Menzies - Girlz need pro environment
National senior women’s team head coach, Hue Menzies, says Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz need a professional environment all year round to be competitive at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals in France and in future qualifiers and tournaments. Three Reggae Girlz, Marlo Sweatman, Lauren Silver and Chinyelu Asher were contracted by clubs in Europe this week. Silver and Asher moved to Norwegian clubs Trondheim and Stabaek, respectively, while Sweatman is now at St Mihaly in Hungary. Menzies said that they would be aiming get other Girlz playing professional football, as that is where they will get the tactical training and the discipline to compete with the best.
“The players who are not contracted, we will try to get them playing, to get into a better environment,” Menzies said. He noted that the players playing at the World Cup would be full time professionals.
“We need people at that (pro) level. So it’s not what you do in camp. It’s what you do outside of camp, and we are trying to change that mentality. It’s not about going to Waterhouse and playing against Arnett Gardens. It’s a totally different thing,” he commented.
There are now 10 players currently plying their trade in Europe and Menzies said they will be crucial in getting the squad to settle down quickly in France. He also believes that the presence of four Jamaican players in the Italian league will give the team a distinct advantage against the Italians.
“It is important to have them playing in Europe. We will be playing against Brazil, Italy, and Australia (in the group), and a lot of their players play in Europe. So it gives our players an opportunity to play against those players and feel more comfortable when we go to the World Cup. So there will not be a fear factor. The mentality will be more like, ‘Let’s go out and take care of business,’ “ he said.
Jamaicans Allyson Swaby and Trudi Carter are at Roma, Toriana Patterson plays for Pink Sports Time, and Siobhan Wilson represents Sassuolo, all in the Italian League, and Menzies says that this can give them some inside knowledge of the Italians, which could prove useful.
“When we got the draw, one of the players said that she knows all the kids on the team. She plays against all those players, and two of them play on her team. So it’s good that they are familiar with those players, and that will ease the pressure.
“But if we want to compete at the highest level at the World Cup, we have got to start from the young ones and get them into colleges, because some colleges run a pro-level environment, and they have the money to do it,” he added.