Barnes, Jamaica make most of Gold Cup opportunity

Giles Barnes (pictured) has two goals in eight games for Jamaica. (Photo: Mexsport)

BALTIMORE, Maryland -- Giles Barnes knows his priorities.

After scoring the only goal in Jamaica's 1-0 victory over Haiti in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, more important than the cheers he heard from the M&T Bank Stadium crowd was a text message he received.

"I just got a text message from my dad saying how proud he is of me," expressed Barnes.  "That kind of stuff warms your heart.  As along as long as I keep making my family happy, that's all that matters."

It certainly doesn't hurt to please your teammates and countrymen as well.

Barnes' second international goal propelled the Reggae Boyz into the semifinals against the defending champion United States in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old native of England has enjoyed a whirlwind year, making his international debut and playing well for Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

"It's been crazy, starting so well with Houston," said Barnes, a former Derby County standout.  “Would like to pick a few more points with the club, but my form has been pretty good.  Representing my country has been incredible.  It's something that dreams have been made of, you know?  I can't put it in words right now what it means to me.  I still have to process it all, but I'm a very proud person at the moment."

He probably will be doing some additional texting prior to the semifinal with Dynamo teammate and U.S. defender DaMarcus Beasley.

"Me and Beas probably will have something to say," Barnes remarked.  "DaMarcus is a wonderful player.  He has been at the top of his game for a number of years.  I've got only good things to say about him.  Coming out of retirement and coming to play for the U.S. is such an honor as well.  He still can play at any level he wants to.  We're both looking for the same thing and that's three points and who will advance to the final."

Although the victory over Haiti enabled Jamaica to claim a place in the Gold Cup’s final four for the first time since 1998, Barnes believes the current Caribbean champion still has some unfinished business to address.

“People didn't expect us to win our group and we won our group,” concluded Barnes.  “People didn't expect us to get to the semifinal and we got to the semifinal.  We know we're the underdogs, but we know what we're able of.  We think we have a special group and we're going to keep on showing that as well.”