TAMPA, Fla. – A remarkable 18 current and former USL players will compete on the international stage this week in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying across four federations and international exhibitions.
The number adds to the players who competed this summer at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where four USL players helped Jamaica reach the tournament’s final for a second consecutive occasion. More than 20 other players have also competed for their respective national teams while competing in the USL since the start of the 2015 season.
Sacramento Republic FC’s Emrah Klimenta was named in Montenegro’s squad for a pair of key games in UEFA World Cup Qualifying, having appeared in his country’s last World Cup Qualifier against Armenia in June. Montenegro currently sits second in Group E – good enough to earn a playoff place in November to try and qualify for next year’s finals. Montenegro takes on Kazakhstan on the road on Sept. 1 and Romania at home on Sept. 4, with the game against Romania to be aired live on ESPN3 at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Fellow Republic FC player Trevin Caesar was selected for Trinidad & Tobago’s upcoming two games in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, as Sacramento’s leading scorer earns a recall to the Soca Warriors’ squad. Sitting last in the six-team final stage, T&T will host Honduras on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET and then visit Panama on Sept. 5 at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Orange County SC’s Wuilito Fernandes has been named in Cape Verde’s squad for a pair of CAF World Cup Qualifying games as the side looks to move up Group D in the final stage of qualifying. Cape Verde will host South Africa at the Estádio Nacional de Cabo Verde in Praia on Sept. 1 before a return fixture between the two countries to be held at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban on Sept. 5.
Deklan Wynne and Myer Bevan of Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 have been called into action, as New Zealand enters its final stage of Oceania World Cup Qualifying in a home-and-home series against the Solomon Islands. The squad also includes James Musa, who was recently signed by Sporting Kansas City after starring for the Swope Park Rangers this season. New Zealand hosts the Solomon Islands on Sept. 1 at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland before the return leg on Sept. 5 at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara.
This week’s game with the widest USL representation arrives on Saturday, as Canada hosts Jamaica in an international exhibition at BMO Field at 7 p.m. ET. Two teammates from Louisville City FC could square off, with Canada’s Mark-Anthony Kaye and Jamaica’s Speedy Williams both selected to their respective squads.
Jamaica’s group also includes the two leading scorers in the USL this season, with Reno 1868 FC’s Dane Kelly earning his first call-up to the Reggae Boyz after leading the league with 16 goals this season for the expansion club. Kelly will be joined in the front line by the Charleston Battery’s Romario Williams, who sits second in the USL with 15 goals this season and also notched two goals in Jamaica’s run to the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final this summer.
Four other former USL players were also named alongside Kaye in Canada’s squad, with former Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 standout Alphonso Davies – who remains the youngest goal-scorer in USL history – being joined by Toronto FC’s Raheem Edwards, the Montreal Impact’s David Choiniere and Sporting Kansas City’s Amer Didic. A 2016 USL All-League selection with the Swope Park Rangers, Didic’s selection is his first for the full Canadian National Team.
2017 September International Call-Ups
Current USL Players
Canada – Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC)
Cape Verde – Wuilito Fernandes (Orange County SC)
Jamaica – Dane Kelly (Reno 1868 FC), Romario Williams (Charleston Battery), Speedy Williams (Louisville City FC)
Montenegro – Emrah Klimenta (Sacramento Republic FC)
New Zealand – Myer Bevan, Deklan Wynne (Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2)
Trinidad & Tobago – Trevin Caesar (Sacramento Republic FC)
Former USL Players
Canada – Amer Didic (Sporting Kansas City), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), David Choiniere (Montreal Impact), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Jamaica – Sean Francis (Montreal Impact), Damion Lowe (IK Start), Michael Binns (Portmore United), Jamiel Hardware (Boys’ Town)
New Zealand – James Musa (Sporting Kansas City)