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Monday, December 4, 2023

Jamaicans have fun Reggae Girlz and their girls’s World Cup success

For the Jamaican girls’s soccer staff, even making it to the World Cup was a battle — they crowdfunded from buddies and followers. And the gamers confronted a frightening process: At their World Cup debut in 2019, the Reggae Girlz misplaced all three matches and went residence.

Then, in a recreation that despatched followers leaping out of their seats in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday, Jamaica’s nationwide staff took soccer superpower Brazil out of the working, reaching the knockout stage of the event for the primary time within the island nation’s historical past.

Jamaicans are celebrating a staff that was as soon as disbanded due to funding cuts however performed its method to a 0-0 draw with Brazil, after a draw with heavyweight France and a win over Panama, thus advancing to the spherical of 16 within the FIFA Ladies’s World Cup.

Their story has led to Cinderella analogies — one thing head coach Lorne Donaldson was requested about after the match with Brazil. “I don’t know; Cinderella wears a fairly gown,” he joked, including the staff was “simply going to take it one recreation at a time.”

“… And if we will put on a fairly gown, we’ll put it on,” he stated.

Their success — a feat the Jamaican prime minister described as “HISTORIC!!” — has given the island nation all of the extra cause to have fun its upcoming Independence Day on Sunday.

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“I hope they win; I’m so proud,” one lady within the capital, Kingston, stated, whereas different Jamaican observers described the staff’s efficiency as “inspirational,” “sensational” and “merely unparalleled.”

However whilst they celebrated the rise of an underdog, critics highlighted underfunding on the earth of girls’s sports activities and inadequate monetary help in Jamaica that pushed the Reggae Girlz to depend on crowdfunding to assist cowl bills for the World Cup.

Within the run-up to the staff’s journey to Australia, midfielder Havana Solaun’s mom launched a GoFundMe marketing campaign referred to as Reggae Girlz Rise Up that had raised greater than $50,000, alongside different efforts.

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The gamers have additionally stated they’re grateful for help from reggae icon Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley, who intervened almost 10 years in the past to assist elevate cash and restart the staff after funding cuts disbanded the nationwide girls’s program. Marley has stated she was impressed by her father’s love of soccer.

“I’m overjoyed,” one Jamaican instructed a Caribbean sports activities channel on Thursday. “Inform the Reggae Girlz to maintain on movin’, carry on groovin’,” he added, quoting lyrics from a Bob Marley tune.

“Jamaica as a nation has punched properly above its weight in world sports activities,” stated Akshai Mansingh, the dean of the College of Sport on the College of the West Indies campus in Jamaica. “However the much-publicized struggles of the Reggae Girlz makes this achievement dearer to the hearts of the nation,” he stated.

He stated he hoped their success would make authorities evaluation help for ladies’s soccer groups in Jamaica, “simply as it’s going to encourage younger girls to contemplate the game as significantly as others talked about as a viable means for livelihood.”

Responding to criticism about authorities funding, the nation’s sports activities minister, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, stated 10 million Jamaican {dollars} (about U.S. $65,000) was allotted this yr particularly for the staff’s World Cup marketing campaign, along with different types of help. “We are able to solely accomplish that a lot, however we all the time rise to the event, and we play our half in guaranteeing that they get funding,” she instructed Jamaican media.

Grange stated the match towards Brazil was “undoubtedly the proudest second up to now in Jamaica’s soccer historical past.” “I couldn’t assist shedding a number of tears. Tears of pleasure,” she stated on Twitter.

The staff’s subsequent recreation is Tuesday towards Colombia.

The Reggae Women have criticized the Jamaica Soccer Federation and decried an absence of help forward of the World Cup however pledged to do their greatest, anyway. “I really feel like we’ve been vastly underestimated,” goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer has stated.

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“Reggae Girlz making historical past,” one fan tweeted after the sport that catapulted the staff to the subsequent stage. “I can’t even categorical how proud I’m to be Jamaican.”

Fielding questions on whether or not the festivities would result in a nationwide vacation in Jamaica, Donaldson, the coach, instructed a information convention this week that he was positive Jamaicans would have fun “such as you’ve by no means seen.”

“Belief me, Jamaicans love a cause to have fun,” he stated.

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