Sun | Jun 7, 2020

Leading lady - ‘Bunny’ Shaw optimistic about adding to 40 goal international tally

Published:Thursday | October 10, 2019 | 12:16 AMLivingston Scott - Gleaner Writer -
Khadija Shaw
Khadija Shaw

Khadija Shaw became Jamaica’s all time leading goal scorer with 40 goals, with her five goal tally against the US Virgin Islands in Concacaf Caribbean Group B Olympic Qualifiers at the National Stadium on Tuesday night.

The record was previously held by former Harbour View and Jamaica forward, Luton Shelton (35).

Shaw, who played for Jamaica’s Under 15, Under 17, and Under 20 teams in the same year at just 14 years old, made her senior international debut in a 6-0 win over Dominica Republic in 2015, scoring a double in that game. It took her only 27 more games to get the milestone.

The former St Jago High School student, a nominee for the 2018 RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportswoman of the Year, played her entire youth football career as a midfielder and never imagined she would blossom into such a goal scoring phenomenon. She credits her University of Tennessee (UT) coach Brian Pensky for transforming her into the goal scoring machine she is today.

“When I arrived [at UT] he looked at me and said ‘I think you need to be closer to goal. You will be way more effective,’ and I was like ‘Okay!’ But he was like, ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do, and as a soccer player, you have to be ready for anything. I am grateful, because I am playing the sport I love and enjoying every bit of it, so I thank Brian Pensky and I just have to keep going,” Shaw said.

Shaw, was only made aware of the record on Monday and says she came into the game feeling no pressure.

“I spoke with my coach and he said it was another opportunity to get better and to score goals,” she said. “When we play teams like these, we have to bury them deep. But it’s a great feeling and it shows that all the hard work and dedication that I put into this sport is paying off.

“But all that matters is the three points and that we move on. Yes I may score the goals, but to me, once we are progressing as a team and are getting better every day, that all that matters. It was another game to get better and I wanted to work hard, as a team and individually.”

Shaw, who plays for Bordeaux in France’s Division 1 Féminine, says scoring triple figures for her country is not beyond her as long as she stays fit. She will get her chance to continue adding to her tally when the Reggae Girlz take part in the final round of Concacaf qualifying early next year.

Khadija Shaw fact file:

Born: January 31, 1997

From: Spanish Town, St Catherine

Nickname: Bunny

Positions: Forward, midfielder

Current team: Bordeaux (Division 1 Féminine)

- Assisted Jamaica’s first ever goal in a FIFA Women’s World Cup, scored by Havana Solaun against Australia on Tuesday, July 18, 2019.

- Third ever Guardian footballer of the year. Became first ever female player to win the award in 2018.