The Jamaicans, boosted by a strong heritage contingent from the UK, pushed the hosts all the way.
The Reggae Boys showed creativity and skill, but made errors at key times, denying them the points they needed for victory.
“It was very tough game, a really challenging game,” said Hawks coach Brian McDermott, more used to coaching the Leeds Rhinos.
“The Jamaicans were a group of very big and athletic men that needed to be defended. We toughed it out to get the win, I was really pleased with our commitment to each other.”
“I’m very happy the boys hung in there,” he said.
“We made it a bit tough for ourselves with a lot of knock-ons and penalties but, to our credit, we hung in there and got the win.
“We had a game plan and when we did stick to it we dominated.”
Final Score: USA 20 – 14 Jamaica
Half time: 10-6
Interchange: Ryan Burroughs, Nick Newlin, Andrew Kneisly, Sam Carson
Tries: Offerdahl (10), Howden (12), D. Howard (43), Makelim (54)
Goals: Freed 2/4
Sin bin: Sam Carson (33)
Tries: Peltier (30, 78), Farrell (49)
Goals: Farrell (1/3)
Sin bin: Omari Caro (39)
Penalty count: 8-10
Referee: Robert Hicks
The next match is on Tuesday when Jamaica face Canada in DeLand, Florida.