Khari Stephenson, Fuller recalled for T&T clash

September 24th, 2010

STEPHENSON (left)... last wore Jamaican shirt in 2009 friendly against Ecuador

SAN Jose Earthquake midfielder Khari Stephenson has earned a recall to the Reggae Boyz set-up after a one-year snub.

Stephenson, 29, who has been impressive for the ‘Quakes’ since joining the US MLS side on loan last month, has been named in head coach Theodore Whitmore’s 27-man squad to begin preparation for a friendly international against arch rivals Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors at the National Stadium on October 10.

The six-foot-two-inch player who spent the last four years playing in Scandinavia, last wore a Jamaica shirt on August 12, 2009 against South American outfit Ecuador in a friendly international in New Jersey. That game ended 0-0.

Stephenson, who is on loan from Norwegian side Aalesunds FK, where he made 39 appearances with four goals between 2008 and 2010, has been capped 24 times for the national senior unit and has three goals to his credit.

The towering attacking midfielder was also a member of the team to the 2001 FIFA Under-20 World Cup Finals in Argentina and made his debut for the Reggae Boyz against Guatemala three years later.

In a professional career dating back to 2004, Stephenson — the son of Ambassador Stewart Stephenson — has plied his trade with MLS outfits Chicago Fire, Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Earthquakes; Sweden’s Gais and AIK and Norway’s Aalesunds FK.

Other invitees of interest are Columbus Crew defender Shaun Francis and Toronto striker Obrian White.

White played for Jamaica at the Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 levels and was a member of the 2006 CAC team which qualified Jamaica for the Pan-Am Games in 2007.

Stoke City’s Ricardo Fuller also returns to the national squad following a brief absence.

Three schoolboy players — Ricardo Morris of St James High, Marvin Morgan of Boys’ Town’s and St George’s College, and ‘Light Blues’ teammate Devon Williams have also been recalled as the technical staff continues its “evaluation of players, while maintaining another objective which is developing in our players and team a winning mentality”.

In the first of the home-and-away friendly tie on August 11 in Port of Spain, Jamaica whipped T&T 3-1.

According to a press release from the Jamaica Football Federation, Whitmore will in essence be using “these international friendly games to allow the technical staff to look at different combination of players ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup Qualifiers next year”.

Also, Jamaica — the highest-ranked Caribbean team at No 76 — are preparing for the Digicel Caribbean Cup Finals in November/December in Martinique, which is a qualifying tournament for next summer’s Gold Cup. Jamaica are the defending Caribbean champions.

Source:Jamaica Observer

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