Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Invaluable experience - Reggae Girlz reflect on time in France upon return to island

Published:Friday | June 21, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Defender Denesha Blackwood (left), winger Trudi Carter (second left), goalkeeper Chris-Ann Chambers (second right), and defender Sashana Campbell are greeted by Jamaica Football Federation director James Pearson (centre) on arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday. The Reggae Girlz returned from their debut appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this month.
Jamaica winger Trudi Carter whips a cross in ahead of the advancing Thaisa of Brazil during the teams’ Group C opener at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Grenoble, France, on Sunday, June 9.
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Fresh off their first-ever stint in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Reggae Girlz Trudi Carter and Sashana Campbell both echoed the sentiment of the campaign being a learning experience for them individually, as well as a team as it plans for the future. The Girlz made history last year when they became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the FWWC. However, they suffered three consecutive defeats at the hands of Brazil, Italy, and Australia.

Carter, who plies her trade for Italian giants AS Roma in the Serie A Femminile, felt that the pressure of playing at such a high level of competition against some of the best teams in the world is something she will take many lessons from. A dream come true for her, she says that the experience is one that she, as a professional player, needed.

AMAZING EXPERIENCE

“I’d say I’ll take all the experience from this. It’s my first time going to the World Cup, and to play against those girls in the top 15 in the world, I’d say it was amazing,” Carter said. “I’m looking forward to the future for our young team going forward.”

Sashana Campbell, who was deployed in the defence line for the Menzies-coached unit, echoed her teammate’s sentiments. She also went on to say that it came down to a matter of experience at that level that made the difference between the teams.

“As a player, the lesson I’d take away from being at the World Cup is that we can’t just show up and expect success. We’re going to need to work harder and gain experience as we go along. We went against the big guns, and they had the experience. I think that’s what they used – the experience – to beat us in the games,” Campbell admitted.

Despite the losses, the team made history with Havana Solaun scoring its only goal of the tournament against the No. 6-ranked Australian team.

Carter, who featured in that game, has her mind set on the next challenge: the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, in July. Drawn in Group A against Mexico, Colombia, and Paraguay, Carter hopes for a more successful showing for the team as it faces off against familiar opponents.

“I think we have a great chance,” she said. “We’ve been playing Mexico in Concacaf, so that will be great for us,” she said. “The last time we faced Colombia, we beat them 2-1, so we know how they play. This will be the first time we’ll face Paraguay. So we won’t know what to expect, but I know that if we put our minds to it, maybe we can advance from the group.”

The Pan American Games women’s football tournament begins on July 28 with eight teams participating in two groups of eight. The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals.

-Gregory Bryce