when we were losing against 10 men, I was like what the hell, but still I was planning for the next match. So, we had some bad days on the road but no, never felt like backing out. We are here for the cause, we started something, and we intend to see it through. We know it won’t all happen one time, but we are managing to stay on the horse and get down the course,” the benefactor shared.

“We will announce some plans in a few weeks that I think really will engage the audience and will hopefully help the transformation of football and the youths. So, we have some experienced people coming on board because obviously it is not a two-person job me and my wife, we have other people wanting to join the train,” Gould disclosed.

Like every sporting team, Mount Pleasant also have their fair share of behind-the-scenes flaws, but Gould praised the efforts of Head coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore and his assistant Davion Ferguson, as well as manager Paul Christie in ensuring that whatever issues arise, are dealt with in a professional manner.

“To be quite honest I don’t really get involved in the day-to-day happenings. We have a management in place and Paul Christie is that lieutenant, he manages to take that control of leading with Tappa and Fergie. We have a meeting once a week when I’m in the country, but he [Christie] has put in tremendous work since he joined, Tappa has been so easy to work with, Fergie as well, so it has been a good team effort.

“They have a good team there, doctors and physios, again I don’t want to get involved in the players’ day-to-day, so yes we have issues, but we have people there that manage it as best as we can,” Gould explained.

Finally, the businessman said they will continue to aim high with Mount Pleasant Football Academy which he believes boasts a bright future.

“The plan is just to keep engaging the kids in Jamaica, we will be taking more kids on, and we will be doing a few projects in the summer,” he said.

“The future is looking bright, and we want to make Mount Pleasant a household name in Jamaica and so we will carry on with pride. I am not saying we will win the title every year, but we want to continue raising the bar,” Gould ended.

Millions of dollars were invested to establish Mount Pleasant Football Academy in 2016 with hopes that it would one day become the standard bearer of Jamaica's football. 

Two years later in 2018, Mount Pleasant secured promotion to the nation’s top-flight league and five years later, the wait by fans in the garden parish of St Ann for a Jamaica Premier League (JPL) title, came to an end.

A brace by Sue Lae McCalla in the 7th and 89th minutes, saw Mount Pleasant to its first national championship, as they edged Cavalier Football Club 2-1 in a keenly contested final at Sabina Park on Sunday.

Collin Anderson had earlier pulled Cavalier level in the 83rd minute with his 20th goal of the season, becoming the first player to record such a tally since Reno's Craig Foster in the 2014-15 season.

McCalla, who also won a JPL title at Portmore United, jokingly told a member of the coaching staff ahead of the game that he would score two goals, one at either end of the park, and it indeed proved most prophetic.

As such, of the 24 goals scored in his Premier League career, the 30-year-old said none was more important than the two on the night.

"Before the game I told the masseuse that I had two goals to score, one in the top goal and one at the other end so it was destined to happen. I came out here to lead by example and win my team the title, so this means a lot and will go down as part of my legacy," McCalla, who wore the captain’s armband for 65 minutes plus, said in a post-game interview.

With the first title now in hand owner Peter Goule displaying the spending power to further improve a team that drafted a number of the country's best players over the years, Head coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore believes this could mark the start of many more JPL honours to come. 

"Words can't explain the feeling at the moment, we set out on a journey, and we have completed that journey now with a win and I am very proud of the work done by everyone from the players to the support staff and management," the former Reggae Boyz captain said.

"It was a tough season, we went through a lot, the road wasn't easy, but we made the necessary adjustments along the way, and we finally did it this afternoon. The support of the Goules is very important to our charge and this is just the beginning of lots more trophies to come," Whitmore added.

The showpiece promised much between two teams of some quality, and it didn't disappoint the well over 10,000 fans, many of whom journeyed from St Ann.

So, it was only right that Mount Pleasant gave them something to cheer about and McCalla sent them into frenzy when he firmly headed Devonte Campbell's weighted corner past Vino Barclett.

Mount Pleasant lost inspirational captain Ladale Richie to injury in the 25th minute, but it mattered little as his teammates gallantly fought on to add to their tally.

They should have done so on a number of occasions, but a lack of proper positioning and poor decision-making at times, denied them at that point.

In the 32nd minute, Devonte Campbell rounded the well-advanced Barclett in a blistering counterattack, but failed to get a proper cross in with Trivante Stewart and Kimonie Bailey waiting in the six-yard box.

Four minutes later Stewart dazzled his marker with some nippy footwork and made space for a cross which went begging, as none of his teammates were on hand to apply the finish at the far post. 

Cavalier had the best of their few looks at goal in the 37th minute later when Nickache Murray's delightful pass inside the danger area found an unmarked Jerome McCleary, who failed to make it count.

And Stewart got away from defenders but had his delayed effort charged down by Barclett, who left his line well on that occasion to ensure it remained 1-0 at the break. 

The second half offered very little to write home about, but just when it seems it was done and dusted for Mount Pleasant, Anderson popped up with a timely goalmouth finish that threatened extra time.

However, it was not to be, as cometh the hour, cometh McCalla, who again rose highest to expertly head past Barclett from Ricardo Morris's corner a minute from time.

While the relief for the Mount Pleasant camp was unmistakable as they were flocked by jubilant fans that invaded the Sabina Park field, the disappointment of Cavalier's Head coach Rudolph Speid and his players, was clear for all to see.

“I thought it if we had gone to extra time we would have taken over because they were making a lot of changes and their quality was going down. But two headed goals by Sue Lae McCalla, I wouldn’t have dreamed that would have happened and it is unfortunate that we couldn’t hold on for the extra time,” Speid said.

 

Mount Pleasant Football Academy and Cavalier Football Club will meet in this season’s Jamaica Premier League (JPL) final, following victories over Arnett Gardens and dethroned champions Harbour View in their respective second-leg semi-final encounters at Sabina Park on Sunday.

The St Ann-based Mount Pleasant FA, which was formed in 2016 and earned promotion to the nation’s top-flight league in 2018, got by Arnett Gardens 3-1 for a 5-3 aggregate win to secure their spot in the JPL showpiece for the first time, while 2021 champions Cavalier blanked Harbour View 2-0 for a 3-0 aggregate scoreline.

Trivante Stewart with goals in the 33rd and 40th minutes, that took his tally to 18 this season, and one Shande James (86th), got the job done for Mount Pleasant, after Deandre Cunningham gave Arnett Gardens a 15th-minute lead.

Meanwhile, Collin Anderson (12th and 57th) got both goals for Cavalier against Harbour View, to regain top spot as the league’s leading scorer with 19 goals.

After playing out an entertaining 2-2 stalemate in first-leg action last week, Mount Pleasant and Arnett Gardens wasted little time to pick up from where they left off.

While the Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore-coached Mount Pleasant dominated proceedings, it was the Paul “Tegat” Davis-conditioned Arnett Gardens that drew first blood, against the run of play. 

Cunningham picked up a pass from Rushike Kelson and rifled a right-footer past Shaquan Davis in goal for Mount Pleasant.

Given the nature of the game, it was almost certain that Mount Pleasant would hit back and that they did three minutes past the half-hour mark when Stewart muscled his way past a defender to fire past Eric Edwards.

And Mount Pleasant broke the deadlock seven minutes later when Stewart with a deft first touch, created space to turn and drive a well-struck effort that gave Edwards no chance at a save. 

The momentum stuck with Mount Pleasant on the resumption, and they should have extended their lead in the 71st but Devonte Campbell, who had time and space in the 18-yard box to pick a spot, failed to finish off a good team build up.

Try as they did, Arnett Gardens had no response to the quality displayed by Mount Pleasant on the day, and almost as if throwing salt in their wounds, it was a former “Junglists” James that capped the win with a tidy finish from just inside the arc.

 Winning coach Whitmore lauded the character shown by his team in executing accordingly.

 “We were totally in control of the game; we managed the game very well the opponents scored on us but the team showed character and guts and went on to win it. We played this Arnett Gardens team four times, so we looked at their threats and we nullified that, it is just about going into the final now to deliver a title to our owner,” Whitmore said.

His counterpart Davis admitted that they were outclassed.

“They just played a better game than us and they won. We just didn’t come out and play, they were quicker to the ball, their ball movements were better, and they won,” Davis declared.

Cavalier entered their second leg contest with a 1-0 lead over Harbour View and given the defensive nature of both teams, not many goals were expected on this occasion. 

With Harbour View pressing to play catch up, Cavalier capitalized and pushed further ahead when Anderson rose above defender to head home Adrian Reid’s weighted cross. 

With the scoreline unchanged at the break, Harbour View came out more purposeful after the interval and almost pulled on back, but Vino Barclett got down well to his right, to keep out Colorado Murray’s 56th-minute effort from a distance. 

But Cavalier responded a minute late with a brisk counterattack that saw Shaneil Thomas playing Anderson through on goal, and the striker sporting the number nine jersey, dismissed his marker, before driving past Romario Palma in goal for Harbour View.

Harbour View tried to play their game in an attempt to overturn the deficit, but it was not to be as they found Cavaliers defenders in defiant mode.

Cavalier Football Club’s Head coach Rudolph Speid says his team has no intentions of resting on their laurels, after edging reigning champions Harbour View 1-0, in the first leg of their Jamaica Premier League (JPL) semi-final tie at Sabina Park on Monday.

Orlando Russell’s second goal against Harbour View and third overall this season, proved the all-important strike that handed Speid’s youthful team the advantage ahead of Sunday’s return-leg at the same venue.

“What we tried to do was not to concede any goals and take what we got and that is what happened. But I think we need one or two more goals to be safe and so we will be pushing for that in the next game,” Speid said.

After playing out a goalless first half where both teams had their moments, Cavalier found the go-ahead goal seven minutes after the interval through a well-worked build up orchestrated by Nickache Murray.

Murray floated a delicate pass over the top, which was headed across by Jerome McCleary for Orlando Russell to apply the finishing touch at the far post.

Harbour View came close to pulling level in the 62nd minute, but Cristojaye Daley’s well-struck left-footed drive from a distance, was equally well-saved by Vino Barclett, diving full-stretch to his right, in goal for Cavalier.

Cavalier could have extended their lead in the latter stages when the league’s leading scorer Collin Anderson got away from Harbour View’s defenders but fired a right-footed effort straight at goalkeeper Romario Palma, despite having enough space and time to set and shoot.

For Harbour View’s Head coach Ludlow Bernard, its back to the training pitch to assess their mistakes and make the necessary adjustments for the second leg.

“We ran out of ideas up top and so we paid the price for it. We didn’t capitalize on what was probably a tired Cavalier team, but we have some things that we clearly need to look because we are now under one-nil, so we just have to reset and come again,” Bernard stated.

Meanwhile, the second semi-final between Arnett Gardens and Mount Pleasant remain evenly poised, as they played out an entertaining 2-2 stalemate in a game that ensured the large crowd did not leave disappointed.

The inform Leonardo Rankin (17th) and Trivante Stewart (63rd), got the goals for the St Ann-based Mount Pleasant, who went in front twice, but Shai Smith (30th) and Fabian Reid (66th), ensured Arnett Gardens, remained in contention.

It was mostly end-to-end action from the start, but it was Mount Pleasant that drew first blood when Rankin deflected Demario Phillips’s weighted corner kick past Eric Edwards in goal for Arnett Gardens.

However, the “Junglists” were back on level terms 13 minutes later when Ajuma Johnson’s weighted cross found the head of the rangy Smith, who made no mistakes in guiding past Shaquan Davis.

As the score remained unchanged at the break, both teams against came out firing on the resumption, throwing their weight in attack, but again, it was Mount Pleasant that found the go-ahead goal three minutes past the hour mark.  

Stewart outsprinted two defenders before squeezing a right-footer past the advancing Edwards to register his 16th goal this season.

But the celebrations were short-lived, as Reid also registered his 16th goal of the season when he utilized a cheeky first touch to create space for a right-footed drive that had Davis well beaten.

Both teams continued to create chances and could have secured the advantage, but for a lack of composure in the final third.

Still, both Paul “Tegat” Davis of Arnett Gardens and his counterpart Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore, agreed that it was a fair result, as it is anybody’s game come Sunday.

Arnett Gardens FC defeated Harbour View FC 3-0 at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex on Monday to secure a top-two spot and a place in the semi-finals of the Jamaica Premier League.

Arnett’s win moves their points tally to 52 from 25 games, meaning they can only be passed by Cavalier on goal difference in next week’s 26th and final game week before the playoffs.

Second-placed Cavalier moved to 49 points from 25 games after defeating Molynes United 4-2 in the first game of the Monday doubleheader.

Mount Pleasant, who drew 1-1 with Humble Lion on Sunday, are also assured of a place in the top four with 46 points while Harbour View are fourth with 43.

Harbour View will need to avoid defeat in their final game against Vere United to book their spot as Humble Lion are only two points behind them in fifth. Humble Lion will take on Waterhouse at the Waterhouse Stadium in their final game.

The rest of the games in week 26 will see Dunbeholden face Mount Pleasant at the Ferdie Neita Sports Complex, Molynes United face Portmore United at UWI, Arnett Gardens face Tivoli Gardens at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex, Montego Bay United face Cavalier at Wespow Park and Faulkland face Chapleton Maroons at Drax Hall.

 

Jamaica Premier League outfit Chapelton Maorons have been punished for failing to turn up for their fixture with Mount Pleasant Academy at the Effortville Community Centre on Sunday.

The Maroons, who fired experienced head coach Lenworth Hyde last week, were unable to field an 11 due to many players being unavailable.

Notably, the Maroons squad is made up mostly of schoolboys and the JPL has a rule that does not allow a team to field more than five amateurs to a team per match.

Before his dismissal, Hyde noted that this rule will put the team in a tough situation, especially since if the players sign professional contracts, they will be ineligible for overseas scholarship opportunities.

Match Commissioner Anthony Gibbs said he had not gotten any correspondence from Chapelton nor the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) for the absence of the Clarendon-based team.

The JFF announced the sanctions in a release on Monday:

“The Competitions Committee of the JFF has handed down sanctions to Chapelton Maroons who failed to turn up for their JPL fixture versus Mount Pleasant FC at the Effortville Community Center on Sunday, January 22.

 

  1. For breach of Article 7.5 and 6, the game has been awarded to Mount Pleasant FA by a score of three goals to nil (3-0). Chapelton Maroons FC has also been fined Two hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000). This payment must be made on or before Friday, February 3, 2023.

 

  1. In keeping with the regulations, a further six (6) points has been deducted from the club’s current points standing.  The club must also compensate for any damages or losses suffered by Mount Pleasant FA and the JFF up to a maximum of One Hundred & Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000). Invoices will be provided as soon as they are available.

 

  1. Finally, the club will be referred to the JFF Disciplinary Committee for further actions to be taken in accordance with Article 70 of the JFF Disciplinary Code.”

 

The Maroons are currently twelfth in the 14-team JPL table with eight points from 10 games.

Jamaica Premier League club, Portmore United Football Club has signed national player Alex Marshall on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

Jamaica's Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, announced on Friday that the Ministry is continuing with its monthly payments to the clubs in the National Premier League. 

Minister Grange said, “The 14 clubs in the Premier League will receive monthly payments of One-Hundred and Fifty-Thousand Dollars ($150,000) which the Ministry is providing through the Sport Development Foundation (SDF) for the duration of the Premier League season. The scheduled end of the season, which started in November 2022, is April 2023, but the Ministry’s commitment is to whenever the season ends. 

“November and December payments were made today (December 16), in one, Three-Hundred Thousand Dollars ($300,000.00) to the individual clubs by wire transfer. 

“The monthly subvention is to assist the clubs to meet their obligations,” Minister Grange concluded.

 

 

 

Despite concerns over his Jamaica Premier League champions Harbour View FC having a target on their backs this season, head coach Ludlow Bernard believes his team is prepared enough to get off to a good start to the 2022/2023 season which gets underway in just over a week’s time.

Harbour View opens its title defense against newcomers Chapleton Maroons at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex in Arnett Gardens and Bernard knows that to go from being underdogs to defending champions can bring unwanted pressure and is a cause for concern.

“It has to be a concern because some of the players will be in a territory that they are not accustomed to,” he told Sportsmax.TV at the launch of the 2022/2023 Jamaica Premier League season at Chillin Restaurant and Bar on Holborn Road in Kingston on Thursday night.

“What is even going to make it even more challenging is that we will be going to the oppositions’ venues.”

However, Bernard, who in 2021 became the first coach to win titles with a high school team (Kingston College) and the Premier League title, believes the expected pressure could make the team better.

“Development-wise I think it’s good for them. It’s good that they get that kind of experience but I think we would have prepared them well over the last season to deal with the rigours of relegation, going to the opposition home venue and the thrust and grind of the league itself so we are looking forward to it and we will be prepared.”

Harbour View lost a couple of players in the form of influential mid-fielder Shamar Dyer who is now playing in Antigua and Phillan Lawrence, who has not reported back to the club for reasons unknown.

 However, they have bolstered the roster with Trayvon Reid, goalkeeper David Martin, Romario Palma and Demar Rose, who Bernard believes will be a good addition to the club.

“Demar Rose is somebody that I have worked with before and a player that I admire and think would fit into our system so we expect that the fire-power will be there and we are looking forward to a good start,” Bernard said of the midfielder who came up through the Harbour View FC youth system having played with the Stars of the East from the U13 through to the U20 programmes.

A good start, Bernard continued, is going to be instrumental to the club enhancing their chances of a winning sixth Premier League title this coming season.

“The aim is to get out of the blocks as quickly as possible because there will be a break in November and we don’t want to get caught behind,” he said.

“Preparations have been a little bit behind. I think, probably, we need a couple more games but the experience that we have I think we should be able to manage ourselves in the early rounds at the start.”

 

 

 

Professional Football Jamaica Limited has secured a JMD$10 million club sponsorship from JN Money Services Limited for the Jamaica Premier League season that is set to get underway next month.

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