Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence, has accused the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of cutting the legs out from under the team’s head coach Theodore Whitmore.

Whitmore, who signed a new four-year contract with the JFF in 2018, has largely stayed on the sidelines as some members of the national squad and the JFF have wrangled over contractual negotiations for the past few months.

The coach has, however, on occasion made his frustrations know, mostly as it relates to dissatisfaction with the lack of organisation and lack of resources available for the national program.

In addressing the ongoing issue during a recent interview with YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary, Lawrence highlighted a few of the issues that also impacted the coach.  The defender pointed to the fact that the team has only one physiotherapist and one equipment manager as some of the issues that have impacted the unit.  Whitmore has in addition requested a video analyst as part of his technical staff but, to date, no such post has been created.

“What Tappa has been doing with the limited number of resources that he has; you want to break that up? Tappa is getting it right and we have a short space of time and he is doing his best to make everything work and the Federation is cutting his legs from under him,” Lawrence said.

“We want them to understand where we are coming from and just be honest. They share things in TV interviews that are nowhere close to what is the truth. Tell the Jamaican people what is going on,” he added.

“The players reach a level where they are fed up. If the (JFF’s) approach is “hol this” then bring who wants to go to the Gold Cup (to play) without 2 or 3 medical staff, physio or a technical coach, because these are the things that will get us to win in the finals, not just being there.

It’s a difference between us and the USA because every time they do well they look at what they have done and they bring more to the table in terms of video sessions, anything to help.”

Whitmore led the team to the 2017 Gold Cup final, the second time it has done so in its history.

Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence. has insisted the current dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is about more than money but also respect and equality for all members of the national team.

For the past couple of months, several members of the national team and the JFF have been locked in bitter contractual negotiations ahead of what will be a crucial year for the national team, which will see it participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and later the World Cup qualifiers.

Initial reports revealed that the parties were far apart on negotiations with the federation balking at, among other things, the player’s initial proposal of US$7,000 per game for the World Cup qualifiers.  In response, the JFF insisted it was unable to go above US$2,000 and the parties have been unable to bridge that gap since.

In recent weeks, however, the parties reportedly moved closer to an agreement in key several areas.  However, several regular team players remained absent for the recent friendly against the United States, which the team lost 4-1, meaning some issues were yet to be resolved.  With the issue sharply diving opinion, some have accused the players of being mercenaries.  Insisting nothing could be further from the truth, however, Lawrence pointed to issues of inequality and unfairness in terms of how certain players were treated as another crucial sticking point.

“The negotiations are about more than one thing, it’s not about the money. People are getting injured flying economy across the world and when they reach, they only have two days to train and then play,” Lawrence told YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary.

 “The other day when we were going to Saudi Arabia, upon boarding my flight in London, I met with four English-based players who went into business class and they put me in economy. On the way back, the same thing. I play for an elite club in the topflight in Belgium. I have more caps than all four put together and these are the things that cause segregation. Enough seats were on the flight, so what do they leave me as a senior player to think? Where is the level of respect and professionalism? At the end of the day, I have a job to do and I try to do it to the best of my ability. It has happened to me, Lowe, Blake, Flemmings, all of us, and this is not the second or third time that this has happened,” he added.

 “Put players on direct flights, business class flights. We need medical staff. How can you have one physio for 24 players? You have one equipment manager, one man, and he is over 50. The JFF doesn’t think he needs some help? Then you have 12 members of their delegation. Why can’t we get additional medical staff and a physical coach on the technical team to aid our coach?” Lawrence asked.

The 28-year-old defender has made some 60 appearances for the Jamaica national team and was a part of the units that carried Jamaica to successive CONCACAF Gold Cup finals.

Kemar Lawrence has always wanted to make the move from Major League Soccer (MLS) to Europe and his move to Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, is a realisation of that dream but according to website Red Bulls News Network, the move is not solely driven by the player’s football.

According to the website, the Reggae Boy, while known as a fierce competitor on the field, providing yeoman’s service to the club since his time there, his decisions off the field have been problematic.

The website points to sources close to the organization which allege that Lawrence has had issues with the team since Jesse Marsch’s tenure as head coach.

Those sources say one of the many problems Lawrence displayed was a failure to report to the club after international duty.

“In some cases, he would remain out of contact with the team for several days, reportedly turning his phone off,” the website purported.

Red Bulls News Network cited an example last spring where the Philadelphia Union visited the New York stadium and delivered a beating on the team.

Lawrence was down to play in that game after coming off international duty but was a no-show. In contrast, Andre Blake, the Jamaican goalkeeper, who plays for the Union, started the game.

The website alleges that then coach of the Red Bulls, Chris Armas, covered for Lawrence pointing to his exertions during the international outing and being careful after a recent injury.

Hype Projects Agency, the organisation in charge of Lawrence’s career has denied the website’s claims, saying the left-back’s trade had everything to do with Anderlecht’s will to sign the player.

“Our client’s transfer was based solely on RSC Anderlecht’s desire to sign Kemar, regarded as one of, if not the best left-back in the MLS.  As our vision for Kemar’s growth we felt the timing and contract offer was in-line with where a player of his ability should be,” said Director of Soccer, Kevin Weinress.

Now that Kemar Lawrence has left the New York Red Bulls for a new adventure overseas, we couldn't help but ponder where he fits among the all-time pantheon of MLS left-backs. Yeah, you know what's coming next.

We combed through the league's first 24 seasons to put together a left-back honour roll. There was no concrete formula for comparing all these players, but only time spent at left-back in MLS was considered for judging.

For instance, Greg Vanney may have spent most of his European club and US national team career on the port side of defence, but the easy majority of his MLS games came as a centre back. Meanwhile, Ashley Cole was a bona fide star left-back for years in Europe, but that splendid CV and his overall quality couldn't help him measure up here.

It was incredibly difficult to narrow the list down to 10, and even harder to rank everyone; if you asked me to do this exercise next week, the order below would likely be shuffled. With such tough choices, it should be no wonder that we're left with a deep, impressive honourable mentions group: José Burciaga, Paul Caligiuri, Wilman Conde, Ramiro Corrales, Joe Franchino, Diego Gutiérrez, Jordan Harvey, Joevin Jones, Rónald Matarrita, Ambroise Oyongo and Heath Pearce.

The model of consistent solidity beat out some pretty good players to sneak into the list. He's as reliable in his own end as he's been supporting possession for a decade. Now with the New England Revolution, Sinovic was another reliable part of several good Sporting KC teams, racking up 254 appearances, an MLS Cup and three US Open Cup triumphs with the club. 

Chris Wingert

In an MLS age when many teams struggled to find a dependable up-and-down left-back, Real Salt Lake didn't usually have that problem. Wingert worked 289 total contests for the Rio Tinto bunch, and helped them raise MLS Cup in 2009. The Long Island native was a field asset from the jump, stepping up as a rookie to help Columbus Crew SC claim its first Supporters Shield.

Jonathan Bornstein

The Chicago Fire veteran is one of just eight players who have earned Best XI honours for playing exclusively as a left-back. He was also good enough to be one of only three players on this list to play in a World Cup. Before spending several years in Mexico and Israel, Bornstein ably darted up and down the flank in 139 total Chivas USA contests.

Jeff Agoos

Yes, a good portion of Agoos' career was spent at centre back, including the entirety of a fruitful second act with the San Jose Earthquakes. In the early days, however, he was the power left back in MLS. Most concerned with defending, but also an underrated long passer, he manned the station as D.C. United won a pile of trophies.

DaMarcus Beasley

Who knew during his accomplished earlier MLS stint as a winger Run DMB would eventually return past 30 to rate out as a top left-back. There were plenty of open roads to attack in the six years Beasley spent playing the position for the Houston Dynamo, but they rarely ran through his sector. His one-touch ability in the build also made life good for the attackers in front of him.

Gonzalo Segares

For the first half of his 255 Chicago Fire outings, Segares was a key cog on a pretty exciting team that always seemed to fall just short on the last step to MLS Cups but eased its agony a little with an Open Cup crown. The Costa Rican spent the remainder as one of the few steady contributors on a team falling apart. Through all of it, he was a slick customer whether taking the ball away or moving it forward.

Wade Barrett

For more than a decade, Barrett was an under-heralded flank bulldog for some terrific teams in San Jose and Houston. Well, we're here for some overdue heralding. He was a tough, speedy jack of all left back trades who would run through a wall to win. And win he did, celebrating an MLS Cup and a Supporters' Shield with the Quakes before captaining the Dynamo to consecutive titles.

Todd Dunivant

There's a lot of guys known for consistency in this ranking, but perhaps no one was maintained an unwavering level of play for longer than Dunivant. Week in and week out, he was organized with the ball and active at the back. After a very impressive rookie season contributed to an MLS Cup win in San Jose, he went on to play the lion's share of his 306 MLS games (and win four more Cups) with the LA Galaxy.

Kemar Lawrence

Everyone else in this list played well more than his 129 league games, but the Reggae Boy was good enough in his five Red Bulls seasons to have a strong top spot case. It was nearly impossible to get behind Lawrence when you came his way, and few left-backs anywhere shifted gears from defence to the overlap faster. He'll now be keeping opposing flankers brutally honest for Belgian giants Anderlecht.

Justin Morrow

The Toronto FC mainstay has basically been a poster boy for this position for a full decade now. Whether used as a wingback (which counts in this ranking) or a more textbook left-back role, Morrow raids forward with skill and supplemental end product. He's an underrated defender who's routinely among the top tacklers in the league.

He's an eager, adept build booster — left-shading attack stars like Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez don't shine as much without Morrow supporting and spurring their rushes. It's no accident he helped spark turnarounds in both San Jose and Toronto, or he's had a hand in two Supporters Shield wins and three MLS Cup appearances along the way.

As the January transfer window begins to close for another season, reports have emerged that Jamaica’s Kemar Lawrence might be heading to Belgium.

Multiple reports are claiming that the 27-year-old fullback is set to leave the New York Red Bulls for Anderlecht for a fee of about US$1.25 million pending the completion of a medical and the associated paperwork.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls from Harbour View FC in 2015. He made 118 appearances for the club, starting 19 of the 22 games he played for them last season.

He has 55 senior appearances for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Reggae Boyz left back Kemar Lawrence is no longer happy at his New York Red Bulls home.

Lawrence, one of the longest serving players at the club, recently had a request for an improved contract rejected, meaning last year’s MLS Best XI pick and 2019 All-Star, might be looking for greener pastures.

Lawrence, in 2018, signed a contract worth US$338,000, making him the highest-paid defender on the team last season.

Things have changed since then, however, as teammates have since earned new contracts, relegating the left backs status at the club.

It is also suggested that Lawrence is not happy with his remuneration when compared to other left backs around the league.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls in 2015 and has since made more than 120 appearances. His contract is set to expire in 2021.

Lawrence also has 58 caps for the Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, starting in 56 of those games, helping them to the Caribbean Cup in 2014 and two famous second places at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2015 and 2017 before this year’s semi-final exit.

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