Historic win for U20 Girlz
Jamaica scored a historic and impressive 3-1 win over regional giants, Canada in Group E of the Concacaf under-20 women’s football championship in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic, yesterday.
Goals from captain Jody Brown (20), Lacey Murray (80), and Marlee Fray (89) gave the young Reggae Girlz the honour of topping the group. Senior women’s team assistant coach Andrew Price and former national women’s coach Charles Edwards believe the team has the ability to reach the championship game and qualify for the Women’s Under-20 World Cup, which will be held in Panama and Costa Rica in August.
“This (victory) is just another statement that Jamaican female football is on track,” Price said. “We have developed a good cadre of ladies in the under-17 and under-20s, and I believe that with each game, the team continues to gel and get better camaraderie. I believe they will continue to play well. But it was exceedingly good to see them play so well against a top country like Canada and win the group.”
Edwards said the young Reggae Girlz have been what he considers a shining light at the tournament despite going in with inadequate preparation.
“I am very excited,” Edwards said. “With all the negativity that has taken place, this is a very positive outcome. I hope we can take the lessons and try to take the programme forward.
“I would say we are ready to challenge for a place in the championship game, but take it one step at time and look at the opposition in the next round and assess what we need to do and then get ourselves in a proper position where we can go for it.”
Captain Brown fired the young Reggae Girlz in front in the 20th minute when she ran through Canada’s defence and steered a shot inside the near post from 12 yards.
Jamaica were better throughout and 10 minutes from time, Murray redirected a cross from Chantelle Parker after good work from the latter down the right, to make it 2-0. Marlee Fray netted the third in the 89th minute after she was set up by Brown.
The Jamaicans topped Group E with seven points, ahead of Canada (4) and El Salvador (3), who also qualify for the knockout stage. Guatemala (2) finished at the bottom.
The young Reggae Girlz will next play Bermuda in the round of 16 on Saturday. If they win and advance to the quarterfinals, they will face the winner of the game between hosts Dominica Republic and El Salvador.