Defender Konya Plummer (right) is on Jamaica's roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship, which will be played in the Cayman Islands, January 9-19. (Photo: Mexsport)
MIAMI — The Jamaica under-20 women’s national team opened a weeklong training camp in Miami, Florida, on New Year’s Day in preparation for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands, January 9-19.
The gathering involves daily training sessions and two practice matches against women's college teams on January 4 and 6.
Vin Blaine, technical co-ordinator of the Jamaican women's football program, expects the Florida trip to provide "quality" preparation ahead of the team's departure for the Cayman Islands on January 7 — two days ahead of the CFU Under-20 champion's opening Group A match against Guatemala.
"This camp will be important for the Girlz as it will give them the opportunity to play against competitive women's teams,” he said. “This will allow us to better assess where we are than if we were playing against local boys' teams in Jamaica, which is how we prepare for a lot of tournaments.”
At the CONCACAF competition, the Reggae Girlz will also face the defending champion United States on January 11 and will close out its preliminary phase against Costa Rica two days later.
The camp is being organized by the Lavern Deer-led Jamaica International Female Football Development (JIFFD), a voluntary organization dedicated to assisting women's football in Jamaica.
"Having a pre-tournament camp and playing in friendly matches outside Jamaica prior to the CONCACAF tournament will be a precedent setting event for our U-20 women’s team,” noted Blaine. "The team will have the opportunity during camp to face competitive female teams from the south Florida area similar to the teams they will face at the CONCACAF tournament in the Cayman Islands.”
The Jamaican selection boasts an accomplished blend of players that includes CFU Women’s Under-20 Qualifying Tournament MVP Khadija Shaw, Florida-based CFU tournament Golden Boot winner Kayla Gray, Canada-based markswoman Oshay Nelson-Lawes, South Florida-based Nicole Harris, Mackenzie Marsh and USA-based team captain Marlo Sweatman, among others.
Making a return to the team is veteran midfielder Trudi Carter, who currently studies and plays in the U.S. for Navarro College. She was instrumental in helping her team advance to the NJCAA District One Championship to close out the 2013 season.
The top-three teams in the Cayman Islands will qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to be hosted by Canada later this year.
JAMAICA UNDER-20 WOMEN’S ROSTER
(2014 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship – January 9-19, 2014 at Cayman Islands)
GOALKEEPERS: Chris-Ann Chambers (University of the West Indies), Taylor Grant (Vaughan Azzurri/Canada)
DEFENDERS: Courtney Douglas (Erin Mills SC/Canada), Cachet Lue (North Mississauga/Canada), Mackenzie Marsh (Boca United/USA), Toriana Patterson (Quickstrike/USA), Myjnairii Perkins (Brams United/Canada), Konya Plummer (Harbour View), Imani Richards (Waterhouse)
MIDFIELDERS: Trudi Carter (Harbour View), Nicole Harris (Pinecrest Premier/USA), Jorja Hughes (Oakville SC/Canada), Alika Keene (no club), Khadija Shaw (Harbour View), Keona Simmonds (Brams United/Canada), Marlo Sweatman (no club), Simone Wark (Glen Shields FC/USA)
FORWARDS: Alexa Allen (no club), Kayla Gray (Clearwater Chargers/USA), Oshay Nelson Lawes (Waterloo FC/Canada)