Former Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine has expressed concern that the women’s national program is heavily beholden to an outside benefactor.

Earlier this week, Blaine stepped down from the post after just six months in charge of the national team.  During his tenure at the helm, the coach found himself at loggerheads with members of the national team, 19 of whom had sent and signed a letter to the JFF questioning the coach’s training methods.

Blaine, however, continues to believe the players were influenced by external forces who will continue to hold plenty of sway with both a large swath of the team’s senior players and the federation itself.

“A lot of people might not want me to say it but definitely that’s what it is,” Blaine told the SportMax Zone,  when asked whether he thought the national program was being held, hostage.

“That’s from my perspective and that’s one of the reasons I decided to part ways and let them have the program.  Hopefully, I wish them all the best.  I hold no ill will towards anyone,” he added.

“It’s my country but it’s just that at this moment I have decided that this is what is best for me and the program.”

The JFF will now begin the search for a new head coach, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in July.

 

 

Departing Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach, Vin Blaine, has insisted the toxic environment surrounding his tenure with the national team had left the situation untenable.

Blaine brought an end to a weeks-long saga yesterday when he announced that he would officially resign as coach of the team, following a dispute with some senior members of the Reggae Girlz.

The players in question wrote a letter of no confidence, to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), signed by 19 members, which suggested the coach lacked detailed training sessions, did not provide video analysis, had issues with set pieces, and provided no post-match reviews for player improvement.

 A review of the situation by the JFF technical committee, however, cleared the coach of any wrongdoing and recommended Blaine stay in the post.  From his perspective, however, making that decision would not have been in anyone’s best interest. 

“Based on the situation, if everyone knew the entire process I went through; It was a toxic environment,” Blaine told the SportsMax Zone.

 “Sad to say from day one or two, in the program, you had staff undermining the program, the previous staff.  You had players telling you who should be the equipment person, who should be the fitness coach, those are things that went on,” he added.

“I came out with a smile on my face because it’s not for me to disclose those things in a training camp.  So, I don’t think I could move forward although the federation said they were clearing me for that.  For the program to go forward and for my own peace of mind, I did not need that kind of toxicity.”

Vin Blaine has confirmed his resignation from his position as head coach of the Jamaica Senior Women’s Football Team.

The former Harbour View head coach took the decision to walk away after 19 Reggae Girlz squad members signed a letter to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts asking that he be replaced.

“The Jamaica Football Federation would like to express sincere thanks and appreciation for the work that coach Vin Blaine has done with the Senior Women’s National Team. Unfortunately, he has decided against taking the team to the next level. We hoped that the relationship shared with the Federation would not end this abruptly, but we appreciate his take on the situation at hand. The JFF wishes him all the very best for the future,” the JFF said in a statement on Tuesday.

Blaine coached the Reggae Girlz at all levels for more than a decade before becoming director of football for the JFF from 2014 to 2017.

He took up Grenada's post of Technical Director in 2017 then had a brief stint as US Virgin Islands coach before his reappointment as Reggae Girlz head coach in December.

He was unbeaten in his four matches as coach and led the Reggae Girlz to four straight victories in Group C of the Concacaf Women's Championship qualifying.

The Reggae Girlz next assignment will be the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship beginning on June 4th in Mexico.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Board has accepted the recommendation of the JFF Technical and Development Committee to retain the Technical Staff of the Senior Women’s National Team including Head Coach Vin Blaine.

In its report, subsequent to an initial investigation into concerns expressed by team members, the committee cited there was insufficient evidence to warrant any such change in personnel at this time. 

According to the report, it’s in the best interest of the JFF to continue on its present course, with the current coaching staff, where the progress will be closely monitored and evaluated periodically.

Further, based on the results so far and with less than two months before the Concacaf Women’s qualifying tournament gets underway in Mexico, it is felt that introducing changes at this time would not be prudent. 

Towards this end, the JFF has the full confidence in the Coaching Staff and the team members but recognizes the need to share in and support the process with some critical Core Values of the organisation, including professionalism, teamwork and respect.

The JFF pledges, as the body responsible for football in Jamaica, to put everything in place, within its powers, to ensure the team is comfortable and can perform at their optimum to achieve Jamaica’s second consecutive qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Reggae Girlz will compete in Group A of the final round of the Concacaf Women’s Championship alongside the USA, Mexico and Haiti beginning in June 4.

 

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz confirmed their place in the final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship with a 5-1 win over the Dominican Republic at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday.

Jamaica, who moved one step closer to qualifying for their second straight World Cup, took the lead in the 15th minute through a right footed close-range effort from Jody Brown before the Dominican Republic equalized in the 24th minute through a brilliant strike from Kathrynn Gonzalez.

Jamaica re-took the lead in the 40th minute through Trudi Carter and got a third in the 60th minute when Tiffany Cameron slotted home from a Khadija Shaw pass.

Shaw then got in on the scoring in the 79th minute to make it 4-1 before doubling her tally through a header in the 93rd minute to make it 5-1.

With the win, Jamaica finished top of Group C with a perfect 12 points from their four games.

The final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship takes place in Mexico from July 4-18.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will be looking to secure qualification for the final round of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship when they tackle the Dominican Republic in their final group game at Sabina Park in Kingston on Tuesday.

Following their 9-0 victory over the Cayman Islands on Saturday, April 9, the Reggae Girlz currently sit atop Group C with nine points from their three games with a goal difference of 18 while their opponents also have a perfect three wins from their three games but find themselves second in the group with a goal difference of 14. With only the winner of the group set to advance, Jamaica will only have to avoid defeat.

However, Head Coach Vin Blaine is not planning on anything but victory.

“The girls are focused and ready. There are no injury concerns,” said Blaine said in a pre-match press conference on Monday while outlining what his team has to do to emerge victoriously.

“Dom Rep have never faced any player like our top five attackers since they’ve been playing so that’s an advantage for us," he said.

"Defensively, we stay compact and stay disciplined. In the Cayman game, we got complacent because we were winning by so many goals. That can’t happen against Dom Rep. We have to ensure that we stay disciplined for the whole 90 minutes.

"We go into every game trying to win. The mentality of the girls is to win the game. I know our team is a superior team to Dom Rep. They play well but individual player to player, we are a better team so for me to sit back trying to get a draw would almost be like inviting them to score. I think they have to worry about our attack.”

Should the Reggae Girlz avoid defeat on Tuesday, they will advance to the final phase of the CONCACAF Women’s Tournament which will take place from June 4-18 in Mexico.

That phase of the championship will involve eight teams, The USA, Canada and the six group winners from the qualifying tournament and determine the region’s representatives in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Reggae Girlz and Manchester City forward Khadijah Shaw has expressed confidence ahead of the team’s match-up against Bermuda in the opening match of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Thursday.

The competition will be the official start of the team’s campaign to qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Despite facing lower-ranked opposition, the team will not be kicking off its journey in ideal circumstances.

Several players who were part of the history-making World Cup squad are unavailable for the fixture due to injury or other reasons.  In addition, the team will feature a number of new players and has had limited time to work out its kinks.  The situation has given interim coach Vin Blaine plenty of pause for thought, but Shaw remains confident the squad will be capable of racking up positive results in this round.

“Football is a team sport, I trust my teammates.  There’s a reason why they are here, and the coach selected them, and I trust the coaching staff as well,” said Shaw, in assessing the situation.

“We have to just come in and understand each other as fast as possible.  It’s not ideal right now but I trust my teammates and I really do think we can get the job done despite other players not being here.”

The team will also travel away to face Grenada in the second match of the window.

 

Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine expects a strong start to the World Cup qualifiers, despite missing a few of the squad’s key players, when the campaign kicks off on Thursday, at the National Stadium, with a match in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

The Reggae Girlz, who made a historic debut at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, have called up an experienced squad to face Bermuda and Grenada in the upcoming international window.  Despite retaining a number of players that formed part of the historic team, a few others will not be available for the campaign.

Notably absent will be Havana Solange, the scorer of the team’s only World Cup goal, who is injured, Cheyna Matthews, who is taking time away from the sport, and the team’s skipper Konya Plumber.

The likes of Khadijah Shaw and many others have, however, been called up for the fixture along with a few recent additions and players who could make their debut.

“Most of these players have played before and are quite seasoned campaigners.  We’re without a few players that we invited due to documentation issues, but we are looking forward to having them in the future.  These are the girls that have been chosen and I have selected, and we still have a formidable squad,” Blaine said.

“There are many experienced players and some new players that I am taking the opportunity to look at,” he added.

The Reggae Girlz have been given all Caribbean opponents for the first round of qualifiers. Apart from Bermuda, they will also face the Dominican Republic, Grenada, and the Cayman Islands in Group C.

Reggae Girlz Head Coach Vin Blaine is to name his squad on Thursday that is to face Bermuda in the preliminary rounds of the Concacaf Women’s World Cup Qualifier on February 17 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

 Match time is 7:00 pm.

 Jamaica will have to win Group C which comprises Bermuda, Grenada, the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands to advance to the next round of qualifiers.

 Following the Bermuda match on February 17, Jamaica will travel to face Grenada on February 20. The remaining games against the Dominican Republic and the Cayman Islands will be played in April.

 The top finisher in each group will advance to the Concacaf W Championship joining the top-ranked CONCACAF nations, the USA and Canada – that have each received a bye straight to the W Championship which takes place in July 2022.

 The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has received approval to accommodate up to 2500 fully vaccinated fans in the Grand Stand of the National Stadium.

 Interested fans will have to be validated by the government’s electronic system which will open soon. Following the validation process, fans will be able to purchase tickets for J$3000.

 Those fans who were already validated by the system can simply enter and purchase a ticket.

Below are the respective groups for CONCACAF qualifiers.

Group A: Mexico, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and Anguilla
Group B: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, and Curacao
Group C: Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Grenada and Cayman Islands
Group D: Panama, El Salvador, Barbados, Belize and Aruba
Group E: Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the British Virgin Islands
Group F: Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Nicaragua, Dominica and Turks and Caicos Islands

Reggae Boyz striker Shamar Nicholson and central defender Allyson Swaby were named by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) as their 2021 Male and Female Player of the year, respectively, on Monday.

Nicholson, who recently completed a move from Belgian Pro League team Charleroi to Russian Premier League outfit Spartak Moscow, scored three goals in 11 appearances for the Reggae Boyz in 2021.

The former Boy’s Town attacker has been in sensational form this season scoring 13 goals in 18 games for Charleroi before making the move to Spartak.

Swaby, who captained the Reggae Girlz for the first time this year, was part of a Roma team that won their first major Women’s trophy in May by defeating AC Milan on penalties in the Copa Italia final after keeping a clean sheet.

On December 21, it was announced that Swaby would be joining National Women’s Soccer League expansion team Angel City FC following the completion of the Supercoppa Italiana this January.

Nicholson will miss the Reggae Boyz January 20, friendly with Peru in Lima but could next be in action for the Boyz on January 27 when they play Mexico in a World Cup Qualifying fixture, while Swaby's Reggae Girlz will next see action in the CONCACAF Women's Championship beginning on February 17.

 

New Reggae Girlz Interim Coach Vin Blaine says defence must be the focus to bridge the gap between his team and the better teams in the CONCACAF region.

Speaking at his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Blaine was critical of the team’s defensive organization under the previous coaching staff.

“It’s a concern of mine, from I’ve been watching the team. What I’ve recognized is that defensively, we don’t have bad players but our organization was poor. If I was to criticize the past coaching staff, I would say our girls weren’t playing defensively well. That’s the area I want to sure up first,” said Blaine.

When asked about the fact that the Reggae Girlz have not fared well against the top teams, Blaine said that had more to do with team rotation rather than an inability to compete.

“The team that played against Costa Rica recently; they have not played against the USA, really, because what the coaching staff was doing before, was an assessment of the players, so you found that in the US game, he had a different squad, in the Nigeria game he had a different squad and in the Costa Rica game he had a different squad,” Blaine said.

He was referring to three friendlies the team played against Nigeria, Costa Rica and the USA. In those games, Jamaica won 1-0 against Nigeria, lost 4-0 to the USA and played to a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica. Blaine said the team should not be judged on those recent performances.

“It’s hard to judge how these present girls that have come from the USA and are playing professionally would have matched up,” said Blaine.

“It’s hard to say they did badly because in the past we played a Costa Rica team and I think we got something like 11-0 way back when. They’re still competitive.”

The Reggae Girlz will begin the first round of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship on February 17, 2022, against Bermuda.

They are in Group C alongside Grenada, The Dominican Republic, The Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The tournament also serves as qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 - August 20.

The Reggae Girlz are looking to qualify for their second straight FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach, Hubert Busby, has been suspended indefinitely by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) while it conducts an inquiry into previous allegations of sexual misconduct.

The 52-year-old, who has been head of the country’s national team since 2020, has faced resurfaced allegations that he attempted to force himself on a player in 2010, during his time as coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team.

Busby has denied the allegations in a previous report, but the Whitecaps did part ways with the coach sometime after the accusations surfaced.  The team, however, made no mention of allegations of sexual misconduct being the reason he was fired.

Major League Soccer announced that it would conduct investigations into how that situation was handled.  The JFF for its part has asked its parent body FIFA to conduct a full investigation into the incident, which will determine the next steps to be taken. 

“We will await the evidence of the FIFA investigation.  We do not want to make permanent decisions until we have the facts.  At the same time, we have to ensure that our women and girls are protected by those who lead them,” JFF president Michael Ricketts said via a press release.

Busby coached the team in two practice matches against Costa Rica and was expected to lead a camp later this month.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said it is to meet with Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hubert Busby Jr. next Tuesday to discuss allegations that he tried to solicit sex from a player while he was head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps Women’s team a decade ago.

Busby Jr has denied the allegations.

The 52-year-old Busby was appointed Reggae Girlz head coach in January 2020, taking over from Hugh Menzies, who resigned his position over financial disagreements with the JFF.

“The JFF is aware of allegations surrounding National Women’s Head Coach Hubert Busby. The executive of the JFF will convene next Tuesday to discuss the matter with Mr Busby,” the JFF said in a tersely worded statement on Thursday.

The allegations against the Canadian-born former player emerged in a story published by the Guardian newspaper in England in which it is claimed that he made unwanted sexual advances to Malloree Enoch, who at the time, was seeking a job in the administration of the Whitecaps in September 2010.

According to the Guardian, Busby suggested that she could play for the club instead of working in the front office and plied her with “sports equipment as gifts, take her to restaurants in one-on-one situations, and ask her to stay with him alone in his hotel room while working in his role as Whitecaps coach.”

Enoch told the Guardian that on one of those occasions she spent three nights in his hotel room but said she made no sexual advances toward her during that time.

In another incident, Enoch said: “He insisted I stay (in his hotel room) because now it was late and when I agreed it was far too late to drive back. When we got back to the hotel he again didn’t have a room reserved for me. I had to stay in his room. This particular night there were two beds and I laid in my own bed and he made his way to my bed and at some point was standing over the top of me.

“He was on all fours fully on the bed. He was definitely aroused. He tried to kiss and touch me. The light was not on but I don’t think he had his shirt on. I had to negotiate to get him off the bed. I told him I wasn’t interested.

 “I think there was a lot of emotion. I was definitely scared. I had this dream to be a soccer player and I was trying to pursue something I had wanted to do since I was five and now I was put in a really shitty position. He was using this power because he had something that I wanted. I was very uncomfortable. I was resistant to it and he tried to pursue it and pursue it and then he got pissed off and went over to his own bed and went to sleep.”

She said she did not report the matter to the club because she was embarrassed and did not want to compromise being able to play for the club.

She was eventually signed by the Whitecaps.

However, at the end of 2011, the Guardian reported, the Whitecap players sent an email to club officials detailing a list of complaints concerning inappropriate behaviour by Busby and the coaching staff.

The club hired an ombudsman to interview the players and in October that year, the club sent an email to the players stating that “it was in the best interest of the club to make a change in the coaching staff for our women’s team programme.”

The email also told the players that it would be inappropriate for the players to comment on the matter publicly.

 

 

 

The day Jamaica created history and qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the axis of the women’s game in CONCACAF shifted in a seismic way.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz’s qualification to France 2019 signified in part an unprecedented growth and development leap for the Caribbean.

Importantly, too, the fairytale success story was of monumental historical proportion, as the island became the first from the region to be catapulted into the stratosphere of the global game and its greatest stage, the World Cup.

On October 17, 2018, at the Concacaf Women’s Championship inside Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, Jamaica achieved the unthinkable.

In the third-place match, the Girlz defeated Panama in an epic match, which ended 2-2 after regulation and extra time. And the two, with the scent of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in scope, had to be separated by the dreaded penalties. As it turned out, Jamaica triumphed 4-2, and the rest, as they say, is history.

On that magical journey, was assistant coach Andrew Price and he recalled the momentous occasion as if it happened yesterday.

“The emotions were like a roller-coaster on the bench in that final qualifying game [against Panama]. We took the lead on two occasions and lost it twice. We deliberately saved our changes late in the game to ensure that we would have been prepared for extra time.

“But the masterstroke was when we decided to replace goalkeeper Sydney Schneider with Nicole McClure. We had practised penalties the day before and Nicole was amazing in goal, so when we saw the clock winding down, it was important that we put her on the pitch before time expired,” said Price.

As part of a technical team led by Head Coach Hue Menzies, the assistant coach revelled in the tactical astuteness of the coaches, for he thought the off-the-field decisions had a positive impact on the outcome of the match.

“In practising the penalty kicks, we made the players make the long walk from half-line to the penalty box to take each kick, so for that match day the players would be prepared for the scenario, and everything worked to perfection. As you know, Nicole saved two penalties and we scored all our penalties,” Price re-collected.       

The experienced tactician said there was self-belief in the camp that the World Cup dream was reachable as the team went through the layers of qualification.

“The confidence and self-belief came after the first round of the Caribbean World Cup Qualifying held in Haiti. It was a difficult tournament in terms of the conditions and environment that the young ladies had to face.

“The real test was the final game of the round, between ourselves and the host Haiti, as we battled for the one qualifying spot. We went into the game on similar points, but we had a superior goal difference of two goals. All we needed was to draw to advance. In front of a partisan and sometimes hostile crowd of 15,000 Haitian supporters, we trailed 2-0 in the first half.

“But we showed our real strength by pulling a goal back before halftime. During the halftime talk, we told the Girlz to relax and play their normal game. They went out, and in a stirring performance, silenced the crowd with the equalizing goal. For the remainder of the match, we fought tooth and nail to ensure we advanced to the next round,” Price reminisced.

As the qualifying journey took its twists and turns, the Girlz saw themselves more than just competitors but real contenders for a spot at France 2019.

“With each passing round of the qualification, the confidence of the Girlz grew. They believed they were on a mission to accomplish something great. They grew into a closely-knit family -- all for one and one for all. They were willing to be patient and trust the process, and they did so one game at a time. They took obstacles as inspiration to work that much harder,” said Price.

He said when the final whistle went in the decisive match against Panama, there was a feeling of euphoria that swept through the team and all the support staff.

“We were just overcome with joy. The immediate reaction was to scream, ‘We did it’. We were so elated. We jumped and hugged each other. Then our next reaction was to get on the pitch and celebrate with the Girlz. The moment was surreal. It was as if time stopped for the moment,” Price said.

Jamaica’s success, said Price, was a signature moment for the entire Caribbean, a rallying cry that anything is possible if one dares to dream.

“Most definitely it was a triumph for the entire Caribbean. No different from when Haiti qualified for their first Men's World Cup in 1974. It inspired nations like Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago that it could be done. Similarly, our historic qualification will inspire other Caribbean countries. The gap is closing between the world powers in football and the others, as a global village has made the catching up achievable,” he reasoned.

“Previously in Concacaf, the automatic teams would be the USA, Canada and Mexico. But now you have Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, Trinidad and others knocking at the door. This comes as a result of FIFA and Concacaf assisting significantly in the development of the Women's game,” Price added.

In France, the Girlz lost all their Group C matches, but even in defeat against significantly stronger opponents, the learning experience was priceless.

“From the draw, we were quite aware we were in the ‘Group of Death’, with top-ranked teams such as Brazil, Australia and Italy. It was always going to be difficult against these teams. But we made up our minds that we were going to be competitive and give a good account of ourselves. The experience we gained was all a part of the learning curve. It is the experience you can only get by playing against the best,” Price noted.

Reggae Girlz team manager Jean Nelson has died after a short illness, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) announced on Sunday. Nelson, who was the first official president of the Jamaica Women’s Football Association passed away on Saturday.

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