Kingston, Jamaica - Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore has urged his players to get serious as the team begins a serious of local training camps in preparation for the Concacaf Nations League Qualifying play-offs.
The Jamaica coach fired a warning salvo reminding players that though the local club season may have ended, there will be no holiday period for national senior representatives.
"Gone are the days that being out of season means being out of shape," Whitmore said.
Pointing to the start of the new confederation-wide Concacaf Nations League, the former Jamaica midfielder underlined the importance of proper preparation and commitment from those who wish to be a part of the journey.
"We need to strengthen the framework for players to know the significance of what is ahead for the national team [because] we are entering an extremely competitive and serious period for our football," he said.
Whitmore, the star of Jamaica's historic France '98 World Cup run, has called 21 local-based players to the first of a series of camps, with the current one underway at the UWI/Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence. The four-day exercise, which started on Monday, will end on Thursday.
In addition to building chemistry and enforcing a sense of mission and purpose, Whitmore noted that the local camps also aim to assess players on a rotational basis to measure see the conditions of players "and establish training regimes with all the players".
Jamaica, the Caribbean number one ranked team on the new Concacaf ranking index, will open its Nations League Qualifying phase against neighbor the Cayman Islands on September 9, in Kingston.
The Boyz will then fly to Bonaire for a meeting with the tiny island on October 14, and are home to Suriname on November 17.
Jamaica will close out the qualifying play-offs with an away meeting with Central American outfit El Salvador on March 23, 2019.
Following the qualifying rounds, based on performances teams will be placed in Leagues A, B, and C of the three-tier Concacaf Nations League.
The Concacaf League embraces a promotion and demotion system and will serve to seed teams and serve, importantly, as a qualifying platform for the expanded Gold Cup, which will have for the first time 16 teams for 2019 edition.
Jamaica training squad: Ricardo Morris, Maalique Foster, and Jovan East (Portmore United Football Club); Damion Hyatt, Fabian Reid, and Marvin Morgan (Arnett Gardens Football Club); Javain Brown and Peter-Lee Vassell (Harbour View); Tevin Shaw (Tivoli Gardens Football Club); Amal Knight and Fabion McCarthy (UWI Football Club); Jaedine White, Clifton Woodbine, Kaheem Paris, Chevone Marsh, and Alex Marshall (Cavalier Soccer Club); Shawn Lawes, Ricardo Thomas, and Cardel Benbow (Waterhouse Football Club); Ladale Richie (Montego Bay United Football Club); and Jamiel Hardware (Boys' Town Football Club).