Reggae Girlz look to inspire while celebrating historic World Cup qualification

By Sherdon Cowan
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 17, 2018

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Sharing success is like telling a good story that has an impact, help to inspire others to achieve their own goals.

Shanise Foster and her Reggae Girlz teammates and coaching staff are currently doing that while they continue to bask in the recognition of their historic qualification for the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

The Reggae Girlz, who remained resolute and committed when faced with many adversities and mental blocks during the qualification phase, became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Fifa Women's World Cup.

They are now on the island enjoying the fruits of their labour before heading back to work for next summer's show- piece event.

For many, the national celebration might be belated, but for the Reggae Girlz it came at an opportune time when their schedules with club commitments and schools allow.

Now the players and coaches are using the opportunity to inspire the many young players of both genders, who are aspiring to one day achieve a similar or even greater feat of their own.

The celebrations woke up the South St Andrew community of Arnett Gardens — the home of Foster and teammate Trudi Carter — on Saturday night, to end a massive motorcade, which started at G C Foster College in St Catherine and lasted approximately five hours.

Though a bit weary from an earlier trip to the western part of the island where they were presented with the keys to the city of Montego Bay, the Reggae Girlz seemingly enjoyed every moment of the motorcade, which made brief stops in Spanish Town and Half-Way-Tree, before docking in the “Jungle”.

Foster, the only local-based player who was a part of the final leg of qualification at the Concacaf Women's Championships in Texas in October, was overwhelmed by the reception from her community and wider Jamaica.

Carter, who plies her trade for AS Roma in Italy, was among several players who were unable to attend due to other obligations.

“It is very exciting and I just loved how the people came out and supported us and we really appreciate it and I want to say thanks to the government for putting this together.

“It was a joy dancing with my son [Kamoy Chambers] in front of my home support, so I am just pleased that he can see that mommy is a part of history and celebrate it with me,” a beaming Foster told the Jamaica Observer.

“I am just overwhelmed right now and I want to share a quote with younger players that 'None of us, including me, ever do great things, but we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.

“Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much and I am happy that I can say that I was a part of this team that achieved a historic accomplishment,” she added.

Another player, Sashana Campbell, who along with Kevena Reid took time out from their duties with Israeli club Maccabi Kishronot Hadera FC to join the celebrations, concurred.

“I thought it was a really good gesture put on by the government and the sports minister. We wish we could have spread the celebration across the entire country; however, I know those far and wide, who didn't get to see us, are celebrating with us and we appreciate it all.

“Overall, I think we are deserving of this celebration and more. We have worked very hard for this historic mark and even now we are optimistic about what is to come next, as we want to continue to inspire the next generation of players who will follow through when we hang up our pegs. Thanks to Cedella Marley and Alacran Foundation for the support along our journey and we are looking forward to the support of those to come,” Campbell shared.

Meanwhile, Grange pointed out that the four-day celebrations which continued yesterday with a praise and worship concert at Emancipation Park, was a no-brainer.

“It was a beautiful reception... all along the streets in Spanish Town it was just an outpouring of love for the Reggae Girlz and what this underscores is the fact that I wanted to take them through the nook and cranny of Jamaica. time did not allow us to do that but we were able to take them to important and critical communities,” the minister noted.

She continued: “Arnett Gardens is the home of two of the players and we felt it was fitting coming into Arnett Gardens and have the community greet their own and just show them love and it was just unbelievable and a wonderful experience.

“I think that we are on the right track in relation to acknowledging the Girlz' achievements, making them feel special and allowing the people of Jamaica to know who they are and also ensuring that we do things to inspire and motivate them to greater heights.”

The celebration was also extended to players, who started the qualifying campaign with the team in Haiti and were also a part of the final Caribbean round hosted here in August.

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