SEATTLE, Washington - The Martinique National Team got the attention of many in last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup with a strong group stage performance in which they defeated Nicaragua 2-0 and nearly earned a draw with eventual champions the United States.
Spearheading Martinique's effort was MF Jordy Delem. The Seattle Sounders man started all three matches for Les Matinino and believes the team took a step forward in last summer's tournament.
"You could see that everyone got better during the tournament," said Delem in an exclusive interview with CONCACAF.com.
Delem arrived to Seattle in 2016, first playing with Seattle Sounders 2 before being promoted to the first team where he has featured in 21 matches. For Delem, his time in MLS has proven beneficial when on national team duty.
"When you play in a team like this, with good players, you have to raise your level and I get to share that experience with the national team," said Delem.
This fall Delem and his international teammates will shift their focus to 2019/20 CONCACAF Nations League qualifying, which 25-year-old sees as another chance for the national team to improve.
"These Nations League matches are important because we don't get to play many friendlies, so this is an important competition for us. We can show our potential and show we have good players at home. It means a lot to play for Martinique. It is always a different feeling when you play for your country," said Delem.
Martinique can expect a sturdy test in all four CNL matches against the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda and long-time rivals Guadeloupe.
Dating back to April 2014, Martinique have faced Guadeloupe six times and own a 5W-1D-0L record in that span. Delem says that they are keen to continue their winning ways against Les Gwada Boys.
"We have to be good, we have to play our football and be ready. Guadeloupe is like a rivalry game. Every time we play against them it is physical. There's a lot of pressure to win and we hope we can beat them again," concluded Delem.