Updated: Jul 16, 2022
The reggae country they call it, Jamaica, will be in the World Cup once again, as their women’s national soccer team has qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup for the second straight time after finishing among the top four finishers in the CONCACAF W Championship. Next year the World Cup will take place in New Zealand and Australia, which will mark Jamaica’s second appearance in soccer’s premier tournament. This comes in wake of youth national player, Jedine Carr, being killed on her way to practice last Friday.
They made history three years ago in 2019 by becoming the first ever Carribean team to make an appearance in the Cup. Jamaica has always been known for having highly skilled soccer players who loved the game, but this team had to go through adversity from struggling to fund the team, to the team breaking up in 2008 after failing to qualify for the 2007 World Cup and 2008 Olympics that took place in Tokyo. They even had to start a GoFundMe to help the players have enough equipment to train, with players also setting up fundraisers on the side as well.
But, they have overcome those hard times to now have a chance to play for a World Cup. Forward Kayla McCoy stated her belief in her country’s room for growth when she stated, "There’s so much higher levels that we can reach with even more investment from back home, so we’re kind of excited to see what comes from us qualifying again, because not a lot of people thought we could do it again. I think it kind of solidified us into this position and now people know that we’re for real and will begin to invest a bit more."
Their coach, Lorne Donaldson, has only been with the team for a month, so he’s still learning how to best put his players in a position to succeed. The Jamaican Women’s team has also had to deal with a variety of different coaches from Hue Menzies resigning because of a pay dispute with the federation following the 2019 World Cup, to being replaced by Hubert Busby Jr, who was accused of sexual misconduct while coaching the women’s team in Canada, allegations he has denied.
Busby would be dismissed late in 2021 and would be replaced by Vin Blaine who would later be let go by the team after 20 players sent the federation a letter that they could not support him.
It has been a turbulent ride for this Jamaican Women’s National Soccer Team, but if anyone has the perseverance to overcome extreme measures, it is them.
McCoy stated it best when she said, "I think the important thing for us as a group is that we stuck together through everything and we overcame those challenges, the women on this team have had each other’s backs from the start and from the beginning, and I think the group that we have, and the family that we have is what has kept us going through all of this and what has kept us kind of overcoming those obstacles."
Being resilient is what they would need to continue to do as they try to pursue their first ever World Cup title. Can the Reggae Girlz do it?