New Reggae Boyz coach Hallgrimsson takes 2 backroom staff to Jamaica Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Iceland’s Heimir Hallgrimsson, who was unveiled as the new Reggae Boyz’ head coach on Friday, will take two key members of his backroom staff with him to Jamaica.

The backroom staff who will be assisting Hallgrimsson in Jamaica are Swedish coach John Wall and Icelander Gudmundur Hreidarsson, who replaces Warren Barrett as goalkeeping coach.

The 41-year-old Wall, who is a UEFA elite coach and has a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Science, will take the role of assistant coach.

Newly appointed head coach of the Reggae Boyz Iceland’s Heimir Hallgr?msson addresses a press conference at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Friday, September 16, 2022. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).

“He was a tactical coach for the Finnish national team. He is good in players development and useful in the transition from helping the local players to get to a high standard,” said Hallgrimsson. “He is a technology guru, a part-owner of a software company, so he is really good in the technology now a big thing in football today.”

The 61-year-old Hreidarsson is a retired Icelandic football goalkeeper and later manager.

“I have worked with Gudmundur for seven years with the national team. In my opinion, he is one of the best ones (goalkeeping coach) I have seen,” said Hallgrimsson. “He has the highest education possible for goalkeeper coaches in Europe. He is great at developing goalkeepers and he has been in coaching education in Iceland for 20 years plus.

All three of us have work in coaching education. And will like to share with Jamaican all we know.”

Hallgrimsson replaced Paul Hall, who quit in June after Concacaf Nations League matches against Mexico and Suriname. Hall was hired after Theodore Whitmore was fired in December, eight matches into World Cup qualifying.

Hallgrimsson, who guided Iceland to FIFA World Cup qualification in 2018, signed a four-year deal with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), which take him through the next FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle.

The 55-year-old dentist was on the coaching staff of Iceland’s national team from 2013-18. A former defender, he coached Qatar’s Al-Arabi from 2018-21.

Declaring that he chose to take the Jamaica project because of the great potential for success, Hallgrimsson was under no illusions regarding the magnitude of the undertaking.

“When I was looking for projects to coach, I was really selective. It was not about money, it was about the project and for me, it was a perfect match to come now to Jamaica and to try to fix what is broken. There are some obstacles we have to cross and we have to improve some big things but for me, it was a perfect match. I see so much potential here and if I compare this one to the Icelandic project I think the potential is much more than in Iceland,” he said.

That said, Hallgrimsson is also aware that he does not have much time to right the many wrongs of Jamaica’s football.

“We have a year until we start playoffs (World Cup qualification) the group stage of the World Cup so we have to start quickly and try to stabilize the Jamaica national team. The second job is assisting in the improvement of football here in Jamaica through coaching education of elite players and we are happy to be a part of an assist in that,” he said.

“While doing this, we all know that in every match there is pressure to win. There is an expectation to win and no coach will survive in his job without winning football matches. So two different things, first to develop talent and the second to improve the national team and I think both of these projects can support each other.”

JFF president Michael Ricketts described the signing of Hallgrimsson as the ushering in of a new era that will see the controversy-plagued administration change direction.

“The federation has been making important internal changes that will position the federation to fully support what we will announce today as well as a number of other national activities,” he said.

Hallgrimsson’s first match in charge will be on September 27 when Jamaica play Argentina in an international friendly at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, USA.