2019 Women's World Cup: Getting to know Team Jamaica



With the 2019 Women’s World Cup less than a month out, we here at For The Win wanted to preview every team that will feature in this tournament. We’ve already looked at the U.S. Women’s National team and a host of other squads.

Let’s now take a look at Team Jamaica.

Jamaica Group C Schedule

Sunday, June 9, 9:30 a.m. ET vs. Brazil (FS1)

Friday, June 14, Noon ET vs. Italy (Fox)

Tuesday, June 18,  3 p.m. ET vs. Australia (FS2)

Key Players

The Reggae Girlz are ranked No. 53 in the world, and the fact that they’re even in the World Cup is an unreal achievement for a team with a (for a while) unpaid coach in Hue Menzies and roster with several amateur and semi-professional players. The Jamaican FA completely cut the program just nine years ago, but they’re back.

They’re painfully young — all but three players on the roster are 26 or younger, with everyone on the roster under 30 years old. But: They’ve got some stars who can cause problems for any team in the world.

Khadija “Bunny” Shaw

Bunny Shaw is Jamaica’s goalscorer, talisman, star … any good label you want to throw at her, it’ll work. She’s such a talented goalscorer — 31 goals in just 22 caps (!) for the senior team — that Jamaica can afford to sit plenty of players deep and let Shaw try to break open a game for them.

Konya Plummer

Jamaica’s captain is just 21 years old, and currently plays for the UCF Knights as a defender after transferring from Southeastern University. Giving the armband to a 21 year old is a pretty huge vote of confidence from Menzies, but Plummer seems to relish the opportunity.

Cheyna Matthews

Matthews is from Lynn, Massachusetts and played for the U-23 USA national team before declaring to play for Jamaica at the senior level. She’s only made three appearances for the Reggae Girlz and has yet to score, but she’s shown the ability to find the back of the net in NWSL for the Washington Spirit (scoring 5 goals in the 2017 season before missing 2018 season due to pregnancy) and during her time at Florida State, where she scored 24 goals in 51 games for the Seminoles.

Recent World Cup History

Jamaica has never qualified for an Women’s World Cup, and the two times they didn’t qualify — 1999 and 2011 — it’s because they didn’t even enter a team into World Cup qualifying.

This is a very young team playing in a tough group — Brazil, Italy and Australia are all good to great teams — and will be looking to just make an impact. With Shaw, however, they can score against anyone, and if she can sneak a few goals, they could get a shock result.

What Experts Are Saying About Jamaica

SB Nation was pretty blunt in its assessment of the Reggae Girlz:

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Jamaica is young and inexperienced, with four players playing collegiate soccer in the US, and another four without club teams. The cupboard is not bare, but with seven players 21 or younger, it’s asking a lot to expect them to progress in the tournament.”

The article did say it was possible for Jamaica to beat Italy, but progressing out of the group would be a major upset.

AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez

How to Be a Fan

The Reggae Girlz were resurrected in part by Cedella Marley, an ambassador for the program who is also the daughter of the late Bob Marley. Cedella Marley led fundraising efforts and pushed the Jamaican Football Federation to give the team the support they needed to get to the tournament. So put on some of her dad’s tunes, rock the black and yellow, and root hard for these young underdogs.

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Via OverwatchWire


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