The arraignment for Jamaica Reggae Boy Darren Mattocks has been set for February 27 when he is expected to answer to charges of insurance fraud.

Mattocks, who represents MLS club FC Cincinnati, is expected to answer charges related to one count of making false, fraudulent or incomplete issuance claims and another of theft by deception.

According to a probable cause Affidavit obtained and reported on by ESPN, the player's legal woes stem from an accident in which he was involved on January 20.  The reports claim the Jamaican was traveling from New York City to Cincinnati on State Route 70, when he lost control of his vehicle near Monongahela, Pennsylvania.  The vehicle, a 2018 BMW X6, slid across an ice patch and then flipped over the embankment.  Mattocks and his passenger were taken to a nearby hospital, where the footballer did not require treatment and the passenger was treated and released.

According to the affidavit, the insurance on the player’s car had lapsed at the time.  It claims Mattocks then took out a new policy at 11:42 a.m. that day and then filed a claim on the insurance three days later.  With the accident involving a rollover, it was deemed a total loss and valued at $48,234.48.  When contacted, the footballer claimed he had acquired the insurance policy at 5 a.m. on the morning of the accident, and that the accident took place around noon.

An investigation was launched by the insurance company and an arrest warrant issued on December 5 after irregularities were found with the player's claims.

According to a statement released by Mattocks’ attorney, the incident was merely a misunderstanding.

“My client respects both the laws of both his native country [Jamaica] and the United States. He has never been in any kind of criminal trouble whatsoever in his life, and this matter is merely a misunderstanding regarding insurance laws here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to clearing up this matter. We have been cooperating with the courts and continue to do so. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously,” the statement read.

Reggae Boyz team manager, Roy Simpson, has pledged support for Darren Mattocks and said no decision would be taken regarding his position with the national team until a verdict in the case has been arrived at.

Mattocks will formally be advised of the charges against him on February 27, though reports have already circulated that he has been charged with one count of making a false, fraudulent or incomplete insurance claim, and another count of theft by deception in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

“When I spoke with him, he was quite private with it. I didn’t press him about it. I just reached out to him to let him understand that the entire nation is aware of what has happened and that if he needs our support in any way, shape or form that he thinks we are capable of executing, we will assist,” Simpson explained on Jamaican radio station Hitz 92 FM during its programme, Sports Grill, earlier this week.

According to reports, the charges stem from a single-car accident on January 20 last year.

The reports, alleged to have come from the Attorney General’s office, said Mattocks and a passenger were aboard a BMW X6 from New York City to Cincinnati on State Route 70, near Monongahela, Pennsylvania, when the Reggae Boy lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

According to those same reports, the insurance on the vehicle had lapsed at the time of the accident and Mattocks is alleged to have taken out a new policy hours after the accident before making a claim.

Still, Simpson does not want to make too many waves until the case is complete.

“I wouldn’t want to pre-empt a verdict because you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you defend a situation and it goes the other way, so everybody is awaiting the outcome,” said Simpson.

The team manager also indicated that Mattocks was confident he would be vindicated when all was said and done.

“When I spoke to him he was quite confident that he would be vindicated so we await,” said Simpson.

The court case may have a very deleterious impact on Mattocks career in the MLS where he plays for FC Cincinnati.

Other reports had suggested that Mattocks, who has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for Cincinnati, was at odds with the coach and, in essence, the franchise.

“He also pointed out and we were aware that the relationship between himself and FC Cincinnati had been strained prior to this situation,” said Simpson, responding to reports that former Cincinnati coach, Ron Jans had said Mattocks was not in the team’s plans this season.

“It is a fact that he had asked to be traded and this situation has put a hurdle in his way. Hopefully, he can get through it and then start playing again,” said Simpson.

Mattocks is being represented by David J Shrager, who has pointed to Mattocks record of being a law-abiding citizen as part proof that the situation is just a misunderstanding.

Mattocks is a veteran of eight years in the MLS, playing in 207 league games and scoring 40 goals for Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, and DC United, before his move to Cincinnati.

Mattocks has also turned out for the Reggae Boyz 45 times, scoring 15 goals along the way.

“My client respects both the laws of both his native country [Jamaica] and the United States. He has never been in any kind of criminal trouble whatsoever in his life, and this matter is merely a misunderstanding regarding insurance laws here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to clearing up this matter. We have been cooperating with the courts and continue to do so. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously,” read a statement from Shrager’s office.

Reggae Boyz striker Darren Mattocks is in hot water as he is facing two felony charges in Pennsylvania, according to media reports from the United States.

The Jamaica national team coach Theodore Whitmore has revealed a friendly next month against the Spanish region of Catalonia will be used to assess players who could potentially represent the Reggae Boyz.

The historic match-up against the Catalonia squad will be one of two matches scheduled for the national team next month.  The Jamaicans are expected to play a match against Bermuda on March 11, before taking on the Spanish region on March 30. 

According to the federation, while the match against Bermuda is expected to consist of mostly local players, the match in Spain will consist of overseas-based players.

“One of the things we will emphasizing is the conditioning of the players and how they can operate in various positions,” Whitmore said of the friendly.

“There isn’t a lot to it.  It’s just for them to go out and enjoy themselves.”

The Reggae Boyz are currently ranked 48th in the world.  The Catalonia national football team is not affiliated with either FIFA or UEFA and is therefore not allowed to participate in either the FIFA World Cup or the UEFA European Championship.  Since 1904, the team has played nearly 200 games against various national, regional and club teams.

 

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.

Social media is abuzz with excitement over rumours that Jamaican International, Leon Bailey, is a target of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Bailey, who turns out for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, had a phenomenal first year there but the last season and a half have been a little more mute.

Still, Liverpool fans believe targeting Bailey, who made his international debut for Jamaica last year, is a good idea because the winger could flourish under the guidance of Klopp and could be a good replacement for Jadon Sancho, who is a marked man.

According to the ‘Anfield Edition’, Sancho still remains a target for Liverpool, however, with interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Borussia Dortmund, being an unwilling seller, a deal may be difficult.

Rumours of Bailey moving to England aren’t new either, with links to all the big clubs coming before he left Genk in Belgian’s top-flight league for Germany.

“But under Klopp, he will be a class player,” read one of the many comments.

“Great talent with a huge upside Yes please,” read another.

Bailey has scored just three goals in eight league games for Leverkusen this season but much of the period has been spent nursing injuries as well as on suspension from two red cards.

Bailey, has so far, played five games for the Reggae Boyz and has scored one goal.

The winger started with the Phoenix All Stars Academy, the brainchild of his father and agent, Craig Butler, where he stayed from 2009-2011 before moving to FC Liefering and then to Trencin. From 2015-17, Bailey was a Genk player until he was sold to Leverkusen for whom he has played 75 times and scored 17 goals.

With the Olympics in Tokyo just months away, Japan has ramped up their preparations and showed their might on Saturday with a comprehensive 9-0 thrashing of Jamaica’s Young Reggae Boyz at the Transcosmos Stadium in Nagasaki.

The under 22s from Jamaica were no match for their hosts, who are also preparing for the Asian Cup next month, a competition which also acts as a qualifier for Tokyo.

Though Japan has already booked their place in Tokyo by virtue of being the hosts, they would still like to do well in the Asian Cup and have laid down a marker for their rivals.

Japan will be in Group B of the Under-23 Asian Cup, where they will first take on Saudi Arabia on January 9, 2020, before turning their attention to  Syria on the 12th.

Qatar is next for the Japan side before what they will hope are quarterfinal match-ups. There are four groups with the top two from each making the quarterfinal.

Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore was the man in charge of the under-22s, saying the encounter would have given him the chance to take a look at some of the emerging talent from the country with a bid to fitting them into senior World Cup qualification games.

In January, former Portmore United attacking midfielder, Javon East will be embarking on a three-year stint with Primera División de Costa Rica outfit, Santos de Guápiles, when the new season begins.

Back in June, East went on loan with the Costa Rican top-tier club and has impressed enough to be offered a more permanent switch.

However, East, who made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, while happy with the club’s decision to see him as important to their future, is also looking elsewhere to secure that future.

“I am feeling good about this because it is a start to push my career towards Europe,” said East.

“I think that I just have to start the season good and finish it good in order to stand a chance to make it into Europe.”

East, had a phenomenal start to life with Santos, scoring 10 goals in 18 appearances for the club, making him its leading scorer last season, just three off the top goalscorer in the league.

East, though, has set his sights much higher, saying he wants to, at least, double that tally in the upcoming season.

“My aim for next season is to score 20-plus goals because from the first week that I went there, I adapted to their style of play and so I know that I can hit this target,” he said.

With much bigger targets, East, one of three foreigners in the Santos squad, believes he will have to do more adapting because he is no longer and unknown quantity.

“I think next season is going to be a bit tougher because my opponents in the league know about me now, and so I am going to have to double my work ethic going forward in the competition,” he said.

Reggae Boy Peter-Lee Vassell has been announced as Gatorade’s newest brand ambassador on Wednesday at the Pepsi Cola Jamaica office, in a signing ceremony.

The deal was sealed on Wednesday between Pepsi-Cola Jamaica and Vassell that will see the Reggae Boyz as the rehydration drink's brand ambassador for a year.

Speaking about the partnership, the 21-year-old from St James stated, "I’m grateful and honoured knowing that Gatorade is an international brand and I get to represent them, especially as a young player. I’m looking forward to a partnership where we grow together."

Michael Lopez Castillo, commercial manager of Pepsi Cola Jamaica expressed his delight.

“The move is a reiteration of Gatorade’s commitment to encouraging young athletes and partnering with them on their athletic journey by helping them improve their performance through delivering proper hydration. Peter takes being proud to be a Jamaican to another level and we want to be there with him on his journey. We are proud to partner with him and welcome him to team Gatorade.”

Explaining the company’s decision, brand manager, Cornelia Nathan further added, “Peter personifies the spirit of the brand through his persevering attitude and unwavering spirit. We believe that Gatorade is the perfect fit to partner with him as he sets out on his blossoming football journey.”

The midfielder is currently signed to Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles Football Club.

He was selected as the number 40th pick by Los Angeles Football Club in the 2019 US  Major League Soccer (MLS) Draft in January.

Vassell was selected in the second round as the 16th pick.

He is one of the few players who was not selected out of college, as he has been playing professionally for Harbour View FC since 2017.

Reggae Boyz defender Alvas Powell was selected by David Beckham's newly formed Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami FC.

Powell, who signed from Eastern Conference MLS side, FC Cincinnati, was selected in the second round (third overall) of the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft on Tuesday evening.  FC Cincinnati will receive $50,000 in General Allocation Money in compensation for the selection.

The 25-year-old Powell made 13 appearances for FC Cincinnati, including 10 starts in the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2019. The Jamaican was acquired from the Portland Timbers via trade on December 27, 2018. 

Powell made 14 appearances for the Reggae Boyz and scored his first two international goals in a CONCACAF Nations League group stage match in Guyana on September 9.

Inter Miami co-owner Beckham will welcome his former club LA Galaxy to Florida for the new franchise's MLS home opener.

MLS is welcoming two new teams for the 2020 season, with Inter and Nashville SC taking the league to 26 franchises.

The full schedule for the next campaign is still to be confirmed, with the 2019 season ending just over a week ago with the Seattle Sounders defeating Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final.

But Inter have announced their first official home fixture, with Beckham's team to come up against Galaxy at their temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale on March 14.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will need a minimum of US$2million a year to fund its objectives of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2021.

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz, thanks to their performances in the CONCACAF Nations Cup, have continued to move up the Coca Cola World Rankings and now lie at 45.

That jump means the side, apart from continuing to lead all Caribbean countries are now third in the CONCACAF region after surpassing Costa Rica.

Only Mexico at 11th and the United States at 23, find themselves above the Jamaicans.

Canada, who beat the United States in CONCACAF Nations League action two weeks ago, have moved up to 69 to lie sixth in the region.

Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore had expoused the importance of improving the team’s ranking ahead of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

Whitmore had explained to the country’s football governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), that getting the team’s ranking up was paramount to his efforts as coach and it seems somebody was listening.

The new format for World Cup Qualifying means the region’s top six teams, based on the FIFA Rankings earn automatic passage to the hexagonal round of qualifiers.

In addition to qualification to the hexagonal, the Reggae Boyz are also just one point away from qualification to Group A of the CONCACAF Nations League, as well as an automatic bert to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

 

Jamaica international Leon Bailey has picked up another hamstring injury, just days after the Bayer Leverkusen winger stated on social media that he had fully recovered from a similar setback on September 18.

The 22-year-old was expected to be in Bayer squad for the German Bundesliga game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday. However, just before the start of the match that Bayer lost 3-0, Bailey announced the further setback on his Instagram page.

"Found out this morning, the day of the game that I tore my hamstring again and now ruled out for some weeks," the post said.

"It's really been a rough month and half for me but I do trust in God and God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. Thanks to everyone who's been truly supportive during this difficult period. I promise I will come back stronger than ever before."

Earlier this week, Bailey had posted on his Instagram page that "I am back now, and I feel very good.  But of course, after an injury, it's important not to rush anything. Maybe I come off the bench,” Bailey said in making reference to the game against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.

"I think I'll be in the squad, but I do not know if I'll start."

Just four weeks ago, Bailey suffered a muscle injury and was replaced at half-time in a 1-2 loss to Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.

Bailey has scored two goals in six games for Bayer this season.

Watford skipper Troy Deeney could play for the Reggae Boyz if he wanted to, and the country’s federation, The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has asked him as much.

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