Jamaica’s Trudi Carter (left) escapes from the Cayman Islands’ Lauren Scott during their Fifa Women’s World Cup qualifying competition at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands April 9, 2022.
Jamaica Senior Reggae Girlz showed tenacity and willpower throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
But head coach Lorne Donaldson believes their resilience, teamwork, skill and dedication to duty have increased significantly since they accomplished the historic feat of securing a second straight return to the global showcase.
Donaldson’s assessment followed the success of some Girlz in their respective club environments, which he believes is an important component in marketing Jamaica’s brand of women’s football around the world.
But more importantly, the manager sees the Girlz’s traits and accomplishments as yet another scratch on the surface of what he and former head coach Hue Menzies, Andrew Price, Hubert Busby and others aspire to do in local women’s football as they hope the younger ones Players draw inspiration from the fire of Reggae Girlz engagement.
Winger Tiffany Cameron was recently named Hungary Women’s Championship Player of the Year for the 2021/22 season and striker Trudi Carter, who once struggled through injury, was subsequently released by Spain’s women’s Premier Division team FC Levante Las Planas picked up an impressive season with Lithuanian club FC Gintra.
Talismanic striker and captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw maintained her fine form at Manchester City, while midfielder Drew Spence made her debut at Tottenham Hotspur on the same day that her compatriot goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer made her 100 for the club.
Kayla McCoy was also a Rangers goalscorer in the Scottish League.
“If you look at the international scene I think it’s fantastic that our ladies are doing well in some of the top leagues in the world and it speaks volumes for how far our program has come in some ways,” said Donaldson, the assistant von Menzies was when the Girlz had their first World Cup appearance in France in 2019, she said Jamaica Observer from its base in Colorado.
“It’s also good because the focus is on the World Cup and performing at that level gives us a lot more credibility as a country and as a team and is just a great look at the program as a whole. Because it’s about the younger players coming in. We have to make an impression and I think the Girlz are doing pretty well,” he added.
Since returning to the program in June, a few weeks ahead of the Concacaf Women’s Championship, Donaldson has pointed out that the general attitude and mentality of the players has changed.
While he doesn’t acknowledge their hunger and determination to succeed, he explained that the players’ current performance is fueled by what the technical staff brings to the program.
“I think our technical staff demands a lot from the players and I think they respond with their performances,” said Donaldson, who is joined by Xavier Gilbert and Ak Lakhani.
“People are working to build that World Cup team and we’ve said that playing and doing well at club or college level is an opportunity to get picked to travel for assignments, which then gives them the opportunity gives to make the final cut. ‘ added the tactician.
He continued: “But of course you want to compete with those who are playing at a high level and also in form so hopefully this is just a start of what we expected of everyone playing at a high level.
“Even a Jody Brown in college and others play at a high level because we can’t forget the players who don’t play professionally. But as they say iron sharpens iron and they all know there’s a competition to make the squad so crowded.
While they may not have the opportunity to build on the players’ current form with a competitive fixture in next month’s Fifa window, Donaldson argued the break would also be welcome to allow players to rest and recover.
The Girlz encounters against 18th-ranked South Korea in the previous window ended in 0-1 and 0-2 defeats on the Asian continent.
They said they were planning to engage Chile for the upcoming Oct. 3-11 window, but it looks like that won’t materialize.
“I don’t think we’re going to get anyone in that window like I said. I think everyone’s a bit skeptical about the World Cup draw but it doesn’t hurt us,” said Donaldson.
“Because a lot of the girlz did that five-week workload preparing for the world championships and then they went straight into preseason and the college players are in the middle of their season fighting for the playoffs. So it might be a time to catch your breath, regroup and prepare for the November window,” he argued.
The Nov. 7-15 time slot, Donaldson said, will be held on Jamaican soil, with two games scheduled, one of which will be Jamaica Observer Sources say the Girlz at No. 42 could rub shoulders with Paraguay at No. 51.
“I can’t reveal our opponents yet because we’re still trying to work out some things,” Donaldson shared reluctantly.
“That will be after the World Cup draw, so if we don’t get that opponent someone else will be ready to come in.
“But the Girlz are in good shape and they want to be on the big stage to say the least and show up at the World Cup to make their mark and that’s what they’re working towards.” The coaching staff really appreciate what we see and we do keep in touch with them to keep updated,” he finished.
DONALDSON… I think our technical staff asks a lot from the players and I think they respond to that with their performances.