Jamaica national women’s football team head coach, Lorne Donaldson, believes the country is merely scratching the surface of what is possible for its football program.

On Monday, Donaldson led from the sidelines as the Reggae Girlz secured a spot at the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, following a 4-0 over Haiti. 

Three years earlier as an assistant coach, he had also celebrated as the team played their way to the tournament in France.  By virtue of defeating Haiti, the Reggae Girlz continued to break new ground and became the first Caribbean team to make back-to-back or even multiple World Cups.

Based on his assessment of the talent available to the Jamaican squads, which has been boosted by the recent recruitment of players from the diaspora, Donaldson is confident there is a lot more that Jamaican teams can accomplish.  In order to do so, he believes changes must be made to the structure of the football programs.

“Overall, I think the football structure has to change.  I won’t even say needs to change, it has to change going forward, not just for the women but for the men,” Donaldson said.

“We have this quality, for both men and women, and we can do more.  We haven’t even scratched the surface with our football talent,” he added.

 

President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda, issued a statement congratulating the Reggae Girlz on their qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday.

The Girlz defeated Haiti 4-0 in Mexico on Monday to secure their second consecutive World Cup berth.

“With victory over Haiti, the journey now begins for our Reggae Girlz and as we did on the previous occasion the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will be on the voyage, down under, with the team of our member association the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF),” Samuda said in the statement.

“History has repeated itself and the JOA commends the Girlz for writing, yet again, another admirable chapter in what we know will be a bestseller in football. Well done Girlz. The fraternity of sport applauds you and the Olympic Movement thanks you for giving our youth, particularly our young girls, invaluable lessons in courage, determination and inspiration,” he added.

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) issued a statement on Tuesday congratulating the Reggae Girlz on their qualification to a second consecutive World Cup.

The Girlz secured their spot in Australia and New Zealand next year with a 4-0 win over Haiti in Mexico on Monday.

“The Jamaica Football Federation wholeheartedly congratulates the Senior Women’s National Team, the Reggae Girlz, for their qualification to successive FIFA Women’s World Cups,” the Federation said to start the statement.

The statement continues: “Their creation of history, once again, has been due their unquestionable strength of purpose, character, determination, unity and patriotism. We commend and lift them up to Jamaica as living example of what is possible even when tremendous challenges abound. The JFF thanks and congratulates the entire technical staff, led by Head Coach Lorne Donaldson who had the team together less than three weeks before the start of the tournament. Finally, none of this would have been possible without our partners, the Bob Marley Foundation, the Reggae Girlz Foundation, the Ministry of Sports and all the well-wishers and supporters. We wish the team further success in their remaining games beginning with the semi-final fixture against Canada on Thursday, 14th.”

 

Reggae Girlz striker and captain Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw says leading her country to a second straight World Cup “means a lot.”

The Manchester City striker was in fine form in Monday’s game, scoring a brace to help her side to a dominant 4-0 victory over the Haitians to secure a second consecutive World Cup berth.

“It means a lot, especially because throughout the beginning of the campaign we came under a lot of pressure. We just stood together and held our composure,” said Shaw.

“We knew that once we did that, at the end of the day we were going to be victorious and, I think, it just goes to show that we’re a small island, but we can do big things,” Shaw added.

Despite already booking their spot in Australia and New Zealand next year, their CONCACAF Women’s Championship campaign is not over with a semi-final against Canada on Thursday at 9:00pm Jamaica time (10:00pm EST). Defending world champions the USA will tackle Costa Rica in the other semi-final. 

Shaw outlined how the team can overcome the challenge of the unbeaten Canadians.

“We need to remain confident and stay positive. We also have to continue to support each other and communicate. If we continue to stick together and stay confident, I’m sure we can do big things,” Shaw said.

Racing Louisville defender Satara Murray will be in the line-up for the Reggae Girlz in their crucial Concacaf Women’s Championship final round fixture against Haiti after being cleared to represent the Caribbean side on Monday by FIFA.

Haiti and Jamaica are currently second and third in Group A and Monday’s match, scheduled to begin at 9:00 pm Jamaica time (10:00 pm EST) at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer will determine who joins the USA as automatic qualifiers to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The 29-year-old Murray, who can play as either a right-back or a centre-back, is expected to replace Denisha Blackwood in the Reggae Girlz line-up who is out due to suspension because of an accumulation of yellow cards.

“I’m relieved, happy and blessed to be involved with the game today and I’m thankful and excited to see what we can do. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said Murray in a pre-match interview.

“I’m excited to be out there with the girls tonight and get the job done. That’s why I came here. I came to this camp to help us qualify for a World Cup and that’s what I want to do. I want to be a part of that,” said the former Liverpool defender.

“Leadership and my physical presence,” were her responses when asked what she hopes to bring to the team.

“I’m hoping those can help us win tonight because Haiti is a physical team and that’s one of my best attributes,” she added.

 

Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson says his team simply wasn’t good enough in their 0-5 hammering by defending World Champions the USA in the Concacaf Women’s Championship on Thursday.

The Americans sprinted out to a 2-0 lead through goals from Sophia Smith in the fifth and eighth minutes before adding three more goals in the second half through Rose Lavelle (59th), Kristie Mewis (83rd) and Trinity Rodman (86th) to complete the 5-0 demolition at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.

“I didn’t think it’d take 10 minutes. We gave up two goals in six minutes and you’re not going to play the World Champs and expect anything out of the game playing the way we did. We weren’t good,” Donaldson said in a post-match press conference.

“The Americans are the best team in the world. When you play the champions at the top of their game, bad things will happen if you don’t play well and we didn’t,” Donaldson added.

The Reggae Girlz are now third in Group A with three points after two games with their third and final preliminary encounter coming against Haiti on Monday.

The Haitians also have three points and will go into that game with supreme confidence after a convincing 3-0 win over Mexico on Thursday.

The winner of Monday’s match will join the USA as automatic qualifiers to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand while the loser will most likely have to book their spot through an inter-continental playoff.

“I think we’re going to be fine and ready,” Donaldson said.

Former Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine has expressed concern that the women’s national program is heavily beholden to an outside benefactor.

Earlier this week, Blaine stepped down from the post after just six months in charge of the national team.  During his tenure at the helm, the coach found himself at loggerheads with members of the national team, 19 of whom had sent and signed a letter to the JFF questioning the coach’s training methods.

Blaine, however, continues to believe the players were influenced by external forces who will continue to hold plenty of sway with both a large swath of the team’s senior players and the federation itself.

“A lot of people might not want me to say it but definitely that’s what it is,” Blaine told the SportMax Zone,  when asked whether he thought the national program was being held, hostage.

“That’s from my perspective and that’s one of the reasons I decided to part ways and let them have the program.  Hopefully, I wish them all the best.  I hold no ill will towards anyone,” he added.

“It’s my country but it’s just that at this moment I have decided that this is what is best for me and the program.”

The JFF will now begin the search for a new head coach, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in July.

 

 

Departing Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach, Vin Blaine, has insisted the toxic environment surrounding his tenure with the national team had left the situation untenable.

Blaine brought an end to a weeks-long saga yesterday when he announced that he would officially resign as coach of the team, following a dispute with some senior members of the Reggae Girlz.

The players in question wrote a letter of no confidence, to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), signed by 19 members, which suggested the coach lacked detailed training sessions, did not provide video analysis, had issues with set pieces, and provided no post-match reviews for player improvement.

 A review of the situation by the JFF technical committee, however, cleared the coach of any wrongdoing and recommended Blaine stay in the post.  From his perspective, however, making that decision would not have been in anyone’s best interest. 

“Based on the situation, if everyone knew the entire process I went through; It was a toxic environment,” Blaine told the SportsMax Zone.

 “Sad to say from day one or two, in the program, you had staff undermining the program, the previous staff.  You had players telling you who should be the equipment person, who should be the fitness coach, those are things that went on,” he added.

“I came out with a smile on my face because it’s not for me to disclose those things in a training camp.  So, I don’t think I could move forward although the federation said they were clearing me for that.  For the program to go forward and for my own peace of mind, I did not need that kind of toxicity.”

Vin Blaine has confirmed his resignation from his position as head coach of the Jamaica Senior Women’s Football Team.

The former Harbour View head coach took the decision to walk away after 19 Reggae Girlz squad members signed a letter to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts asking that he be replaced.

“The Jamaica Football Federation would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation for the work that coach Vin Blaine has done with the Senior Women’s National Team. Unfortunately, he has decided against taking the team to the next level. We hoped that the relationship shared with the Federation would not end this abruptly, but we appreciate his take on the situation at hand. The JFF wishes him all the very best for the future,” the JFF said in a statement on Tuesday.

Blaine coached the Reggae Girlz at all levels for more than a decade before becoming director of football for the JFF from 2014 to 2017.

He took up Grenada's post of Technical Director in 2017 then had a brief stint as US Virgin Islands coach before his reappointment as Reggae Girlz head coach in December.

He was unbeaten in his four matches as coach and led the Reggae Girlz to four straight victories in Group C of the Concacaf Women's Championship qualifying.

The Reggae Girlz next assignment will be the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship beginning on June 4th in Mexico.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Board has accepted the recommendation of the JFF Technical and Development Committee to retain the Technical Staff of the Senior Women’s National Team including Head Coach Vin Blaine.

In its report, subsequent to an initial investigation into concerns expressed by team members, the committee cited there was insufficient evidence to warrant any such change in personnel at this time. 

According to the report, it’s in the best interest of the JFF to continue on its present course, with the current coaching staff, where the progress will be closely monitored and evaluated periodically.

Further, based on the results so far and with less than two months before the Concacaf Women’s qualifying tournament gets underway in Mexico, it is felt that introducing changes at this time would not be prudent. 

Towards this end, the JFF has the full confidence in the Coaching Staff and the team members but recognizes the need to share in and support the process with some critical Core Values of the organisation, including professionalism, teamwork and respect.

The JFF pledges, as the body responsible for football in Jamaica, to put everything in place, within its powers, to ensure the team is comfortable and can perform at their optimum to achieve Jamaica’s second consecutive qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Reggae Girlz will compete in Group A of the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship alongside the USA, Mexico and Haiti beginning in June 4.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz confirmed their place in the final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday.

Jamaica, who moved one step closer to qualifying for their second straight World Cup, took the lead in the 15th minute through a right footed close-range effort from Jody Brown before the Dominican Republic equalized in the 24th minute through a brilliant strike from Kathrynn Gonzalez.

Jamaica re-took the lead in the 40th minute through Trudi Carter and got a third in the 60th minute when Tiffany Cameron slotted home from a Khadija Shaw pass.

Shaw then got in on the scoring in the 79th minute to make it 4-1 before doubling her tally through a header in the 93rd minute to make it 5-1.

With the win, Jamaica finished top of Group C with a perfect 12 points from their four games.

The final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship takes place in Mexico from July 4-18.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will be looking to secure qualification for the final round of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship when they tackle the Dominican Republic in their final group game at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday.

Following their 9-0 victory over the Cayman Islands on Saturday, April 9, the Reggae Girlz currently sit atop Group C with nine points from their three games with a goal difference of 18 while their opponents also have a perfect three wins from their three games but find themselves second in the group with a goal difference of 14. With only the winner of the group set to advance, Jamaica will only have to avoid defeat.

However, Head Coach Vin Blaine is not planning on anything but victory.

“The girls are focused and ready. There are no injury concerns,” said Blaine said in a pre-match press conference on Monday while outlining what his team has to do to emerge victoriously.

“Dom Rep have never faced any player like our top five attackers since they’ve been playing so that’s an advantage for us," he said.

"Defensively, we stay compact and stay disciplined. In the Cayman game, we got complacent because we were winning by so many goals. That can’t happen against Dom Rep. We have to ensure that we stay disciplined for the whole 90 minutes.

"We go into every game trying to win. The mentality of the girls is to win the game. I know our team is a superior team to Dom Rep. They play well but individual player to player, we are a better team so for me to sit back trying to get a draw would almost be like inviting them to score. I think they have to worry about our attack.”

Should the Reggae Girlz avoid defeat on Tuesday, they will advance to the final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Tournament which will take place from June 4-18 in Mexico.

That phase of the championship will involve eight teams, The USA, Canada and the six group winners from the qualifying tournament and determine the region’s representatives in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Reggae Girlz and Manchester City forward Khadijah Shaw has expressed confidence ahead of the team’s match-up against Bermuda in the opening match of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Thursday.

The competition will be the official start of the team’s campaign to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Despite facing lower-ranked opposition, the team will not be kicking off its journey in ideal circumstances.

Several players who were part of the history-making World Cup squad are unavailable for the fixture due to injury or other reasons.  In addition, the team will feature a number of new players and has had limited time to work out its kinks.  The situation has given interim coach Vin Blaine plenty of pause for thought, but Shaw remains confident the squad will be capable of racking up positive results in this round.

“Football is a team sport, I trust my teammates.  There’s a reason why they are here, and the coach selected them, and I trust the coaching staff as well,” said Shaw, in assessing the situation.

“We have to just come in and understand each other as fast as possible.  It’s not ideal right now but I trust my teammates and I really do think we can get the job done despite other players not being here.”

The team will also travel away to face Grenada in the second match of the window.

 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine expects a strong start to the World Cup qualifiers, despite missing a few of the squad’s key players, when the campaign kicks off on Thursday, at the National Stadium, with a match in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

The Reggae Girlz, who made a historic debut at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, have called up an experienced squad to face Bermuda and Grenada in the upcoming international window.  Despite retaining a number of players that formed part of the historic team, a few others will not be available for the campaign.

Notably absent will be Havana Solange, the scorer of the team’s only World Cup goal, who is injured, Cheyna Matthews, who is taking time away from the sport, and the team’s skipper Konya Plumber.

The likes of Khadijah Shaw and many others have, however, been called up for the fixture along with a few recent additions and players who could make their debut.

“Most of these players have played before and are quite seasoned campaigners.  We’re without a few players that we invited due to documentation issues, but we are looking forward to having them in the future.  These are the girls that have been chosen and I have selected, and we still have a formidable squad,” Blaine said.

“There are many experienced players and some new players that I am taking the opportunity to look at,” he added.

The Reggae Girlz have been given all Caribbean opponents for the first round of qualifiers. Apart from Bermuda, they will also face the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and the Cayman Islands in Group C.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Vin Blaine is to name his squad on Thursday that is to face Bermuda in the preliminary rounds of the Concacaf Women’s World Cup Qualifier on February 17 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

 Match time is 7:00 pm.

 Jamaica will have to win Group C which comprises Bermuda, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands to advance to the next round of qualifiers.

 Following the Bermuda match on February 17, Jamaica will travel to face Grenada on February 20. The remaining games against the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands will be played in April.

 The top finisher in each group will advance to the Concacaf W Championship joining the top-ranked CONCACAF nations, the USA and Canada – that have each received a bye straight to the W Championship which takes place in July 2022.

 The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has received approval to accommodate up to 2500 fully vaccinated fans in the Grand Stand of the National Stadium.

 Interested fans will have to be validated by the government’s electronic system which will open soon. Following the validation process, fans will be able to purchase tickets for J$3000.

 Those fans who were already validated by the system can simply enter and purchase a ticket.

Below are the respective groups for CONCACAF qualifiers.

Group A: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla
Group B: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, and Curacao
Group C: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada and Cayman Islands
Group D: Panama, El Salvador, Barbados, Belize and Aruba
Group E: Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands
Group F: Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and Turks and Caicos Islands

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