Hockey coach happy with Junior Pan Am rendition
Despite placing 11th of 13 teams that took part in last month's 10th Men's Junior Pan Am Championship in Guadalajara, Mexico, national head coach Aubyn Ferguson believed Jamaica showed competence.
"The Under-21 men's hockey team generally did well as a team and good individual performances. Of the eight matches (three wins, two draws, and three losses), being undefeated in five matches is a very good return for men's hockey in many, many years," Ferguson pointed out.
"Only one team member had any previous international experience (captain Kemar Mitchell) but all adjusted well and showed steady improvement with each game.
"Forward Mitchell with 13 goals was a tournament standout with very skilful plays and also being the tournament second leading goal scorer," he added.
Others players singled out were goalkeeper Giovannie Green, defender Brandon Clarke and midfielder Giovannie Campbell.
Though officially finishing 11th, overall statistics indicate that Jamaica's Under-21 men's team featured as one of the six best teams at this level.
Only champions Argentina, silver medallist Canada, eighth-placed Uruguay, fifth-placed Trinidad & Tobago, and fourth-placed United States have won more matches than the Mitchell-led Jamaica.
Bronze medallist Chile won three of six matches, with 14 goals and 16 against, compared to Jamaica's 24 goals for and 24 goals against.
"The team showed growth in technical and structural plays which accounted for a haul of 24 goals. Our tournament placing (11th of 13) was determined by goal difference as we drew with the two teams above us — Venezuela and Brazil 0-0 and 4-4 respectively — thus missing out on the team goal of playing off for the 7-8 spots," Ferguson explained.
Officially, Brazil finished ninth and Venezuela 10th.
Ferguson also commented on the standard of play of his team.
"The Jamaica standard of play is worthy of continued development and support, given the relatively short time for preparation of four months, campared to teams such as Brazil and Trinidad that were touring and playing international games for over a year," the head coach stressed.
"We left Jamaica saying we will score a lot of goals, given the general training drills and belief; on the other hand, we gave up too many through errors and not teams breaking us down, except for Argentina and to a lesser extent Trinidad," Ferguson noted.
The national coach hailed parents, manager/coach Christine Bartley, trainer Roy Thomas, local manager Roderick Lueshing, and stand-in coach Richard Wisdom for their support.
Jamaica finished ahead of Puerto Rico and Guatemala.