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  • Writer's pictureRomaine Brown

Kyle Butler: "Whisper is a generational talent that will emerge to be historical for Jamaica"

Ahead of the Gold Cup tournament, The music producer/former footballer talks about the state of football in Jamaica, corruption, progress under the Icelandic coach and more

Kyle Butler, sharing his time between the music field and football

Jamaica is trying to recalculate its route in the football space. With alleged corruption playing a significant role in the island’s most popular sport, leading to a steady decline in the programme, the JFF director decided on a different path in its attempt to regain success, by hiring a foreign coach with an impressive resume.

In September 2022, the former Iceland national team coach, Heimir Hallgrímsson was appointed to the position with the main goal of leading the Reggae Boys again to the biggest tournament of them all - the 2026 World Cup.

Butler alongside French national team star, N'golo Kante

With the kick-off of the upcoming 2023 Gold Cup tournament fast approaching, which is to be held in the USA, we caught up with Kyle Butler, now a music producer, but also known as a former footballer who represented the national team.

The 25-year-old rising music producer has gained popularity in recent years in that field but he is also involved in his father's football academy, ‘Phoenix’. Both Kyle and his father, Craig Butler are working together once again after their most publicized previous incidents. Phoenix Academy is known for its development of young local talents, with one of its most notable names from their programme, being the current national team's biggest star and Aston Villa’s English Premier League forward, Leon Bailey.

"Once we improve our system and infrastructure we will definitely improve our local talents"

In a conversation with Kaboom Magazine, he referred to the team’s current state and the development of football across the island. "I think the Icelandic coach has a vision and truly cares for football to improve across the island", he said. "He takes his time to look at every player that is available and gives them the opportunity. In time he will definitely improve the national team and the culture of football", Butler expressed.

The Jamaica national programme is currently not in its best shape, especially when there has not been a major achievement for the Reggae Boys since the 1998 World Cup, but in recent years, players with Jamaican roots but international accolades have been called to strengthen the National team. Names such as Michail Antonio from West Ham United and Ravel Morrison, who was considered a wonder kid at Manchester United academy and today represents D.C United in the MLS and most recently Demarai Gray of Everton gained their place in the squad, among many others. "I feel like the focus should be balanced both local and international, what's missing from some of our local talents is proper development and exposure. Once we improve our system and infrastructure we will definitely improve our local talents. Nothing is wrong with exploring the international market as well , they can add experience, pedigree and while improving the squad", he further lamented.

Dujuan "Whisper" Richards, such a talent (JFF)

Jamaica is placed in Group A along with hosts, the USA, who they will meet at the opening match of the tournament (Saturday, June 24, 8:30 PM) in Chicago. Later on in the tournament, the Reggae Boyz will also have a match against one of their biggest rivals, Trinidad and Tobago. What are their realistic chances? If you ask the former player; it's just preparation for the main stage. "On a good day we can match up with any team. However, we need more time to get the squad firing on all cylinders. The gold cup is a good opportunity to evaluate and see where we are and come back better for the world cup qualifications", he explained.

The 25-year-old music producer was recently involved in an impressive deal for one of the highest prospects to emerge from Jamaican football in recent years, 17-year-old Dujuan "Whisper" Richards, who signed with the English Premier League giants, Chelsea. Whisper is also included in the Icelandic coach's squad for the tournament. "Whisper is a generational talent that will emerge to be historical for Jamaica. he is a machine", he said when asked about the young talent.

"On a good day we can match up with any team"

Butler then went on to comment on what he thinks the big problems are with the state of football in Jamaica. "The biggest problem in football in Jamaica is definitely the corruption. We need to establish a system of play that is implemented across the island, we need to invest in better facilities, equipment, and technology", he concluded.


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