‘These Girlz are something special’ – Gillmore - Coach pleased after Jamaica’s U14 Reggae Girlz win Challenge Series
Female football in Jamaica had yet another reason to celebrate, as the youngsters played admirably to walk away as the winners of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Girls’ U14 Challenge Series on Friday.
After leading the team to their success, head coach Dexter Gillmore is optimistic about the future of Jamaica’s women football programme, describing the current batch of Under-14s as “special”.
The Girlz ended the competition with a perfect record after claiming three wins from as many games.
The team started the competition in an uncertain fashion, after barely edging Martinique in a close 3-2 encounter, but seemed to get the ball rolling after a good display of attacking potency halted runners-up Dominica Republic 4-2. In the last encounter of the competition, as the rain poured down, so too did the goals, with the Girlz hammering Bermuda 6-1 in a dominant display.
Goals from Tyesha Nelson (6), Tiny Seaton (23), Dannique Wilson (48), Natoya Atkinson (56), Akelia Johnson (60) and Janiel Mignott (70+2) sealed the title for the young Reggae Girlz. Katerine Bean scored Bermuda’s lone goal in the 34th minute of play.
“We’ve accomplished our task at hand and we feel good. Attacking prowess is a thing that we have in this group and they scored some quality goals,” Gillmore said. “We can’t stop now. Look how far they have come in only a few months’ time, can you imagine them in the years to come? These girls are something special.”
Already looking towards the future, coach Gillmore is optimistic of plans being put in place in order to ease the transition of the girls through the ranks. This is a sentiment shared by the team’s captain, Dannique Wilson.
Wilson, who scored two goals during the competition, feels it will not be long before her name is among the senior ranks.
“When I think about the Reggae Girlz, the senior coach talked to me in Montego Bay and I feel very proud for that, and I love playing in front of the Jamaican fans,” said Wilson. “I know I can do that, because it is just the work that you have to put out to be successful.”
Right beside her will be the wily winger, who the fans have been calling ‘likkle but tallawah’. Despite being one of the smallest players on the pitch, Tiny Seaton has played with the confidence and experience of a player twice her size.
Quickly becoming a fan favourite for her plethora of skills down the flanks, Seaton said the crowd support is a major boost to her performances.
“It feels like they come out to support me and mi never let them down, so mi always play to my best, and do well,” Seaton said. “It was my first time playing for the national team, so it was an exciting feeling.”