In January, Coach Marty and I were lucky enough to be invited to Jamaica to watch the Jamaican Women’s Soccer team, the “Reggae Girlz”, prepare for their first ever World Cup which is taking place in France in June this year ( 2019 ). We got to meet the goalkeeper coach and the goalkeepers during the first of the team’s training camps.
The Reggae Girlz created history by being the first Carribean team to qualify for the World Cup when they beat Panama on penalties back in October.
See just the Penalty Shoot out here where Nicole McClure helps the team qualify
The January training camp was held in a different part of the country from the normal national training center as the cultural ministry was keen to showcase the team on another part of the country.
Draz Hall, the venue for team practices for the January camp
The players consisted of players playing in the USA, Europe and locally with competition being fierce for places with the prize of being in the final squad going to France up for grabs. The coaching staff, who came from Jamaica, Florida, Colorado, and Canada, has to find a balancing act of rewarding the players that got them qualified with integrating new talent that has been identified since the qualification. The set up was professional with the following staff members.
- Head coach
- Assistant coach
- Fitness, strength, and conditioning
- Goalkeeper coach
- Medical staff
- Video analysis staff
The training camp resembled a college Preseason with training twice per day and other commitments such as team meetings and media added on top.
Highlights from Day 1 here:
AM – Drax Hall for 1) Warm up 2) Bleep test 3) Possession drills / Goalkeepers handling and footwork
PM – FIFA Banned substances seminar
PPM – Outfield = Opened up play, Goalkeeper = Diving followed by small-sided games going across the field.
Footage of sessions:
The take – away I saw was:
- Coach’s demand of good service from volleys
- Intensity required to impress.
- Variety of footwork movements for different saves.
- These girls can ping a ball!!
AM – Marty & I met with a local youth Academy to discuss the differences between youth soccer in Jamaica, the US, and Europe and provided L1 Gloves.
The evening saw the first inter-squad game being played at the Montego Bay sports complex.
Here are the highlights, with two goalkeepers starting and the other two coming on later.
We took our own advice and read the following important article:
The training camp involved much more than onfield bonding ( 8 new players discovered they had Jamaican roots once the team had Qualified for France ). Here is a list of their other commitments whilst at the 6-day training camp.
- Educated on banned substances and everyday items that contain them.
- Baseline fitness testing.
- Press day in Kingston
- Visit a hospital in Montego Bay
- Question and answer at a school.
The training camp and pending World Cup appearance is proof that for the country, soccer is a vehicle to inspire, educate, mobilize and support the next generation of young female football players in Jamaica.
Here is another video from the Friday session & media day in Kingston where the Reggae Girlz trained on the national stadium field.