Jamaica’s Senior Women’s head coach Hue Menzies says Saturday’s Scotiabank NextPlay festival at CIBC Fire Pitch was a telling display of the unifying power of football.
Some 85 children under 11 years old – 40 of them from four Caribbean territories and the others from the surrounding Chicago area – intertwined in a confluence of cultures with football the bonding agent.
The children from Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago were the winners of their respective Scotiabank NextPlay Cup tournaments played among primary schools.
As part of their prize, they were flown to Chicago to integrate and to also immerse themselves into the Gold Cup experience, which is another initiative in the continued build-out of the NextPlay platform.
On Saturday at CIBC Fire Pitch, the kids from diverse backgrounds took part in various fun activities but were ultimately united by the power of football.
At the end of the day’s activities, total strangers had formed bonds, some of them taking the first steps to even becoming friends down the road.
Menzies, Concacaf’s Female Football Coach of the Year, says the game has a language of its own and had the moving force to break down barriers as it relates to race, class, and creed.
 “Football does not discriminate, which is very good. Here you have different creeds, different colors, and different socio-economical backgrounds, but NextPlay exemplifies here a unifying of the different cultures and I hope Concacaf and Scotiabank will sustain this program throughout the Caribbean,” he said.
 “Football is a common language as it does not matter where you are from it just evolves and the values of football don’t change, so it’s easy to bring people together and we need to take advantage of the game to make the environment better,” Menzies added.
As a special guest at Saturday’s event, the USA-based Jamaican coach said he used the opportunity to speak to as many kids as he could, urging them to make the best of the opportunities that have come their way through the NextPlay Program.
“I told the kids that everybody is not going to go on to be professional players.  "But they must listen and learn and take the qualities they get out of football as it is an avenue and vehicle for the rest of their lives because the things they learn here no one can take away and they just need to apply that in life,” Menzies noted.
 Meanwhile, Concacaf’s Director of Football Jason Roberts says while it was pleasing to see kids from varied backgrounds coming together on Saturday, that manifestation addresses another critical aspect of the NextPlay portfolio.
“It speaks to the integration of the program with boys and girls of different ages interacting… and then you get that interaction from the kids from the Caribbean, who have been a part of the NextPlay program. 
“Today (Saturday) It started as the kids being a little stand-offish, but by the end of it, through football, through interaction of playing and being teammates, you see the bonds start to develop between kids from different sides of the world with various issues, but what we find is that football is that singular thing that brings them together.
“I think as proud as we are at Concacaf in putting football first, our competitions, how we are developing football, I think we are equally proud how we are using football as a vehicle for social change,” Roberts ended.
Also attending Saturday’s event were Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio, Scotiabank’s Director of International Sponsorship Nelson Lanza, Executive Director of Chicago Sports Commission Kara Bachman and Chicago Park District Deputy Chief Program Officer Timothy O’Connell.

Jamaica national women’s team coach Hue Menzies has called on the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to better help prepare the team if they are to be competitive at the FIFA World Cup.

The team’s maiden appearance at the global football showpiece ended on Tuesday.  It was a chastening experience.  The national team ended the campaign with a 4-1 loss to Australia, which meant that they had conceded a total of 11 goals in four games.  The results had also included a 3-0 loss to Brazil and a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Italy. 

The team’s final appearance against the Australians was, however, by far its most promising as slick passes around the pitch, particularly in the second half, created several scoring opportunities. It was one of those chances that saw Havana Solaun make history as the first women to score for the country at the World Cup.  Despite several lopsided results, after finding themselves in a tough group, Menzies insisted he was proud of the team’s performance, especially in the curtain closer.

“We never gave up.  We gave it the tallawah effort and that we knew that could do,” Menzies said following the match. 

“Our game plan worked but we just had to execute better.  We gave up some sloppy goals in the second half,” he added.

In order to make an impact at a tournament of the scale of the World Cup, however, Menzies believes the team’s preparation needed to be a lot better.

“Our preparation is important.  How do we prepare?  The Federation has to understand that this is not something that we just go out and we play Caribbean teams.  We have to play teams in Europe in order to get to this stage.”

The Jamaicans were the first English-speaking Caribbean team to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

Jamaica women’s football team coach Hue Menzies is already plotting a quick recovery for the national team following a 3-0 loss to Brazil, on their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut, on Sunday.

The Reggae Girlz put in a creditable performance against their noted South American opponents but were in truth short of any real answers, on the heels of a three-goal blitz from Cristiane Rozeira.  The result put the Jamaicans at the bottom of a tough four-team Group C, hardly the ideal start, but the coach was quick to insist the team has plenty yet to play for.

“We’re still in it.  We just have to look at fixing our back line and let’s get Bunny (Khadijah Shaw) more involved,” Menzies said.

Shaw the team’s top scorer was indeed mostly a fringe figure, with sporadic touches on the ball throughout the fixture, but proved to be a menace when she did manage to get possession. 

The forward’s fierce 30th-minute strike was just tipped over the top by Brazilian goalkeeper Bárbara and she saw a 50th-minute header drift just wide of the target.  Menzies insisted the loss would not be a major setback and pointed to the fact that the team recovered from a tough situation to seal it historic qualification for the World Cup.

“We’ve lost games before, we just have to pick it up and get after it.  We lost to Canada got back and beat Costa Rica. So we just have to pick it up and get back in the business.”

Jamaica will next tackle Italy on June 14 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims.

Injured Reggae Girlz forward Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw and Kayla McCoy are being assessed on a daily basis with the hope that they will be ready to take the field when Jamaica opens its 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign on June 9.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hue Menzies said his players have managed to put the weekend’s travel mishaps behind and are settling in nicely before Tuesday’s final World Cup warm-up match against a tough Scotland unit on Tuesday.

Jamaica on Wednesday named a 22-player squad that will campaign in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that set to kick off on June 7 and conclude on July 7 in France. A 23rd player is to be named by Friday, May 24.

There are a couple of new faces in the squad including Kayla McCoy, the former Duke University forward and Olufolasade Adamolekun, who played in an exhibition game against Nottingham Forest in late 2018. However, the majority of the players who competed at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships in October 2018, have retained their places.

The squad was named less than 72 hours after the Reggae Girlz defeated Panama 3-1 before a crowd of about 10,000 at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, May 19. The Reggae Girlz have not lost a match since they qualified for the World Cup in October 2018 after defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties. The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after regulation and extra time at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.

Since then, Jamaica defeated Chile 1-0 and 3-2 in Jamaica, drew 1-1 with South Africa and Sunday’s comprehensive victory.

In light of the progress shown by the team under the coaching staff of Hue Menzies, Lorne Donaldson and Andrew Price, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts said he was confident in the squad selected.

“The JFF is extremely proud of the achievement of the Girlz who are a true representation of what makes us Jamaicans. We are also proud of the coaching and other supporting staff who together make a fantastic unit,” Ricketts said after the squad was announced.

“Based on the makeup, capabilities and ambassadorial spirit of the players and staff, the Federation is absolutely confident that the country will be represented with pride.

“We must also point out that none of this would have happened without the commitment and sacrifice of those Girlz, who battled for us in the qualifiers but will not be a part of the group for France, we express sincere thanks to those Girlz also.”

The JFF president also paid tribute to the sponsors who have come on board with the JFF to make the trip to France possible.

“The JFF expresses thanks to our loyal sponsors, football fans, the government and the media for the outpouring of support,” said Ricketts, who also had a special word for the young female footballers who are inspired by this achievement and the pioneers who started the movement in the country.

The 22-member squad includes: Allyson Swaby, Ashleigh Shim, Chinyelu Asher, Chantal Hudson-Marks, Deniesha Blackwood, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Khadija Shaw, Lauren Silver, Marlo Sweatman, Nicole McClure, Sashana Campbell, Konya Plummer, Toriana Patterson, Trudi Carter, Yazmeen Jamieson, Chantel Swaby, Kayla McCoy, Chenya Matthews, Tiffany Cameron, Jody Brown, Sydney Schneider and Olufolasade Adamolekun.

The high press is expected to a feature of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz play during their campaign at the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. However, head coach Hue Menzies believes the team needs to a better job of taking advantage of those situations once they win the ball back in their opponents defensive third.

Jamaica pressed Panama high up the pitch during their 3-1 win at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday night. Their forwards – Bunny Shaw, Trudi Carter, and Mireya Gray, and midfielders Marlo Sweatman, Laura Jackson and Olufolasade Adamolekun – closed the spaces down on the Panamanian defenders and forced turnovers during the opening 30 minutes of the fame but failed to capitalize.

A brace from Bunny Shaw and one from Shakira Duncan sealed the Jamaican win over the Panamanians for whom Natalia Mills scored.

However, in the early exchanges, Jamaica missed several clear opportunities to score before Shaw managed to give the home side a 1-nil lead in the 29th minute. It could easily have been three-nil had Trudi Carter, playing in her first match since last October, Shaw, and fullback Dominique Bond-Flasza, not muffed easy chances to score.

“We talked about defending a little higher up the field so we can capitalize on some things. We won a lot of corner kicks, which was good but we still need to capitalize on those opportunities,” he said.

“We should have been up some goals early in the game. We just didn’t capitalize on them.”

Menzies pinpointed other issues that he plans to work on before the team makes their berth in the World Cup against Brazil on June 9.

“Our possession game, playing out the back, our midfield was a little stagnant. Obviously, we don’t have all the players here, but it shows the depth of what we have created,” he said, saying Shakira Duncan’s goal, Jamaica’s third was evidence of how well the team has progressed in recent months.

“Shaki’s goal dictates how good we are, getting forward with numbers. We think we are the best in the world at that. We lured them into possession and then we countered and that’s what we talked about.”

He also talked about the number of turnovers caused by errant passes, another they have identified that they have to work on before they get to France next month.

Following their 1-1 draw with South Africa back in April, the Reggae Girlz will be back in action on Sunday when they take on a strong Panama unit, hoping to exact revenge following their 4-2 penalty shoot-out loss in the World Cup qualifiers last year.

 A bit of the aforementioned recent history seemed very much on the mind of head coach Hue Menzies as he assembled a strong squad to face the Central Americans on home soil.

Veteran attacking player Khadija Shaw will once again lead the line and will be joined by returning attacking AS Roma based midfielder Trudi Carter, who has been out for four months due to injury.

 Menzies is expected to name his final 23-man squad for the World Cup this week, and so he will be looking closely at some players.

 “We are in the last week of selecting our group and some of these players were told to step up if they are to make the cut. We have brought in the technology to test some of these players and so I feel it will come down to a more psychological aspect for some of these girls,” Menzies said.

 The coach had high praises for University of Tennessee graduate Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw who showed excellent physical ability in practice.

 “When you look at the work ethic of someone like ‘Bunny’ it shows that some of the senior players are ready for the task at hand, it is very encouraging heading into our final set of warm-up games,” he added.

 Following the Panama friendly on Sunday, the squad will depart on Monday for a camp in Florida where the likes of players like Jody Brown and Marlo Sweatman are expected to join up with the team.

The Girls will then depart for the United Kingdom for a friendly against Scotland in Edinburgh on May 28.

 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies insists the management team is close to selecting a 26-man squad, following a 1-1 draw with South Africa in a friendly international on Sunday.

The match, which featured goals from South Africa’s Desiree Ellis and an equaliser from Khadija Shaw, was a part of both teams’ preparation for this year's FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

Despite admitting that the team would have preferred to play more than one game on the tour, Menzies revealed that the training sessions had also been helpful in narrowing down the final squad.

“We just have to go back and meet with the staff.  We still have a few technicalities we have to wait on with FIFA but once we get all that stuff sorted we can finalise our roster,” Menzies said.

“We’ll take 23 for the games but we’ll take 26 on the trip so that gives us an additional three players to be on that trip.  So obviously if someone gets injured we’ll have those alternates training,” he added.

The Reggae Girlz have been drawn in Group C at the FIFA Women's World Cup alongside Brazil, Italy and Australia. They will get their campaign started on June 9 against Brazil. They will play Italy on June 14 and Australia on June 18.

Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies has said that Sunday’s match against South Africa is the last chance for some of his players to secure a spot on the squad that will compete at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hue Menzies believes the new players recruited for the squad preparing for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup bring both depth and quality.

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz have to hit the ground running in their two upcoming friendlies against Chile on February 28 and March 3 in Jamaica as head coach Hue Menzies will begin selecting his World Cup squad this weekend.

As they intensify their preparations for this summer’s FIFA Women's World Cup, Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz host Chile for two matches on February 28 and March 3.

Hue Menzies, coach of the historic Reggae Girlz, who became the first team from the Caribbean to qualify for a World Cup, and Minister of Sport Olivia Grange, are in agreement that Guardian Newspaper’s Footballer of the Year, Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw, is a great role model. 

Changes could be coming to the make-up of the Reggae Girlz squad as they begin preparations for the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France next summer.

Page 1 of 2
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.