Kemar Lawrence has been in special form for the New York Red Bulls since making his debut for the club against D.C. United on March 22. He has started six games to date, and his most recent performance - in the Hudson River Derby - won him a spot on the official MLS Team of the Week (and OaM's version, as it happens).
His work has not been overlooked by his national team coach, Winfried Schafer, who has named Lawrence to his 30-man preliminary squad for Jamaica's upcoming participation in Copa America 2015.
Lawrence isn't booking a flight to Chile just yet. The final squad must be confirmed by June 1.
Still, 16 caps makes Taxi one of the more internationally experienced players on the provisional roster. Schafer has named four uncapped players to this squad, and 12 more with fewer than 10 international appearances to their respective names.
The Jamaica national team has a busy summer: Copa America and Gold Cup must be navigated. The former tournament is by no means the priority, but it will be important to avoid humiliation. The Reggae Boyz have a tough group waiting for them in Chile: Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. An undercooked or inexperienced team will not fare well against that caliber of competition.
Schafer has to spread his player pool out in a way that will allow Jamaica to perform creditably in both the international tournaments it is contesting this summer, and emerge stronger for the experience and ready to plot a course toward Russia 2018.
All of which is to say, if Lawrence does not make the final cut for Copa America, it is a strong sign he is penciled in for Gold Cup.
If Taxi's number is called for the trip to Chile, Jamaica's group stage starts on June 13 (against Uruguay) and ends on June 20 (against Argentina). It would take some historic upsets for the Reggae Boyz to make the knockout rounds, so Lawrence's absence from his club side can be expected to be relatively brief.
And Copa America's group stage happens to coincide with a break in RBNY's competitive schedule. If Taxi is called away in June, he might miss no more than two matches for the Red Bulls: the June 5 trip to Houston and the Vancouver Whitecaps' visit to Red Bull Arena on June 20. His availability for the June 24 match against Real Salt Lake would likely come down to his post-tournament fitness and the general form of the team in his absence.
And if he is definitively not available for June 24, it is because he will be attached to one of the more remarkable performances by a Jamaican national soccer team on the international stage.
But those are considerations for another day. In the short-term, any national team call-up is an honor and reflects well on an international-class player's club as well. Congratulations to Kemar Lawrence for the continued recognition of a level of play that is increasingly delightful to fans of the New York Red Bulls.