HANOVER, N.J. – Kemar Lawrence made sure that he got an Argentina jersey last week following Jamaica's 1-0 loss to Argentina in Copa America, but it wasn't for him.
It was for a Facebook friend. And he didn't ask, he just sort of grabbed it – but don't worry, it wasn't theft.
The New York Red Bulls' left back, who wasarguably one of the best signings in the league this past offseason, was recently part of Jamaica's national team as they were invited to participate as a guest team in Copa America, the championship for South American national teams. Lawrence was brilliant at the event, looking the part while going up against world-class competition.
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Post-game, as is the tradition in world soccer, players shake hands and very often exchange jerseys. Lawrence, very humble and low-key, held on to his jersey and didn't do the typical exchange after the match. He shook hands and walked off the field, dejected by the loss.
“Without winning it doesn't make sense,” he said.
Lawrence was the first player into Jamaica's locker room following the defeat. He didn't want to hang around.But after the match there was a pile of Argentina jerseys in the middle of Jamaica's locker room, all from when his teammates did the exchange. He grabbed one that was unwanted for a fan who he has never met.
“A lady said to meon Facebook that she wanted a wedding present for her husband. I didn't really know the lady but I said 'OK' and I took someone's when we were in the locker room,” Lawrence told Metro.“I think it was No. 6. I don't really know the person.”
Lawrence will lookto send the jerseyin the mail to his Facebook friend this week, and itappears that she'll get the uniform of Lucas Biglia, a midfielder who currently plays for Lazio in Italy.Biglia, who has represented Argentina 27 times, was a teammate of current Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan at Belgium club Anderlecht before the South American midfielder made the move to play in Italy. Kljestan signed with the Red Bulls this offseason after the American became a fan favorite with the team.
From Copa America, Lawrence came back to the Red Bulls earlier this week and worked a productive 87 minutes in the team's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake. As he typically is, the player was all over the field for his team and he should be a prominent part of the team's plans again this Sunday in the match against New York City F.C.
He took the momentum from Copa America into MLS play with no signs of a drop-off.
“That definitely was the mindset, to really push the game, push myself, to really bring out the best in myself to benefit the team. The coaches really believe in me. I was a bit tired, I was a bit tired honest but that didn't stop me from really pushing myself,” Lawrence said.“If I was able to do it there, I'm able to do it anywhere.”
And if he keeps playing this way, perhaps someone will be asking for his jersey someday.