Ryan Thompson, who won 13 international caps for the Reggae Boyz, has become the inaugural Jamaican head coach in the USL Championship in the United States.
The 36-year-old Kingston-born goalkeeper, who helped the Boyz reach the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, recently stepped up from assistant coach to take the helm with Texas-based club Austin Bold FC.
The club boasts a trio of Jamaicans, namely defender/striker Nathaniel Adamolekun as well as the former Boyz pair of defender Jermaine Taylor and striker Owayne Gordon. Last term veteran Jamaica defender Je-Vaughn Watson, recalled for the recent qualifier against Costa Rica, played five games for Austin Bold FC.
Thompson joined the side as player-coach in 2018, the year the team was founded, and moved into the role of assistant coach before being named as the successor to Marcelo Sarrano who has become Austin Bold FC’s new sporting director.
Serrano said: “I am proud to be part of an organisation that empowers the leaders within to grow in their careers, and I know that coach Thompson will help the team continue to succeed.”
Thompson is only the second ever Caribbean head coach in the USL, following in the footsteps of Ezra Hendrickson from St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Hendrickson, a defender, coached Seattle Sounders Reserves (since known as Tacoma Defiance) from 2014-2018. He is now assistant coach with MLS champions Columbus Crew.
Wolde Harris, who played his 28th and final game for Jamaica against Guadeloupe when the Boyz won the 2002 Caribbean Cup, briefly served as interim head coach of USL outfit Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the 2019 season. The son of legendary international star Trevor “Jumpy” Harris has been assistant manager of MLS side Colorado Rapids since February.
Thompson, who kicked off his professional career between the sticks with Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland Premier League in 2011, where he competed in the Europa Cup and became the inaugural Jamaican to appear in the UEFA Champions League.
Having started his coaching career as assistant at the University of Tampa in 2010, he has progressed to holding a USSF Class A Coaching License.
The Jamaica Football Federation will no doubt be keeping an eye on Thompson’s results this term with Austin Bold FC, especially as the Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore’s tenure is under close scrutiny following his tepid start to the region’s final World Cup qualifiers.
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