The Reggae Girlz Foundation hosted a send-off series for the Jamaican Women's National Team before their departure for the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup in France. This week-long celebration commenced as soon as they landed at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport on Monday, May 20 when they were greeted by the Present of Ft. Lauderdale Int'l Bob Swindell, Consul General Oliver Mair, Vice Mayor of Broward County Dale V.C. Holness and Vice Mayor of Miramar Alexandra Davis.
These festivities included remarks from Concacaf Head of Women's Football, Karina LeBlanc, where she was a guest speaker where she emphasized that Jamaica will be the "sweethearts" of the tournament. LeBlanc encouraged the Reggae Girlz to be their own heroes, and to not take anything for granted because they would be remembered as the “sweethearts” that inspired their entire country, region, and the world, as the first Caribbean national to ever qualify to a senior Women's World Cup.
The Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts also shared his thoughts on the relevance of the Women’s World Cup for his country.
"This will be the fifth time Jamaica will be present in a global tournament, and for me, this one will be the most meaningful of all because it's not only just for Jamaica but the entire Caribbean region. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves to be sure that Jamaica is actually in the World Cup."
Jamaica's lethal striker, Khadija "Bunny" Shaw also commented on the message that she would like to give to the world by participating in the competition.
"We work hard for this, and we are going to embrace every moment that we will have in the World Cup. We are going to go out there and give it our all, and hopefully, when we walk off that field, everyone will be proud of us on what we've achieved as one," said Shaw.
Shaw added that the World Cup is an opportunity to continue growing and demonstrating what the Reggae Girlz can accomplish.
"It's been a journey, and it's been great. It's something that we are going to build on. The World Cup is just another stage to build up, and the best is yet to come. We want to go to the World Cup and show what we can do. The important thing is that we make you all proud [Jamaica]," concluded Shaw.
Head Coach Hue Menzies expressed his excitement on participating in the World Cup as well on being the first Caribbean country to qualify to a senior Women's World Cup.
"We are looking forward to it, and we are very happy to be part of the 24 participating teams. There are going to be a lot of countries in our region watching us during the World Cup."
The Reggae Girlz will continue their World Cup preparations on Tuesday, May 28, when they face Scotland in their last friendly before they head to France. The Reggae Girlz are set to face Brazil on June 9 at 9:30 am EDT in Grenoble, Italy on June 14 at 12:00 pm EDT in Reims and Australia on June 18 at 3:00 pm EDT in Grenoble.