Jamaica's Reggae Girlz lost 2-1 to Paraguay at the Kingston’s National Stadium on Sunday in what was the second of two international friendlies. The Reggae Girlz won the first encounter against their South American opponents in Montego Bay on Thursday, November 10.

First-half goals from Celsa Sandaoval and Ramona Martinez in the 16th and 35th minutes, respectively gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at half-time before Khadijah ‘Bunny’ Shaw pulled one back from the penalty spot in the 61st minute.

Glaring errors by the Jamaica’s gifted the Paraguayans their two goals against a wasteful Jamaican team that missed several opportunities to score.

Deneisha Blackwood’s errant back pass was seized upon by Sandaoval, who beat an advancing Rebecca Spencer in the Jamaican goal before shooting into the bottom right hand corner.

The second 19 minutes later resulted in a poor pass from Havana Solaun, which gave the Paraguayan forwards to spread the ball wide before a cross found Martinez free inside the box to smash home from close range.

Head Coach Lorne Donaldson said he was not surprised by the slow start. He said he saw it coming given that the girls were not sharp during their warm-ups and it showed in the opening 20 minutes of the game.

He explained, however, that the match was not all about trying to win as there were several players that the coaching staff wanted to take a look at before finalizing the squad for the World Cup still nine months away.

“Our camp is a little bit different from Paraguay. We are still looking at stuff. We are still looking at players, so obviously we want to win but it is not going to be at all cost for this camp because we have to give some players a look, so stuff is going to be a little bit off and that was evident in the first 20 minutes,” he said.

Among the things that we “off” was the Reggae Girlz shooting. Chances fell to Drew Spence and Shaw in the first half but were either blocked missed entirely.

Spence’s 13th minute shot was parried by goalkeeper Christine Ricalde while Shaw dragged one past the far post just two minutes later.

Siobhan Wilson’s cross fell to Paige Bailey-Paige, whose shot from inside the box was charged down by a defender. Allyson Swaby also had a shot from two yards blocked by Ricalde.

Three changes made at the resumption of play resulted in Jamaica being more organized and stable defensively. Vyan Sampson replaced an ineffective Solaun and Atlanta Primus came on to replace Kayla McCoy in midfield while fullback Tiernney Wiltshire replaced Malikae Dayes.

Bailey-Gayle and Wilson were substituted for wingers Cheyna Matthews and Rachel Jones in the 59th minute, the latter making an immediate impact.

Jones’ driving run down the left flank and resulting cross led to the handled ball from which a penalty was awarded allowing Jamaica back into the game.

The changes, Donaldson said, were a direct result of the team’s inability to control the game and limit the number of turnovers, which invariably but the defence under pressure.

“If you see, when we came out in the second half there were two changes in the midfield because we couldn’t control the game, we couldn’t anything. We were passing the ball to the next team, so that’s a part of saying this would never work or this is not going to work,” he said while lamenting the poor finishing that ultimately cost the team.

“Should we have knocked some goals in, maybe we should have but such is football. To us, it’s preparation and the end product is what we are looking at.”

Donaldson said this was the last window when the coaching staff would be looking at new players. He indicated that by the next camp they should have the 30 players from which the final squad will be selected for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson is eager to see what the team’s new recruits and returning members will offer to the unit ahead of a pair of friendlies against Paraguay next month.

On Wednesday, the Jamaica Football Federation named a 26-player squad, which featured many of the usual suspects.  Also, among, however, was former national team captain Konya Plummer, Shania Hayles who are returning to the squad and young player Zoe Matthews.

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup on the horizon for next year Donaldson remains in the process of shifting through his options to find the best team.  The return of Plummer, a solid defender who returns to the team from maternity leave and Matthews a solid new prospect should give the coach plenty to think about.

“We have a couple players coming back in like Konya and Shaina who just came back off maternity.  Shaina is far ahead of Konya, we know most likely they’ll be a part of what we are trying to do in the future, so we just brought them in to get familiar with things,” Donaldson said.

“We also have Zoe Matthews a young player, an upcoming player, a Bunny Shaw type of player. I hate to mention that but she’s built like bunny and she has that kind of ability.  So, if we can get her in the fold that would be great,” he added.

Another promising young player that has been included is Shaneil Buckley who has dominated the country’s high school football league.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz are set to play Paraguay in two international friendlies next month as they continue preparations for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson insists the team was prepared for a battle of attrition with Costa Rica after several recent close encounters between the teams.

A second-half extra-time goal from Kalyssa van Zanten secured a 1-0 win for Jamaica in a hard-fought encounter against their Central Americans in the third-place playoff.  The win capped off a successful tournament for the Jamaicans who secured third place and with it a chance to qualify for the 2024 Olympics.

Having successfully secured a spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Jamaicans will now have the chance to make more history when they face defending champions Canada in a home-and-away play-off next year.  Getting past Costa Rica proved to be a challenge. 

“We knew it was going to be a very tight game.  Every time we play Costa Rica it comes down to the second half or overtime so we figured if we could get some speed on the field late on, we could get something, and Kiki came on and had a good finish,” Donaldson said.

The last 6 matches between the teams have been decided by a 1-0 score line with Costa Rica winning 3 of the matches with one draw.  The coach was also full of praise for the young goal scorer.

“She’s been in a few games she’s a rookie, she’s a young player so she got over excited but this game she was calmer.  When we looked in her eyes when I spoke to her, I told her you to have a goal in your boot and gave her some confidence but she has been growing confident.”

Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson remains guarded regarding future plans for the national team as his agreement with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will only be in place until the end of the Concacaf Women’s Championship.

Donaldson was given the position in June following a messy split between the team and its former head coach Vin Blaine who stepped down from the post after just a few months in charge.  He has, however, previously been a part of the national program as a former assistant coach, the last time the Reggae Girlz qualified, under then-coach Hubert Busby.

The coach has, however, confirmed that he will be heading back to the negotiation table following the conclusion of the tournament.

“I can’t talk about future plans, whatever I have contractually just leads up to this tournament,” Donaldson told members of the media on Wednesday.

“Hopefully we can keep the same coaching staff and move on.  Currently, we have some good people in place taking care of our players…going forward we have to sit down with the JFF and Cedella Marley, who has been tremendous in our making, and go forward with what we doing,” he added.

The Jamaicans will play Canada on Thursday in the semifinals of the Concacaf Women’s Championship.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson is hopeful that the team will be able to build on the momentum gained from qualifying for a second straight Women’s World Cup.

In an exciting group A finale, of the Concacaf Women’s Championship, the Jamaicans ran out to a 4-0 win over Caribbean neighbours Haiti on Monday, securing second spot in the group and with it a place at next year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Three years ago, the Reggae Girls because the first Caribbean team to qualify for the event after a penalty shootout win over Panama.  The coach, however, does not believe enough was done to capitalise on Jamaica’s appearance at the 2019 edition of the tournament in France.

“Hopefully, we can use this qualification as a federation and turn our football around in a positive way. The last time we qualified, we just qualified, but this time I think a lot good is going to come out of this,” Donaldson said, following the final whistle.

“The biggest thing I see is an influx of young players getting involved from Jamaica and all over the world, all Jamaicans.  I think we can ride this wave because we are a little more organised on the outside with Cedella Marley and the foundation and hopefully our federation can join in,” he added.

The coach also hopes a second tournament appearance will lead to more wholesale adoption of women’s football by the country’s fanbase.

“Most of all I hope Jamaica can join in this time and embrace women’s football like they should.  I think some people are still skeptics but we welcome them with open arms.”

 

Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson says his team simply wasn’t good enough in their 0-5 hammering by defending World Champions the USA in the Concacaf Women’s Championship on Thursday.

The Americans sprinted out to a 2-0 lead through goals from Sophia Smith in the fifth and eighth minutes before adding three more goals in the second half through Rose Lavelle (59th), Kristie Mewis (83rd) and Trinity Rodman (86th) to complete the 5-0 demolition at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.

“I didn’t think it’d take 10 minutes. We gave up two goals in six minutes and you’re not going to play the World Champs and expect anything out of the game playing the way we did. We weren’t good,” Donaldson said in a post-match press conference.

“The Americans are the best team in the world. When you play the champions at the top of their game, bad things will happen if you don’t play well and we didn’t,” Donaldson added.

The Reggae Girlz are now third in Group A with three points after two games with their third and final preliminary encounter coming against Haiti on Monday.

The Haitians also have three points and will go into that game with supreme confidence after a convincing 3-0 win over Mexico on Thursday.

The winner of Monday’s match will join the USA as automatic qualifiers to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand while the loser will most likely have to book their spot through an inter-continental playoff.

“I think we’re going to be fine and ready,” Donaldson said.

Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson has commended the team’s work ethic and fighting spirit in an important 1-0 over hosts Mexico to kickstart the Concacaf Women’s Championships on Monday.

The team’s talismanic strike Khadija Shaw got the decisive goal in the 8th minute and secured all three points, which could yet prove telling in the competition’s group of death.

With the top-seeded United States and Haiti still to come, in the competitive group A, maximum points was a welcome start for the Jamaica team who have not had the smoothest build-up to the tournament.

“We came into this game without even playing a practice game, but we went to Colorado and we trained a bit,” Donaldson said.

“I’m very proud of the girls, proud of the way we fought all night and I think the training we did in preparation helped.  I’m very proud of the girls, I give them all the credit, I just stand on the sideline and point my fingers and they do all the work.”

The Jamaicans will next be in action on Thursday when they tackle the world’s top-ranked women’s team The United States.

Reggae Girlz head coach Lorne Donaldson says his team is ready to go ahead of their Concacaf Women’s Championship final round opener against Mexico on Monday.

Jamaica and Mexico are in Group A of the final round along with Haiti and the United States while Group B contains Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago.

The four semi-finalists after the group stage will advance to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“I think, if we have everybody healthy and ready to go, we will give a good account of ourselves. The girls will come out and be ready to play. The first few minutes may be a little rusty because they haven’t played a game in a while but, when the game settles down, I think we can put some good stuff together,” Donaldson said in a pre-match interview on Sunday.

The match will be played at the University Stadium in Nueva Leon, home of the Liga MX club Tigres UANL, with kick-off scheduled for 9:00pm Jamaica time (10:00pm EST).

The Jamaicans, who spent the last two weeks in training camp in Denver, Colorado, know what to expect in enemy territory according to their head coach.

“Obviously, we play Mexico who’s the home team. They’ll have a lot of fans in the stadium and we know what to expect. Hopefully the preparation we’ve had can nullify some of their strengths,” said Donaldson.

“It’s going to be a difficult game but hopefully we can grind and battle through it so the result can fall in our favor,” he added.

Both teams come into this game on the back of some good form as the Reggae Girlz have scored 24 goals and conceded just two in their last four games while Mexico have scored 25 and conceded just one.

Lorne Donaldson has been appointed head coach of Jamaica’s National Senior Women’s team ahead of the CONCACAF Women Qualifiers set to begin in Mexico on July 4. He replaces Vin Blaine who resigned from the post in mid-May after a falling out with the players.

 After more than two weeks of searching for a replacement, the Jamaica Football Federation has decided that Lorne Donaldson, a member of the coaching staff that took the Reggae Girlz to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019, is the best person to lead the team into the qualifiers.

“We looked at all the dynamics involved, including the short period to prepare, and agreed that Lorne brings specific advantages to the position including familiarity with the regional football culture and knowledge of the players and is well placed to navigate the team through what will be a difficult qualifying exercise,” said Michael Ricketts, President of the JFF.

“The JFF will give all the necessary support to him and the team, and we are confident that they will make Jamaica proud in Mexico.”

Donaldson’s backroom staff will be named soon.

Donaldson resigned from the Reggae Girlz coaching staff in January 2020, citing a lack of integrity and professionalism at the JFF, and came mere weeks after head coach Hue Menzies resigned in December 2019.

The Concacaf W Championship will take place in Monterrey, Mexico, from July 4 to 18.

Jamaica is drawn into a tough Group A with hosts Mexico, FIFA’s number one ranked the United States and neighbours Haiti. Jamaica will meet hosts Mexico on July 4, the USA on July 7 and Haiti on July 11 in the preliminary round.

The teams in Group B are Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago.

The top two teams from the two groups will qualify directly for the World Cup, while the third-placed teams will qualify for the intercontinental playoffs.

In addition, the group winners will qualify for the 2024 Olympics and the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup while the second and third-placed teams will advance to the Concacaf Olympic playoff.

The United States are the two-time defending champions, having won the 2014 and 2018 tournaments.

 

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