Barrett finally makes Gold Cup Final, as goalkeeper coach

BY SEAN A WILLIAMS Assistant Sport Editor

Thursday, July 23, 2015

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GEORGIA, USA — Warren Barrett has pretty much seen and done it all when it comes to football.


Well, so he thought until something majestic, out of this world even, happened inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Wednesday evening.


The former Jamaican goalkeeper, who was captain of Jamaica's France 1998 World Cup squad and coach Rene Simoes' first choice, witnessed an achievement that eluded him in an illustrious international career.


Barrett came up short in doing it as a player, but as a coach he has finally done it. He was a part of the 1998 team that made the semi-final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.


When the current crop of Jamaica's Reggae Boyz made history by defeating the USA 2-1 on home soil, and in the process, made it to the final of the confederation's top tournament, the former Violet Kickers standout said his football's sixth sense had forewarned him.


"Firstly, to God be the glory, great things he has done. I was confident as I saw the mood in the camp from after the Haiti game, and I was so cool and collected on the bench because I knew we had this one," he said.


Though the feat came as no surprise to him, the occasion is so monumental that it is almost impossible to downplay.


"It's a very proud moment, not only for me, but the entire coaching staff as we worked tirelessly the last year or year and half since coach (Winfried) Schaefer got in," said Barrett.


"They gave it their all, and we just want to celebrate tonight (yesterday) because tomorrow, it's back to business as we have one more hurdle to climb."


He noted that the high team spirit, which has fuelled the team throughout, remains a driving force.


"We could not ask more of the players as they have stuck together, and you could see the camaraderie in the camp, it's the best mood I have seen in the national team since my era when I played in the 1998 campaign," shared Barrett.


Barrett, now the goalkeeper coach, expressed sympathy for his charge Ryan Thompson, who spilled the ball for the American Michael Bradley to score in the 48th minute after Jamaica were leading 2-0 going into the second half.


Jamaica's goals were scored by Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes in the 30th and 36th minutes, respectively.


"Regardless, he had a good game, but unfortunately, he spilled the ball that US scored from as these types of balls you play with nowadays are pretty light.


"So far in the tournament we have been defending superbly and it's the first goal we have given up in three games. As I have said, after the goal, I didn't see him doing much wrong after that as he recomposed himself," Barrett said.


On the day, Thompson seemed to have had difficulty holding onto the ball, spilling a couple of times, but equally he made some very important saves.


"There are a couple of crosses he came and claimed and he made some good saves, so he had some good moments in the game.


"But as I have said before, I can close my eyes and tell the coach to put in any of the four goalkeepers we have right now in any game, it's just unfortunate and those things happen and we are humans so we will always make mistakes," Barrett argued in defence of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds custodian.


Slip-ups in matches are part and parcel of the game, but when they do not cost the game, no damage is done.


"The bottom line is that we got the victory and we will move onto the final, and whichever opponent it's going to be, we have to plan accordingly and see if we can go home with the trophy and create another round of history," Barrett declared.


Jamaica will now tackle many-time champions Mexico in the final at the Lincoln Field in Philadelphia on Sunday. The USA and Panama will meet in the third-place decider a day earlier.



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