Coach underlines importance of national team

first_imgWinfried Schäfer said Jamaica’s players must embrace the opportunities presented in the national team to make advances at club level.  Schäfer, head coach of Jamaica’s senior men’s national team, made the comments after it was revealed yesterday that Michael Hector had been awarded a five-year contract by English Premier League champions Chelsea FC. “You see how important the national team is for the players. Our player, Hector, after the Copa America and the Gold Cup, is going to Chelsea,” Schäfer remarked. “He played against Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. He was out, then returned and played very well against the States, and now Chelsea takes him in and gives him a contract,”  Schäfer said. The 23-year-old Reading FC defender first played for Jamaica at the Copa America in June, where the Caribbean champions were invited as a guest participant. The tall centre-half played against Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Jamaica lost all three matches 1-0. Just weeks later, Hector also played for Jamaica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament. He did not start in the first two games, but came off the bench to replace Jermaine Taylor at the seventh minute of the third group match, against El Salvador. Jamaica won 1-0, and Hector was largely outstanding in respective quarter-final and semi-final wins over Haiti and the United States. His only blip came in the final, where he made two blunders that led to goals against Mexico, which won 3-1. “The national team is important when you want to take the next big step,” Schäfer said. “All players have to prepare and must be fit. Gray (Hughan) is now in Finland,” he outlined of the former Waterhouse FC utility player, who has secured a contract at VPS Vaasa. Arnett Gardens’ Premier League striker, Andre Clennon, is also now attached to the Finnish club. “The players have to work in the clubs for very good fitness, for tactical work and then they can go outside (overseas). Kemar Lawrence is the best example. I saw him in the small match first at Harbour View, and he works very hard. Now he’s at Red Bulls in New York, and maybe he has a chance to go to England. “I saw Mattocks play his last match. Watson (Je-Vaughn) plays, Demar Phillips plays,” Schäfer continued, noting Jamaican nationals who are now commanding a spot in professional teams. All the players listed, Hector included, are in the island for Friday’s crucial first-leg World Cup Qualifying match against Nicaragua. The home-and-away tie, which sees Jamaica travelling for a return match next week Tuesday in Nicaragua, will decide which of the countries advance to the CONCACAF Semi-finals (group stage) elimination series for the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia. fitness & tactical worklast_img read more

Cops arrest 15 suspected drunk drivers

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – Fifteen suspected drunk drivers were arrested over the holiday weekend in the Santa Clarita Valley, and officers promised a repeat crackdown as the three-day New Year’s weekend approaches. Local Highway Patrol officers made 12 of those arrests during their maximum enforcement period from 6 p.m. Friday to midnight Monday, Officer Wendy Hahn said Tuesday. Countywide, the CHP arrested 267 people for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with 1,209 such arrests statewide. Within Santa Clarita city limits, there were three DUI arrests, one each day from Friday through Sunday, sheriff’s Lt. Brenda Cambra said. On top of the potential tragedy, Hahn noted the high cost of defending DUI citations as a powerful deterrent to drinking and driving. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The Automobile Club of Southern California estimates that a first-time DUI conviction can cost about $11,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance costs. There were no fatal accidents in the Santa Clarita Valley over the weekend, though six people died in traffic crashes in the county and 39 statewide, the CHP reported. A Saugus man suffered a brain injury at 4:15 p.m. Christmas Day when he attempted a “wheelie” aboard his motorcycle and slammed into a car parked on Deer Spring Drive, Hahn said. The CHP officer who investigated the incident suspected the 35-year-old rider, Christian Tasevski, had been drinking, Hahn said. Last year, the CHP arrested seven suspected drunk drivers, Hahn, down from 17 in 2003. The CHP’s Newhall office is in the midst of its 18-day Operation Star, where additional officers are on the road to crack down on traffic offenses. Three days of patrol by air started Tuesday. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 judy.orourke@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more