Action from the Caribbean Club Championship match between visiting Portmore United (white jersey) and Puerto Rico FC on March 16, 2017, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of Puerto Rico FC)
PORTMORE, Jamaica – Slightly more than a decade has passed since Jamaica’s Portmore United played in a CONCACAF competition.
That will change if it can finish first or second in its final-round group at the 2017 Caribbean Club Championship finals, which open Sunday and will be contested entirely at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.
“It is an opportunity of a lifetime” said team captain Ewan Grandison. “We have responsibilities in the Red Stripe Premier League, yes, however, with this [Caribbean] Club Championship it is a chance to show the Caribbean and CONCACAF what we are truly made off.
“We need to tell ourselves that two wins will take us to [a CONCACAF club competition] and put us amongst the elite in the region.”
In Group B play, Portmore United will face Haiti’s Racing des Gonaives and San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad & Tobago on May 16 and 18, respectively. Wins in both matches will place it into the final, where the winner will earn a trip to the 2018 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.
After capturing to the 2005 Caribbean Club Championship crown and qualifying for the 2006 CONCACAF Champions Cup, where it fell to Mexican power Club America in the quarterfinals (agg: 3-7), Portmore standouts -- Omar Daley, Steven Morrissey, Jason Morrison, Rafe Wolfe and Wolry Wolfe -- earned overseas contracts.
Current defender Damano Solomon, a member of Jamaica’s squad for the 2016 Copa America Centenario -- wants to follow those footsteps.
“Portmore United has a rich history in producing players who go on not only to represent Jamaica but also to play professionally in Europe, Asia in North America,” he finished. “It is a step I would like to follow and with an important week again, now is the time for all of us to step up.”
The losing finalist and the runners-up from Groups A & B will progress to the first-ever Scotiabank CONCACAF League that launches in August.