Royals midfielder reports from USA for 5magAs well as representing Jamaica on the pitch this summer, Garath McCleary is once again penning his #GmacCopaDiary for 5mag to document the experience with the Reggae Boyz camp during the Copa America Centenario in the USA.
In his first instalment this year, he discussed travelling across the Atlantic, beating reigning champs Chile in a friendly, and lining up against a world-class talent in Alexis Sanchez!
And in his most recent article for 5mag, he talks about travelling through to Miami ahead of their first fixture against Venezuela, training schedules, bonding with the Boyz, and his hopes of switching his partner for pools doubles! Not to mention a close-shave for Hec at the airport…
“With the game last night, it was pretty much a rest and recovery time where we stayed relaxed and tried to recuperate as much as possible,” wrote McCleary after Jamaica’s opener against Venezuela.
“There was also more pool on the agenda, me and my doubles partner Dever Orgill lost 7 on the bounce to Jobi & Willo. Dev pretty much had one so from this day forth my partner will change.”
Summer commitments for G and Jamaica mean that it hasn’t been so easy to follow some of the bigger games at the end of the season – but they have been trying their best!
“Something to look forward to was the 2 games coming up, the championship playoff final which we couldn’t really watch due to connection issues, and the Champions League final. Credit to both teams for making it to the final after a good season, also a special mentions for the Wednesday fans that filled their end of Wembley and created a special atmosphere (as seen on Twitter). Congratulations Hull on winning promotion back to the very top of English football.
“We watched 90 minutes of the CL but with the airport two hours away, we had to leave and miss added time, which after watching the majority, Madrid deserved. The great player he was “Zizou” hasn’t done too bad as the “Los Blancos” manager. A friend of mine was at the match and said the atmosphere was electric plus the A-Madrid fans were crazy (in a good way).”
The trip from Chile to Miami wasn’t without its share of drama – Royals Academy graduate Michael Hector almost missed out on his journey!
“It was touch and go making the flight as it turned out “Hec” wasn’t booked onto a flight, yep, these things happen quite frequently but we decided not to leave him and made it 10minutes before departure. The flight time to Houston was once again 9h40m and then a 1h59m flight to MIA.
“The first few days of our time here was very quiet with rest and at most, was a trip to the mall. We didn’t train due to the travelling so it was a light pool session on the day we arrived then on the 2nd day a game of head tennis.”
The Reggae Boyz took a look back at their win against the Chileans and took the time to enjoy some good grub ahead of their first fixture in this year’s competition.
“Breakfast was a national dish of ackee and saltfish with Yam and Boiled Dumplins,” McCleary continued. “In the team meeting we went through the game against Chile. I’m one for going through previous games seeing different scenarios you could improve and not forgetting the good points which is always nice to see.
“Off to training we went where it was an intense session for 1hr30mins. We started with a warm up and a disguised run which included a finish into small goals, Working on the shape of the team – in and out of possession to make us that bit more solid. After training, a few of us had booked a table at a restaurant where we had sushi and some steak. It was a good get together, not only that, it was good to have something a little different from the normal hotel food which we’ve been having. Yes we actually do look like a boy band.”
Head to 5mag to read the full version of Garath’s second instalment in this year’s tour diary – you can also follow G on Twitter at @gmccleary12 for updates from the Jamaica camp!