Cavalier FC soundly defeated Chapelton Maroons 4-1 in Jamaica Premier League action. The field was very bumpy, which made it hard for any serious passing play to unfold. According to the commentary team, Jamaica is experiencing a significant drought at the moment and the field was suffering as a result. But we still managed to see a hat trick from Collin Anderson and an incredibly long-range goal by Chappleton’s Evan Taylor. I have been a Jamaican Premier League observer for a while, having become interested in the league during a period of unemployment (one can only send so many job applications per day). Now that I have figured out that they are streaming games in a different place this year, I will try and do a few reports, though there don’t seem to be quite as many young players having an impact this season.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, re-watch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: Jamaican
- Age: 23
- Date of Birth: 17/04/1999
- Current club: Cavalier FC
- Career: Arnett Gardens
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
Collin Anderson also played as a striker in this match and scored a hat trick. The first and most obvious thing that stands out about Anderson is his physical profile. He is really strong and really fast. This in and of itself is pretty much an unstoppable combination at this level of football but Anderson also has some other positive elements to his game which make me think his performance could translate to a higher level.
Cavalier’s whole game was built around just smashing the ball into the channels for Anderson to chase. This is something he was able to do with terrifying ferocity. Anytime the ball was in space you felt there was a danger he would pop up and zip in behind the Chapelton defenders. Anderson did not have a ton of settled possession but he did show a couple of decent touches. Early in the match, he dinked a bouncing ball over the outstretched leg of a defender and then ran the length of the field and forced another defender into fouling him just outside of the penalty area.
He isn’t the most technically refined player in the world but he has a little more to offer in a 1v1 situation than just knocking the ball into space. As I alluded to earlier, he also has a very muscular build. He doesn’t necessarily win a ton of headers but he is good at pushing opposing defenders around such that they can’t get a clean clearance off a long ball or a cross. He scored three goals in this match, all of which were from close range. Anderson either got on the end of a cross or picked up a loose ball and calmly slotted home (though I should say for any Chapelton Maroons ultras that might stumble across this that his first goal was absolutely a handball).
Rating – A1
Anderson is a bit on the older side to be making the jump from such a small league. He turns 24 in April. He is also suddenly having his breakout season at age 23, which is naturally going to lead to some questions about how real this is. For me, if a player was a one-season wonder I would expect his goal total to be heavily inflated by taking penalties and scoring from unlikely distances and angles. I had a look through some highlights of Anderson’s previous 10 league goals this season and there really isn’t a lot of that type of goal in there. So, synthesizing that information with this viewing, I think this is for real. Of course, being for real in the Jamaican Premier League is no guarantee of reaching superstardom. But I think Anderson has earned a shot at a higher level. USL or CPL would be a natural step up within the CONCACAF region. But any club that has the ability to attract foreigners but lacks the finances to pay significant transfer fees or sizeable wages would be well advised to take a long look at him.
- Nationality: Jamaican
- Age: 21
- Date of Birth: 14/09/2001
- Current Club: Cavalier FC
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: right
Shaniel Thomas played as one of Cavalier’s strikers in this match. He generally played a little deeper than Collin Anderson. Cavalier played an extremely direct style so it was very hard for Thomas to get involved in the game. It’s hard to be a drop-off and receive striker in a team that is going route 1 every time and on a pitch that is suffering from an extended drought. Still, though, Thomas showed some decent stuff on the ball. His first touch is quite strong and he has a touch of flair about him. He had some nice tight turns and even a spin. His off-the-ball movement is also quite strong. When you add this to his height, standing around 6’2, you would think you have the makings of a great striker. That might still be the case, but right now Thomas just hasn’t shown he can be productive enough. I think he is a bit lacking in killer instinct in the box. Although he is good at finding himself in pockets of space, he would be a lot more dangerous if he would just go to the goal a bit more. His game is also a bit lacking in intensity in general. He is not the quickest to close players down and he is a little slow to loose balls. The upshot of his lack of intensity and Cavalier’s direct style meant there were long periods of the game where he was just standing around.
Rating – B1
I really want to like Thomas. He has a lot of traits that I like. But he just isn’t quite productive enough. If you can’t be productive in the Jamaican Premier League then your chances of being productive at a higher level are low. Now, there are examples of players in these small leagues suddenly figuring things out at 22-24 (the next guy is one of them) but for the most part, I would say your chances are low if you aren’t banging in the goals at this level at this point in a player’s career. I would probably still check in on him every now and then if I were a team in a smaller professional league that still had the clout to attract foreign players. But he would not be at the top of my shortlist.