Sweet as sugar, fancy-footed Mireya Grey eager to mix it up for Reggae Girlz

Friday, January 19, 2018

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago — Mireya Grey is the livewire in Jamaica's Under-20 Reggae Girlz team. She is lethal and fierce with the ball at her feet.

So dazzling are the abilities of the striker that Head Coach Lorne Donaldson has nicknamed her “Sugar Rey” — yeah, just like the famous boxer Ray Charles “Sugar Ray” Leonard — for more reasons that one.

Like the boxer and her father Heron “Sheriff” Grey, who played for Montego Bay Cricket Club then switched to Wadadah, Mariah is very prolific and possesses a lot of speed that makes her a huge asset to the young Reggae Girlz team.

Born in Seattle, Grey spent fours year living in West Gate and Lottery, both situated in the second city of Montego Bay before moving back to Seattle, where her now budding career took flight with Crossfire 98 in the Elite Clubs National League (ENCL).

By virtue of her slick passing ability and nippy footwork, she earned a call-up for the United States of America (USA) Under-18 team in 2016 prior to enrolment at the University of Washington.

“I did alright [but] not as well as I wanted to, but I became more mature in my game and I got calls from coach Lorne through my club to come out for the Jamaican team, because I wasn't playing with the US at the time, so I came over. I should have come over a little earlier, but there is always some passport issue, but now I'm here,” Grey told the Jamaica Observer.

Unlike her father, who also played and coached at Seba and whose career ended when he picked up an injury while in training for the Senior Reggae Boyz team, Grey seems poised for greater things.

“I am basically charting the same course as my dad, except for the injury. And I am hoping I can stay injury-free because when I started, my immediate goal was to make the national youth team and then probably when I am older I wanted to play with the US, just to be able to represent them both, which is pretty much what I am doing now,” Grey noted.

The 19-year-old freshman described as humbling the opportunity to showcase her ability in the young Reggae Girlz team and is now relishing her shine.

“I am allowed to do that with the Jamaican team and it is funny because whenever I'm in the US and somebody from the Caribbean saw me, they always ask you are from Jamaica and I was like 'yeah'. They can just tell because in America they don't play the same, they play totally different,” she shared.

“The experience has been very humbling; sometimes I hear people say it and I think its cliché, but it is humbling, meaning coming from the US and they are so privilege to have everything,” Grey added.

With the Young Reggae Girlz on a quest to advance to the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup to be staged in France in August, Grey is high on confidence as she will be called upon to play a solid role up front.

The Jamaicans will kick-start their CONCACAF Under-20 campaign today against Mexico before tackling the Americans on Sunday and close against Central Americans Nicaragua on Tuesday.

— Sherdon Cowan

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