The US Men’s National Soccer Team will take on their Jamaican counterparts at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga on the evening of February 3. The match is officially categorized as a friendly, but everyone savvy to the international soccer world knows that both squads will be going full force hoping to gear up for 2017. Both teams have on-the-record international competition coming along soon that is going to go far toward determining their fates.
USA faced Jamaica in the semifinal of the Comcast Gold Cup last July 22. Jamaica prevailed by a score of 2-1, showing an abundance of both speed and patience.
Team USA obviously made a high-profile switch at head coach recently, relieving Juergen Klinsmann of his services at the post of one of international soccer’s most popular squads. In comes Bruce Arena, a Brooklyn-native and veteran of the US soccer scene who is also a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Arena will be aiming to hit the ground running. He has a team that is highly talented and passionately supported by a nation nearly 400,000,000 strong, so the ground shouldn’t be moving too fast, so to speak.
On a global level, United States soccer has had mixed success in its long history dating all the way back to the early decades of the 1900s. Since 1990, they have only managed five World Cup victories in total. Over the same time period, they have tied six WC matches and lost 15.
Amazingly, the CONCACAF Gold Cup has been a proverbial playground for Team USA over the course of the same span. They have hoisted the championship of that North and South American-based tournament exactly 5 times, and they have complemented that with five runner-up finishes as well.
The Jamaican National Football Team is affectionately known as the “Reggae Boyz.” They qualified for the World Cup in 1998, when they had are somewhat respectable showing. In the two decades since, they have fortified their team with talented footballers and are now led by a coach familiar with getting things done on a global level. Indeed, the future is very bright for Team Jamaica heading into the 2017 calendar year.
Finley Stadium is located on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It is currently a major epicenter of entertainment for residents of the culturally rich city. With a capacity of nearly 21,000, it is capable of hosting not only gigantic concerts and basketball games, but also soccer matches such as the one that will unfold on the perfectly-groomed outdoor pitch in early February.
The biggest sporting venues in all of North America competed fiercely for the right to host Team USA in last summer’s historic North American CONCACAF tournament. The operators of Finley Stadium certainly understand that this is a unique opportunity that will bring the attention of the entire soccer world to their little gem of a playing field.