Jesse Marsch has been named the new head coach of the Canada national team with immediate effect.

The former Leeds United boss, who has been out of work since his departure from Elland Road 15 months ago, has signed a deal to take charge of the Maple Leafs until July 2026.

Marsch fills the vacancy held by Mauro Biello on an interim basis following John Herdman's departure to MLS side Toronto FC last October.

And the 50-year-old is excited to get down to work with the 2026 World Cup co-hosts.

"The combination of the new leadership inside of Canada Soccer coupled with the potential of this dynamic player pool has inspired me," he said.

"I am ready and eager to take on this massive responsibility. My excitement and anticipation to get started are immense.

"It is an absolute honour to represent and lead the Canadian men's national team in our preparation for a home World Cup.

"One of my main goals will be to help unite the soccer community in Canada to support our efforts to be successful on and off the pitch.

Marsch will begin his tenure with friendlies against the Netherlands and France next month ahead of Canada's Copa America campaign, which launches against Argentina on June 21.

Kevin Blue, Canada’s soccer’s chief executive officer and general secretary, added: "Jesse is a transformational leader who will drive progress for our men's national team – and for Canadian soccer more broadly – as we enter the most important time in the domestic history of our sport.

"He's been a successful manager at the highest levels of global football, and is an experienced builder who will make a significant impact on the landscape of our sport."

Former West Indies Twenty20 captain Carlos Brathwaite expressed delight about being a part of the inaugural Princess Margaret Cricket to Conquer Cancer “dawn-to-dusk” street cricket event.

Brathwaite, who has in the past opened up about how cancer touched his life by way of his mother Jocelyn, a breast cancer survivor, will be among a host of Canadian and International cricket stars that will lend their support this new initiative, which is already being dubbed North America’s premier street cricket fundraiser.

By combining a global passion for street cricket with a desire to live in a world free from the fear of cancer, this inaugural event, scheduled for May 2025 in Mississauga, promises to not only generate critical funds for cancer research, but also foster a sense of community, and Brathwaite is eager to play his part.

“I am thrilled to witness cricket’s growing popularity in Canada – a testament to its welcoming and multicultural community. It truly is a global sport,” Brathwaite said during Thursday’s unveiling of the event.

“We all have a personal connection to cancer, me included. One thing that kept my mum going through her cancer treatment was her constant smile and positive outlook. I look forward to making this event a celebration for survivors and an inspiration for all those during their journey,” he added.

The fundraising initiative will support The Princess Margaret, one of the top 5 cancer centres in the world, and it will see dozens of co-ed teams made up of rookies, ringers, celebrities and players of all ages and skill levels taking part in the cricket tournament.

Meanwhile, Dr. Amit Oza, head of the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, is expecting the event to have a lasting impact on cancer research and also the sport, as funds raised from this event will accelerate cancer research, education and clinical care happening at the centre.

“The effects from this fundraiser will know no bounds. Funds raised by our passionate community of participants help lead to the breakthroughs that will help patients here in Canada and around the world. I am delighted we can celebrate this amazing sport while creating a global impact on cancer research,” Oza shared.

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are set to cross swords in the group stages of this year’s fourth edition of the Concacaf Nations League, as both were drawn in Group B of League A for the 2024/25 campaign which is scheduled to kick off in September.

This year’s Concacaf Nations League will again be contested in a three-league format –Leagues A, B and C –and will see the Confederation’s 41 senior men’s national teams doing battle during the FIFA match windows of September, October, and November 2024. The semi-finals and finals of the tournament, which serves as the qualifiers for next summer’s 2025 Concacaf Gold Cup, are scheduled for March 2025.

The teams have been grouped across the respective Leagues based on their results from the 2023/24 staging. The Reggae Boyz and their Soca Warriors counterparts, who contested the business end of the competition for the first time in that campaign, will be hoping to do so again on this occasion.

They are among 12 teams, split in two groups of six teams each to contest League A in a “Swiss style” league system, with each team playing a total of four games (two at home and two away).

Jamaica, last edition’s semi-finalist, and Trinidad and Tobago, who made the quarterfinals, are drawn alongside Honduras, Cuba, Nicaragua, and French Guiana, while Group A comprises, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Suriname, and Guyana.

After group stage play in September and October, the first and second-place finishers of each group, will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will join the four top-ranked League A teams, Mexico, United States, Panama, and Canada. The quarterfinals will be played in a home-and-away format, with the winner of each fixture, on aggregate, set to secure a berth in next year’s Finals.

Meanwhile, League B will feature 16 teams divided into four groups of four teams. Each team will play every team in its group twice. The groups were drawn as follows:
 
Group A -El Salvador, Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Bonaire

Group B -Curacao, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Saint Martin
Group C -Haiti, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and St Maarten
Group D -Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominic 
Matches in each group will be played at a centralized venue instead of the previous home-and-away format, to alleviate travel challenges that Member Associations face.

The third best-ranked teams in each group will host the September matches, the second best-ranked teams will host the October matches, and the best-ranked teams will host the decisive November matches.

Over in League C, which consists of nine teams, divided into three groups of three teams, the format takes a similar shape, where each team will play every team in its group twice.

Group A -Barbados, Bahamas, and US Virgin Islands
Group B -Belize, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Anguilla
Group C-Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cayman Islands, and British Virgin Islands

Where centralized venues are concerned, the second highest-ranked teams in each group will host the September matches, and the highest-ranked teams will host the October matches.

Schedule:

Group Stage: September 2-10, October 7-15, and November 11-19, 2024
Quarterfinals: November 11-19, 2024
Semifinals: March 20, 2025
Final and Third Place Match: March 23, 2025

As expected, Frazsiers Whip will be Jamaica’s representative in the inaugural Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup, a new annual tournament that includes the best clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean and crowns the region’s women’s club champion.

The tournament is also the sole path through which clubs in Concacaf can qualify for the new FIFA Women’s Club World Cup, which FIFA has committed to launching in the near future.

By virtue of winning the 2022/23 Jamaica Women’s Premier League, Frazsiers Whip booked their spot for the first edition of the competition, which will feature 11 clubs from seven Member Associations.

The other confirmed participants are Canada’s 2023 League One Women’s Inter-Provincial Championship winners Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Costa Rica’s LD Alajuelense, Mexico’s Tigres UANL Femenil, as well as the United States trio of Gotham FC, San Diego Wave FC and Portland Thorns FC.

El Salvador and Panama are yet to confirm their representatives for their solitary spots, while Mexico’s two other representatives will be known at the conclusion of the Liga MX Clausura.

GILBERT...it is more football and more exposure for our local players.

Interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert, who guided Frazsiers Whip to league honours, welcomed the move by Concacaf, which he believes will offer some exposure for local players, despite the gulf in class between other leagues around the region and Jamaica's Women's League.

"It's important for local football, however, I don't think any of our local teams will be able to match up with the teams from Mexico or United States. Those clubs are professional clubs playing in a fully professional leagues, while ours is nowhere close to their standard," Gilbert told SportsMax.TV in a recent interview.

"But it is good, it is more football and more exposure for our local players. At the same time, I think it sends a signal of how important it is for us to look at what we are doing in terms of resources and surfaces for our local teams. So, it is good move by Concacaf, and I think it's for us now here in Jamaica to look at what we are doing and try to improve the quality of our league," he added.

The official draw for the tournament is scheduled for June 6.

Action in the Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup is expected to get underway in August, with a Preliminary Round, followed by Group and Knockout Stage play. The Preliminary Round Play-in will be a single-leg match between two clubs, with the winner advancing to the Group Stage. 

The Group Stage will feature 10 clubs divided into two groups of five clubs each. Each club will play every club in its group once, for a total of four matches per club (two at home and two away). At the conclusion of Group Stage play, the group winners and runners-up (four clubs) will progress to the competition’s final four. 

The semifinals, third-place encounter, and final, where the first-ever Concacaf Women’s Champions Cup winners will be crowned, will be centralized in a venue to be announced.

British Virgin Islands booked their spot in the second round of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, following a 4-2 penalty shootout win over US Virgin Islands in their play-off contest at the AO Shirley Recreation Ground in Road Town, BVI, on Tuesday.

After playing out a 1-1 stalemate in the first leg, both teams again failed to separate themselves in a goalless second-leg encounter and so it was down to the dreaded penalties to decide the outcome. In the end, it was British Virgin Islands that held their nerves best from the 12-yard spot to progress to the business round of qualification.

They will join Jamaica, Dominica, Dominican Republic and Guatemala in Group E for the second round of the qualifiers, which are scheduled to run between June 2024 and June 2025. A total of 30 countries will vie for spots in the final round. 

The final round which will be played between September and November 2025, will see teams battling for five spots to the 2026 FIFA World Cup to be hosted jointly by Concacaf powerhouses Mexico, United States and Canada.

Of the five teams, three will earn direct qualification, while the other two spots will be decided via a play-offs.

 

Trinidad and Tobago's hopes of an historic qualification to the Copa America went up in smokes, as they suffered a 0-2 loss to Canada in their 2023/24 Concacaf Nations League Play-In encounter at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.

Cyle Larin (61st) and Jacob Shaffelburg (90+1) struck in the second half to lift Canada, who will now join Jamaica, United States, Mexico and Panama in the prestigious CONMEBOL tournament to be hosted in the United States in June. For Angus Eve and his Soca Warriors, it is back to the rebuilding phase to challenge for FIFA World Cup qualification, which also starts in June.

 

Canada started off controlling possession, but it was Trinidad and Tobago who nearly got the first goal in the 18th, when a counterattack ended with Levi Garcia swinging a shot just wide.

Meanwhile, Canada fired a pair of warning shots when Jonathan David shot wide in the 22nd, and then Larin’s effort in the 26th, was saved by Trinidad and Tobago custodian Denzil Smith.

The chances kept coming for both sides. Trinidad and Tobago's defenders Andre Raymond swooped in to steal a pass and fired wide in the 47th, before David had a header cleared off the goal-line in the 55th.

The match was due for a goal and Canada inevitably found the go-ahead goal duly obliged, as a nice build-up from Tajon Buchanan and Ike Ugbo set up a fine strike from Larin.

Down a goal, Trinidad and Tobago were forced to open up and commit more numbers forward. Garcia proved a menace to the Canadian defence, but the Soca Warriors lacked composure in the final third.

Trinidad and Tobago mounted several late forays forward, including a chance for Garcia in the 85th, but the veteran striker watched as his effort was saved by Maxime Crepeau, in goal for Canada.

However, Canada eventually doubled the lead and confirmed victory courtesy of Shaffelburg, who drove home from close range after picking up a pass from David in time added.

If the confidence exuded by captain Aubrey David and striker Levi Garcia is anything to go by, then Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors are poised to give Canada a tough run in their Copa America playoff contest in Frisco, Texas on Saturday.

Both David and Garcia declared intentions of the Angus Eve-coached team to leave everything on the pitch in a bid to upset their more fancied opponents and book an historic spot in the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America.

The winner of the one-off encounter, will be placed alongside Chile, Peru and reigning Fifa World Cup champions Argentina in Group A for the June 20 to July 14 tournament to be held in the United States.

David, who is expected to have his hands full against a Canadian attack which includes Mallorca forward Cyle Larin, Lille attacker Jonathan David and electric Bayern Munich flanker Alphonso Davies, is determined to lead by example from his centre back position.

"With it being a one-off game, we have to give everything. We are 90 minutes away from making history and changing our lives forever. That's motivation to give everything, to die basically on the field. Anything can happen. We just need to believe in ourselves and try to make history," David told TT Football Association (TTFA) media.

"It's very important for the country and very important for our careers personally and as a team. I think we just need to settle and get focused, and take every day as a step. I think it is a big opportunity for us as a nation to be in the Copa America. It's the biggest thing for us after World Cup (qualification),” the veteran defender, who assumed the captaincy during last year’s Concacaf Nations League A campaign, added.

Meanwhile, Garcia, who has battled numerous injuries during the ongoing season with Greek champions AEK Athens, wants to deliver on the big stage after missing several games in the twin island republic’s Nations League A campaign.

Now back in form at AEK where he has 14 goals in 20 games in all competitions this season, Levi is motivated to put the red, white and black on his broad shoulders.

"It feels good to be back. It's always a pleasure to represent our country. We know the game that's at stake. From now, I usually picture myself either scoring or celebrating," Garcia said.

"I start preparing my mind from now for 90-plus minutes, fighting for every ball. I start seeing myself winning tackles, winning duels, winning everything and trying my best to get the win,” he added.

That said, the veteran striker expressed delight that he has the opportunity to not only represent his country again, but more importantly to possibly achieve a feat that would inspire younger players.

"A lot of people don't know how grateful we are to represent our country. There are a lot of younger guys looking at us for hope and for a way out. These types of games and these types of opportunities are what we need to grasp with both hands and try to set the platform right for these guys,” Garcia noted.

 

Great Britain will play Canada, Finland and Argentina in the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals in Manchester in September.

Leon Smith’s side will hope for a less nail-biting conclusion than in the same city last year, when Dan Evans and Neal Skupski saved match points to beat France in the deciding match in front of a jubilant record crowd, and the draw appears to have been relatively kind.

Canada, led by Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, were champions in 2022 but lack strength in depth.

Finland were last year’s surprise package, making it through to the semi-finals for the first time, while Argentina boast three top-30 players, but indoor hard courts should favour Britain.

The ties will take place at the AO Arena from September 10 to 15, with the top two teams progressing to November’s Final Eight event.

Having beaten France, Australia and Switzerland last year, Britain fell at the first hurdle in Malaga, losing out to Novak Djokovic’s Serbia.

Defending champions Italy will host a group in Bologna also featuring the Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil, while Australia, Czech Republic, France and Spain will contest a heavyweight Group B in Valencia.

The final group, containing Germany, USA, Slovakia and Chile, will take place in the Chinese city of Zhuhai.

The effects of the fallout between Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz World Cup players and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), has started to set in, as the country continues to slip down the FIFA/Coco-Cola Women’s World Rankings, and now sit 42nd.

After achieving an all-time high of 37 and 1589 points in August, following the Reggae Girlz historic Round of 16 FIFA Women’s World Cup exploits in Australia, the country’s women’s programme slipped five places and now has 1543 points on the latest rankings released on Friday.

This follows 0-2 and 1-2 defeats to Canada, as well as a 1-2 defeat and 1-1 stalemate against Panama, followed by 2-2 and 1-1 stalemates with Guatemala, over the September and December windows. Their most recent fixtures in the February window ended in 1-5 and 0-1 losses to Chile.

By virtue of the slip, Jamaica’s women lost ground on Concacaf rival Mexico, who inched four places up to 31st on 1668 points. Other Concacaf teams United States slipped to fourth despite their Women’s Gold Cup triumph, while Canada inched one place up to ninth.

World champions Spain remains atop the rankings, with England, France in second and third. Germany (fifth), Sweden (sixth), Japan (seventh), Netherlands (eighth) and Brazil (10th), completing the top 10.

Other Concacaf teams, Costa Rica slipped one place to 44th, Haiti slipped two places to 53rd, Panama held firm at 55th, and Trinidad and Tobago inched one place up to 77th.

Meanwhile, Guatemala held firm at 80th, with Puerto Rico making a big move up 18 places to its best ever ranking of 85th, while Guyana and Cuba both slipped three places to 90th and 92nd, respectively, with El Salvador (97th), the other team from the confederation in the top 100.

Having selected what, he believes to be a formidable squad, Trinidad and Tobago’s Head coach Angus Eve is now hopeful that is Soca Warriors will deliver the goods when the lock horns with Canada in their Copa America playoff encounter in Frisco, Texas, next week.

In fact, Eve would love nothing more than for March 23 to mark another special day in the annals of the twin island republic’s football history by taking the Canadians scalp and, by extension, securing a spot in the prestigious CONMEBOL Copa America.

The winner of the one-off encounter will make a debut appearance at the Copa America tournament, where they will contest group A alongside Chile, Peru and reigning Fifa World Cup champions Argentina. United States, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama are the other Concacaf teams in the tournament.

“We know how important the game is, this would be one of the most prestigious tournaments to go and represent our country in, if we get the victory. (A win) will put us on a different level, on a different map. That would open up a lot of doors for our players,” Eve said during a press conference shortly after naming his 23-player squad.

However, in order to win, Eve is well aware that the first need to defend well to keep the Canadians at bay, and also showcase their attacking prowess.

“We need to defend well—it’s like David against Goliath. It’s top players that they have, so we have to be astute defensively but also offensively. We have to express ourselves so that we can come out with a victory,” Eve declared.

The tactician has included Greece-based brothers, Levi and Judah Garcia in his squad, as both recently signalled a return to form from respective injuries.

“We’re very optimistic of Levi being fit and ready to play. He’s been doing well in [the Greek] League. He’s gone through injuries but we’re very happy to see the form that he’s in. Judah had a back injury and then a groin injury, so he was not available for us. He is back playing, he’s scoring goals, and we think that he can add goals from midfield,” Eve shared.

He also welcomed the return of Atlanta United midfielder Ajani Fortune to the Soca Warriors setup after a series of injuries.

“Ajani had some injuries that affected him, also he was fighting for a place in [his] team. We left him out sometimes by mutual consent, based on injury or a particular situation that was happening at his club,” Eve revealed.

That said, Eve declared that he selected his 23-man squad with a specific skillset in mind.

“[We looked at] the flexibility of the players, players being able to play multiple positions, based on the fact that we may want to change something during the game, and also the level of competition that the players are playing in, at this point in time. Also, giving the players who brought us to this point the opportunity to finish the job,” he ended.

Soca Warriors Squad: Christopher Biggette (Defence Force), Adrian Foncette (Police FC), Denzil Smith (Club Sando FC), Aubrey David (CS Cartagines), Ross Russell Jr (La Horquetta Rangers), Jesse Williams (Chattanooga FC), Robert Primus, Alvin Jones (both Police FC), Andre Raymond (GD Vilar De Perdizes), Shannon Gomez (San Antonio FC), Justin Garcia (Defence Force), Noah Powder (Northern Colorado Hailstorm), Daniel Phillips (St Johnstone FC), Kevon Goddard (Defence Force), Neveal Hackshaw (Oakland Roots), Andre Rampersad (HFX Wanderers), Nathaniel James (Mount Pleasant FA), Kaïlé Auvray ( Mount Pleasant FA), Real Gill (Northern Colorado Hailstorm), Levi Garcia (AEK Athens) Judah Garcia (AEK Athens B), Reon Moore (Pacific FC), Ajani Fortune (Atlanta United).

 

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell described Theo Bair’s international call-up as just reward for his hard work and ambition along with the efforts of many others at the club.

Bair has been included in the Canada squad ahead of their CONCACAF Nations League play-off against Trinidad and Tobago on March 23.

The former St Johnstone striker, 24, won his second and most recent cap in 2020 after scoring on his international debut and has been recalled after producing nine goals and three assists in his past 10 cinch Premiership games for Motherwell.

“I know when Theo came here he had a real ambition to back get in that Canadian squad. It’s his just reward, he has been working tirelessly,” said Kettlewell, who has also seen the likes of Liam Kelly, Adam Devine, Lennon Miller, Bevis Mugabi and Davor Zdravkovski get international recognition.

“We are delighted for him and all the lads who have had international call-ups.

“I think he is the most humble person I have ever met. He thinks he has loads to go, as do we.

“When you look into how he is performing, I thought there were so many good qualities early in the season, but you can see how much it evolves when there’s a bit of confidence in there, once he starts hitting the back of the net.

“It’s just fine margins, different types of movement, utilising his frame and his physicality, probably getting him fitter. His work rate is top drawer, he presses from the front.

“It’s taken him time to get there and big Theo will acknowledge that, because he is probably a bit of a baby when you look at the game time he has played.

“He didn’t come here with loads of minutes, 24 years old doesn’t mean you are sitting there with 150-200 appearances. I believe when you have that trust and opportunity to play, that’s when you see the fruits of your labour.

“Now with that level of confidence, you start to see him maybe take part in elements of the game where before he was maybe looking at one of his team-mates.”

Motherwell recently gave an insight into the work they and Bair have been doing behind the scenes to spark his prolific run, including footage of video analysis sessions.

“Ross Clarkson and Graeme McArthur, our two analysts, are absolutely sensational at what they do, the level of detail they go to, but the bit that goes unnoticed is the work ethic,” Kettlewell said. “We feel we have that in the staff in general.

“We have players who go to lengths to get the best out of their career but also all the staff have that same vision and ambition for your career.

“But we need guys who are coachable and want the best out of their career. If we get that we will give them every minute of every day to meet the goals they set themselves but also what we think they can get to.”

Meanwhile Jon Obika has suffered another hamstring injury in training having already had three lay-offs with a similar issue over the past 12 months.

“I don’t have a specific update, we will have him scanned and find out what’s going on,” Kettlewell said.

New signing Moses Ebiye could feature against Aberdeen on Saturday but Kettlewell warned the 26-year-old Nigerian striker had not played a competitive game for some time, having left Norwegian side Aalesund in January.

“He has taken part in every training session and has had minutes on the pitch in a bounce game,” he said. “But I need to manage expectations. I think he can possibly give us something at this stage but it’s very, very early.”

Amidst the turmoil that has overshadowed the ongoing Jamaica Women's Premier League (JWPL), there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the seven participating clubs to chase after, as one of those clubs will be the country's representative in the inaugural Concacaf Women's Champions Cup.

This Women's Champions Cup, the region’s first official women’s continental club championship, follows the successful conclusion of the inaugural Concacaf Women's Gold Cup, which was won by United States on Sunday. The preliminary round and group stage matches of the club tournament are scheduled for August, September, and October this year, with a final four centralized semifinals and final set for May 2025.

Hailed as another strategic move in women’s football, the Women's Champions Cup will be an annual competition that will pit the best clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean against each other, and will crown a regional women’s club champion. The tournament will also be the sole path through which Concacaf region clubs can qualify for the new FIFA Women’s Club World Cup, which FIFA has committed to launching in the near future.

Well aware of the gulf in class between other leagues around the region and Jamaica's Women's League, interim Reggae Girlz Head coach Xavier Gilbert welcomed the move by Concacaf, which he believes will offer some exposure for local players.

"It's important for local football, however, I don't think any of our local teams will be able to match up with the teams from Mexico or United States. Those clubs are professional clubs playing in a fully professional leagues, while ours is nowhere close to their standard," Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

"But it is good, it is more football and more exposure for our local players. At the same time, I think it sends a signal of how important it is for us to look at what we are doing in terms of resources and surfaces for our local teams. So, it is good move by Concacaf, and I think it's for us now here in Jamaica to look at what we are doing and try to improve the quality of our league," he added.