Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Patterson wants regular FWWC berth

Published:Tuesday | June 18, 2019 | 12:24 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Patterson
Defender Deneisha Blackwood (front) displays her control of the ball while goalkeeper Yazmeen Jamieson looks on in the background during a Jamaica senior women’s football team training session at Stade Eugene Thenard in Grenoble, France, yesterday ahead of their FIFA Women’s World Cup Group C match against Australia.
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GRENOBLE, France:

Twenty-five-year-old Jamaican international Toriana Patterson said that having experienced a taste of football at the highest level, Jamaica’s woman footballers are more determined than ever to ensure that FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC) qualification becomes more a norm than an anomaly.

Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to qualify for the marquee event when they finished third at the Concacaf Women’s Championships last October, a major turnaround for a programme that had been shelved several years earlier before being rescued through financial support from Cedella Marley, daughter of iconic Jamaican musician Bob Marley.

The island’s results have not gone to hopes, with the Girlz losing 3-0 to Brazil in their opening game of the competition before Italy put five unanswered goals past them in their second match.

They will face Australia today in their final group game, which is likely to bring an end to their first campaign at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

HIGHEST LEVEL OF COMPETITION

However, Patterson, who plays club football in Italy with FC Bari 1908 Pink, is hoping that the country will return to this stage in four years’ time at the next FWWC, which is set for 2023.

“This is the highest level of competition, so it’s good to be here, good to see everything happening here, and good to experience everything. It’s only going to make us into better players, so it’s all positive things,” Patterson told The Gleaner ahead of yesterday’s training session at the Stade Eugene Thenard.

“It has been a little disappointing with the results, but for Jamaica, for us, it’s important that we are on stages like this – and not once every 20 years or whatever it may be,” Patterson said. “Every few months, we need to be together competing in whatever tournaments are out there because, like I said before, this is the highest level of competition, and this is where we all want to be on a regular basis.

“We are the youngest team here among all the teams so the future is really bright for us. If we keep getting opportunities and qualifying for tournaments like this, it’s going to be really great,” she added.

The New York-born striker shared that on a personal level, she has taken much from her time here in France and is certain that the experience will add significant value to her development as a player.

“In terms of what I have taken from this competition, technically is probably the biggest things, and also just tactically. Just watching some of these players, their awareness, focus, movement on and off the ball, professionalism – all of it is just pretty incredible to see, so even at 25, I guess I am one of the older players on this team, but I still have so much to learn, so I always look for ways to grow as a player,” said Patterson.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com