Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Female prodigy Shaw aims to score big time at Navarro

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Junior Reggae Girlz captain Khadija Shaw. - File

Livingston Scott, Gleaner Writer

Seventeen-year-old Khadija Bunny Shaw, who is being touted as the next big thing in Jamaicas womens football and who has been a major target for many top United States (US) colleges and universities, has eventually made Navarro College her next school of choice.

The former St Jago High student says her decision to select the Texas-based college was greatly influenced by the fact that national teammates Trudy Carter and Nicole Broderick are already attending the institution and she always wanted to go to a school where she has friends, as that will help her settle much quicker in her new environment.

"I've always wanted to go to a college where I know people. I didnt want to go to a college where I knew nobody. So the fact that Trudy (Carter) and Nicole (Broderick) are there made it an easier choice for me. But also Navarro College, I followed them and did a lot of research on them and they are a good college, both in football and academically," she also noted.

Impressive performance

The prodigy returned to the island last week to obtain her student visa, this, after spending the last few weeks playing for the Magic Jack Under-18 club team, where she impressed by scoring five goals in three matches.

Shaw ended up playing for Magic Jack after the national under-18 team played them in a practice game and she impressed the teams coach and owner, Dan Borislav, who invited her to train with the team.

She revealed that her experience with the Jacks has been an eye-opener and has prepared her for the standard of football expected at the college level.

"Playing football in the US on a whole is a different experience; they play much quicker, they are faster, they think better on the ball and being in that type of environment will prepare me for college (football). I just want to play to the best of my ability and go for the best at all times and try to do well in school, so, of course, I know I can be a success," she continued.

Shaw burst on the scene in 2011 as a 14-year-old representing the national Under-15, Under-17 and Under-20 teams, all in that same year. Since then, she has gone on to establish herself as one of the nations top female players. In 2014, she captained the national Under-17s and helped the Under-20s to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) titles and the CONCACAF final rounds.

However, she opted to withdraw from the senior team after a very busy 2014 schedule, where she also led her school, St Jago, to their first schoolgirl title in 10 years.

Shaw, the CFU Under-20 championship MVP, admitted that there are weaknesses in her game that need improving, but she intends to work hard to correct those faults, and with the experience, she expects to garner playing college football, she says it will help make her a better player, one more capable of helping the national team achieve the ultimate dream of qualifying for a World Cup.

"I think it (playing in college) will make my chances (playing for Jamaica) even better. Playing college football is harder, so, whenever I come back to the national programme, I know I will be ready, and I hope to use the experience I get there to help the team achieve success," she said.