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Bulls Abroad: Kemar Lawrence called up to Jamaica squad for USMNT friendly

Taxi to Chattanooga.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Jamaica Football Federation has named a 20-man squad to play the US Men's National Team on February 3 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This Jamaica team had long been expected to feature a significant number of players based in the local Red Stripe Premier League. In the end, interim head coach Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore opted for a more or less even split between players attached to local clubs and those playing in North America.

Goalkeepers: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union); Ryan Thompson (Saint Louis FC)

Defenders: Sergio Campbell (unattached); Oniel Fisher (Seattle Sounders); Rosario Harriott (Harbour View); Kevon Lambert (Montego Bay United); Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls); Damion Lowe (Tampa Bay Rowdies); Alvas Powell (Portland Timbers); Ladale Richie (Montego Bay United)

Midfielders: Dwayne Ambursley (Montego Bay United); Michael Binns (Portmore United); Ewan Grandison (Portmore United); Omar Holness (Real Salt Lake); Je-Vaughn Watson (New England Revolution)

Forwards: Cory Burke (Bethlehem Steel); Jourdaine Fletcher (Montego Bay United); Owayne Gordon (Montego Bay United): Shamar Nicholson (Boys' Town); Romario Williams (Atlanta United)

Since a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign came to a premature end in September 2016, the Reggae Boyz have parted ways with head coach Winfried Schafer. It is a little difficult to say what a full-strength Jamaica team looks like at the moment - since a new, full-time head coach has yet to be named - but it is not the one that will line up against USMNT on February 3.

That said, there are some clear first-choice first-teamers in the squad. Goalkeeper Andre Blake, utility man Je-Vaughn Watson and New York Red Bulls' left back Kemar Lawrence would likely be in any Reggae Boyz roster of substance, regardless of who was picking the team.

The rest of the squad for the USMNT game can be reasonably described as players hoping to establish themselves at the international level. Two might be of particular interest to both Jamaica fans and those who support the sort of teams that often shop for young Jamaican talent: 19-year-old Shamar Nicholson plays for (bottom of the table) Boys' Town in the RSPL and currently leads the league in scoring; Jourdaine Fletcher turned 19 at the beginning of January, and was the star of last year's Jamaican schoolboy soccer tournaments.

RBNY's Lawrence is one of the few players in the squad who is established at the international level. His growing seniority within the Jamaica set-up will be on show against USMNT.

The Red Bulls are unlikely to be surprised by Lawrence's call-up: his release to his national team had to be approved by the club since the match against USMNT is taking place outside the dates set by FIFA for international games. RBNY's left back will miss his club's preseason friendly against New England Revolution (on February 3). It is unclear whether Lawrence will be asked to continue his attachment to his national team squad through February 16, when Jamaica plays Honduras. For now, the JFF's official statement is simply that the 20-man squad named has been selected to play USMNT.