Blake diveBut quality must improve or risk shut out. 

The window of opportunity Major League Soccer’s (MLS) expansion promises Caribbean players could close rapidly if the region’s talent doesn’t improve dramatically. When MLS 2017 kicks off in March, two new teams will join, bringing the total to 22. At least six more could be added in later seasons. Expansion has given rise to hope of increased chances for Caribbean players to join North America’s top professional league.

The United States Soccer Federation has announced June 8 as the new date for its 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago, a day earlier than previously scheduled.

Haiti emerged the highest rated country from the Caribbean in both male and female categories based on the final 2016 ranking by soccer’s governing body FIFA announced last month. Among the men, the French-speaking nation was ranked 73 and was one of only five Caribbean nations to make it into the top 100. The others were Jamaica (77), Trinidad and Tobago (78), St. Kitts and Nevis (80) and Antigua and Barbuda (93).

Jamaica’s senior men’s soccer team will play two friendly international games in the United States next month - one against the host nation, the other versus Honduras. The Reggae Boyz will first face the U.S. on Feb. 3 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Their second match will be against Honduras on Feb. 16 at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas.

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