The Jamaica Football Federation’s issues with the Reggae Girlz and who should coach them are not yet over with the Sunday night announcement that veteran coach, Lorne Donaldson has quit.

According to reports in the media, Donaldson left his post as Reggae Girlz assistant coach with immediate effect.

His resignation letter suggests the reason for the resignation falls in line with an earlier parting of the ways, by his boss, Hue Menzies.

"This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF," said Donaldson, who is also executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer.

Menzies had resigned, suggesting the JFF were not professional in handling contract negotiations.

Donaldson, who was seen as frontrunner to take Menzies place had said he would not take the head coach job unless things changed.

Now he wants nothing to do with the job completely.

The resignation also comes days after the JFF announced an interim head coach appointment for Hubert Busby, who had been the Reggae Girlz goalkeeping coach.

There was also the appointment of long-time Boys’ Town coach Andrew Price as an assistant, as the Reggae Girlz take on the second round of Olympic Qualifying next month.

Donaldson’s letter did not make mention of the fact that an assistant was hired while he was substantively in that role but his last tour with the women’s programme was to hold a training camp for under-17 and under-20 Reggae Girlz last month.

Before that Donaldson took up head coaching during the Reggae Girlz successful first round of Olympic qualifying, while Menzies took time off.

Here is Donaldson’s full resignation letter

Dear Mr. [Michael] Ricketts:

After careful consideration, I must immediately tender my resignation from all duties associated with the Jamaica Football Federation women’s program. This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF.

I’m honored to have served Jamaica’s football community for over 45 years and will continue to do so in many capacities. However, I will not in clear conscience, continue to work for an organization that blatantly disregard the sacrifices of the coaching staff and the Reggae Girlz. As coaches, we have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, but jointly we successfully led our women’s senior team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in history. This was a tremendous feat and one for which we should all be incredibly proud.

I thank the JFF, Hue Menzies and my peers, Reggae Girlz Ambassador, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation who were instrumental in bringing financial support and reviving awareness through social media about the plight of the Reggae Girlz. I also thank members of the Reggae Girlz Foundation, our many sponsors and the Jamaican supporters worldwide for their unwavering support.

Most importantly, I sincerely thank all members of the Reggae Girlz teams for their dedication and commitment while overcoming adversity in challenging conditions as without them these accomplishments would not have been possible.

The sombre affair of laying to rest the body of Reggae Girl Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke was replaced with the loud bangs of gunshots and the unmistakable stench of fear from mourners who were hindered from doing just that on Sunday.

What started as a day celebrating the life of Clarke, where she was described as a born leader at the Excelsior High School Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica, ended with confusion and pain at the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.

Reports are that on Sunday, there was an altercation during the burial that resulted in the stabbing of an employee at Meadowrest.

It is alleged that gunmen from the nearby community, hearing of the injury to one of their own, broke up the proceedings by firing gunshots into the proceedings.

It is unknown if anybody was shot in the incident as the police are yet to release a report on the incident as investigations continue.

The October 31 death shocked the footballing community in Jamaica, with reports surfacing that the 20-year-old was stabbed during a fight with a friend over a cell phone in Half-Way Tree.

During the memorial service inside the auditorium, Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw asked that Clarke be remembered for being funny, caring and hard working.

“She would have wanted to be with us all, to be here with our happiest smile of our times together,” said Shaw.

“For the memories, I have with her, I can tell you she was a strong person. Plum Plum’s presence will be missed by all, but she will never be forgotten.”

Clarke captained the Waterhouse women’s team for four title-winning seasons, earning a Reggae Girlz debut on September 30 during the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers and even scored her first international goal against Cuba, during a 21-1 drubbing. The defender also scored against St Lucia when the Reggae Girlz beat them 11-0.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, said the loss of life was caused by a lack of understanding.

“It is so sad and painful to have lost someone which such a future,” Ricketts said.

“From her days at primary school, she has exhibited that ability to lead. I want to use this opportunity to ask all of you that we showed love. We [need to] go back to the days when we respect and show love to our friends. One single act of indiscretion has cost the community, the school, and certainly Jamaica, [someone] with such great talent.”

Jamaica Football Federation president, Michael Ricketts, held nothing back recently when he slammed former Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies for being unprofessional.

Menzies, the coach who led the Reggae Girlz to a historic World Cup Qualification earlier this year, quit the team via the media recently, citing numerous problems with remuneration and issues with getting information about a new contract, which elapsed earlier this year.

Ricketts, however, said Menzies has been less than truthful about his issues with the JFF and pointed out that the nature of his resignation was not inkeeping with proper protocol.

“If I were to say the things that Menzies have done, it would cause all of us major embarrassment. We’ll refrain from saying anything else; just to say that Menzies up to now has not yet said to the JFF that here’s my letter of resignation, but he tells the world and every single media house that he has resigned so we take it that he has resigned so we move on,” said Ricketts on Jamaican radio station, Hitz 92 FM.

Menzies had missed the first stage of the Reggae Girlz’ Olympic qualifiers earlier this year, saying he would not coach the team until the JFF resolved their issues with him.

According to Ricketts, his organization were only made aware that this was the case, again through the media.

“Just before the start of the preliminary round of the World Cup Qualifiers, Minister (Olivia Grange) and I were on the phone and got in contact with the coach to have a three-way discussion. Menzies said to us that he could not come to the first stage of the qualifiers because he had a board meeting to attend. The next day Menzies was on the radio saying that he was not coming because the JFF owed him money,” said the JFF president.

The announcement of a new coach, the JFF has said, will take place before the end of the year.

Sports Minister Olivia Grange says the Government will give substantial financial support to the family of slain Jamaica women's international footballer Tarania Clarke.

Grange made the announcement on her Instagram page on Thursday after meeting with Tarania’s mother Charmaine Riley Clarke, her sister Tina Darby and coach Xavier Gilbert at the Minister’s offices in New Kingston.

The meeting took place ahead of the Service of Thanksgiving for Tarania set for the Excelsior High School Auditorium on Saturday, December 22.

“The Ministry sees it as a responsibility to be facilitating the planning of final arrangements for Tarania’s Thanksgiving Service through funds to be paid over from the benefits derived from the Jamaica Athlete’s Insurance Plan, the Government Of Jamaica’s Group Health, Group Life and Personal Accident Plan.

“We are committed to providing the necessary assistance to ensure that Tarania’s sending home is befitting of one who served her country well. She was not only a brilliant footballer and leader but a wonderful individual,” the Sports Minister said.

Tarania died after a stabbing incident in the capital city of Kingston on October 31.

Police said the 20-year-old midfielder was pronounced dead in hospital.

Officers stated that Tarania died after a dispute over a mobile phone at about 8.50 pm on the night of October 31. A woman has since been charged.

Tarania, who played for Waterhouse FC, scored on her international debut in September's 12-1 win over Cuba in the Olympic qualifiers.

Tarania also captained the Excelsior High School football team.

She will be interred at the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says his organization will be announcing a new head coach for the Reggae Girlz in a matter of days.

According to Ricketts, the JFF’s technical committee, which has the prevue of selecting a coach, will make its decision after discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday.

According to Ricketts, the decision will be made to replace former head coach Hue Menzies, who announced his intention to leave the programme via the media more than a week ago, despite not receiving a formal resignation.

“We haven’t gotten anything official,” said Ricketts.

“But he has gone public [with his resignation], so we just have to take it that he will not be a part of the programme,” he said.

Menzies announced his intention to leave the programme after four years, citing a lack of communication from the JFF regarding a new contract that had expired in August, as well as unpaid salaries and reimbursements.

Menzies had refused to coach the team until all unpaid monies were sent his way.

The former coach’s stance meant he missed the first round of Olympic Qualifiers with the Reggae Girlz.

Those qualifiers still went well under the guidance of assistant coach Lorne Donaldson, with the final round of qualifiers set to take place from January 28 to February 9, 2020.

Donaldson’s performance is reported to have made him frontrunner for the job, however, the assistant has hinted at reservations about taking the new post.

Reggae Girlz assistant coach Lorne Donaldson believes the women’s programme in Jamaica has taken a hit with the departure of World Cup qualifying coach, Hue Menzies.

Menzies, on Tuesday, announced his intention to leave the programme after disputes with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) seemed not to have a resolution in sight.

According to Menzies, the JFF has not paid money due to him in his contract, failed to communicate with him regarding a new contract after his expired in August, and have not reimbursed him for expenses incurred on the job.

Donaldson, himself, has said he would be unwilling to take up the top post, coaching the Girlz, unless there were guarantees that some of the issues Menzies spoke about were addressed.

“Menzies not being around puts a hole in the programme; the staff is really bummed because we did a lot of work within the last five years, some of it is work done behind the scenes that people don't know about, and we scraped and fought with these kids. So Hue not being around is a big setback for this programme,” said Donaldson.

The executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer also believes there is a lot of uncertain surrounding the programme with just a couple of months to go before the Reggae Girlz take on the final round of Olympic Qualification.

“The crucial stage of the Olympic qualifiers is coming up, but we already messed that up because we had a game against the USA and we didn't take the game. We would have played the number one team in the world and we didn't take the game, so all this stuff is a setback for us,” said Donaldson.

“Now we missed the FIFA window; no games and I don't know when we are going to have any friendly games or camps because everything seems to be very difficult. I know Costa Rica wants to play us in January, and that's kind of late, but Costa Rica is still waiting for them to respond, so I don't know,” he said.

Still, Donaldson believes there is much promise in the Reggae Girlz programme and wants to ensure that that promise is fulfilled.

“We are going to concentrate on the players because we actually owe it to them. [Hubert] Busby and I, we made a commitment to some of the parents and players for the U-20s and U-17s,” said Donaldson.

“Again, it is going to be difficult trying to do the U-17s and the U-20s because nobody seems like they are interested on that side. There is interest elsewhere, but we have to find the right people who want to see women's football succeed in Jamaica. Right now it is not happening,” he said.

Assistant coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, Lorne Donaldson, does not want to step into the vacancy left by the departing Hue Menzies if women’s football in the country is treated the same way it has been.

Despite numerous successes in recent times, Reggae Girlz head coach, Hue Menzies has decided he can no longer continue in his capacity after a protracted dispute did not seem to be coming to an amicable solution.

Houston, Texas, Edinburg, Texas, and Los Angeles, California will host the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The competition, to be disputed between eight teams, including 2019 FIFA World Cup Champions United States, and World Cup participants Canada and Jamaica, is scheduled to take place January 28 - February 9, 2020.

Additionally, Concacaf conducted the official draw to sort the eight participating teams into two groups of four, for the first round of the competition. The draw, which featured welcoming remarks from Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio, was executed by Concacaf Head of Women’s Football Karina LeBlanc, with the assistance of two-time Olympic Gold medalist Lindsay Tarpley and Olympic Bronze medal winner Kaylyn Kyle. 

The groups for the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament are as follows:

Group A
A1: USA
A2: Costa Rica
A3: Panama 
A4: Haiti

Group B
B1: Canada
B2: Mexico
B3: Jamaica
B4: St Kitts and Nevis

The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will kick off with an initial group stage between January 28 and February 4. Group A matches will take place at the BBVA Stadium, in Houston, TX on January 28, 31, and February 3. Group B matches are set for January 29, and February 1 and 4, at the HEB Park, in Edinburg, TX. 

After group stage round-robin play the top two finishers from each group will move on to the semifinals. The two semifinal matches, which will determine the two qualified teams to the Olympics, will be played on Friday, February 7, at the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Los Angeles, CA. The final match, between the semifinal winners, will also be played in Los Angeles, on Sunday, February 9. 

More information on tickets will be available in ussoccer.com in due course.

In the previous edition of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, hosted in Houston and Frisco, in 2016, the United States topped Canada 2-0 in the final, earning its 4th straight title.

The 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament will kick off what is set to be a year of Women’s Football at Concacaf.  In total, more than 1,400 girls and women from the entire region will have access to top level football tournaments, including the Girls’ Under-15 Championship and the Women’s Under-17 and Under-20 Championships.

2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Dates: January 28 - February 9, 2020

Venues: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX (Group A matches), HEB Park, Edinburg, TX (Group B matches) and Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA (Semifinals and final)

Participating Teams (listed in alphabetical order): Canada, Costa Rica, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis and United States.

Competition Format: The eight participating teams have been sorted into two groups of four teams. After round-robin play, the first and second place finishers of each group will advance to the semifinals. The semifinal winners will automatically qualify for the tournament’s final, as well as the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020.

Schedule
*Kick off times to be confirmed and order of the matches subject to change

Tuesday, January 28, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Costa Rica vs Panama 
USA vs Haiti

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Mexico vs Jamaica
Canada vs Saint Kitts and Nevis

Friday, January 31, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Haiti vs Costa Rica
Panama vs USA

Saturday, February 1, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Saint Kitts and Nevis vs Mexico
Jamaica vs Canada

Monday, February 3, 2020 – BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX
Panama vs Haiti
USA vs Costa Rica

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 – HEB Park, Edinburg, TX
Jamaica vs Saint Kitts and Nevis
Canada vs Mexico

Friday, February 7, 2020 – Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, CA
SF1: 1B vs 2A
SF2: 1A vs 2B

Sunday, February 9, 2020 – Dignity Health Sports Park, Los Angeles, CA
F: Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2

Tarania Clarke, who recently represented Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz during the Olympic Caribbean qualifiers, was stabbed to death in Kingston on Thursday.

Four new players have been named in a 20-player Reggae Girl squad for the upcoming matches in Group B of the Women's Olympic Qualifiers that Jamaica will host from September 30 to October 8.

Some of Jamaica’s disgruntled Reggae Girlz have begun to receive a portion of their payments from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), money that came due on August 30.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts insists the association was taken aback by the threatened protest action of members of the women’s national team, who are still owed money from the Women's World Cup campaign.

Several senior members of the country’s history-making World Cup squad, including Bunny Shaw, Havana Solaun, Toriana Patterson, Allyson Swaby and Lauren Silver, took to social media to air their grouses.

Under a banner declaring No Pay, No Play, the girls posted:

“This is an issue that goes simply beyond “getting paid.” It’s about the girls following in our footsteps. It’s about leaving something better off than when you found it. We signed contracts and have yet to be paid.”

  

According to Ricketts, however, the JFF had been in contact with members of the team regarding FIFA’s late disbursement of funds owed to the JFF, which prevented the payments being made on time“We have been in contact with the girls.  We wrote to them last week expressing our dissatisfaction with how things have unfolded.  Up until now, we have not yet received funds from FIFA,” Ricketts said in an interview with SportsMax Zone.
“We advised the girls that FIFA had indicated to us that the money would be made available at the end of September.  The World Cup ended in July, we certainly thought that we would have got that money, maybe a month thereafter,” he added.

“We wrote to FIFA on the 16th of July making inquiries about the payment and we were advised then that the money would not be paid until the end of September.  We wrote to the girls and we apologized profusely for it and asked that they bear with us and try and understand the situation.”

Ricketts revealed that the original plan was to pay the team at the end of August and that the organisation had made arrangements to pay the women’s team half of what was owed to them.  According to the JFF boss, the process for that payment, which began last week is expected to be completed later this week.

“We really don’t want to be in a fight with the girls.  We would love to amicably and quickly settle this issue so we can go on with the business of football. I honestly thought that they would have understood the situation.”

French attacking player Viviane Asseyi is confident Jamaica international Khadijah ‘Bunny’ Shaw is set to have a major impact for Division 1 Féminine club Bordeaux after netting twice on her official debut.

The 22-year-old Shaw, who signed a two-year deal with the French club just ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, scored twice in a 4-1 win for Bordeaux over Fleury on her official league debut on Saturday.

“For me, she’s a great player.  Because of her size, she already provides a good point of support for us.  She has special physical and technical quality,” Asseyi said.

“Physically, she’s a monster. We see it in training, she moves everyone.  She’s a very good player and good for us,  I know she’ll do well with us.”

In Saturday’s route, Shaw scored in the 75th and 90th minute.  For Jamaica, the player has scored an impressive 31 goal in 24 appearances.  Bordeaux, who finished fourth in the league last season, will be hoping Shaw’s presence will lead the team to a top-two finish, which will see them qualify for the Women's UEFA Champions League next season.

 

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