Reggae Girlz Made History: The First Caribbean Nation to Qualify for a Senior FIFA Women’s World Cup
FIFA Women’s World Cup record
Twenty-one years after the men’s side first played at the FIFA World Cup™ in France, Jamaica's women’s team will, coincidentally, also be making their global finals debut in the European country. A spirited side, the Reggae Girlz made history by becoming the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a senior FIFA Women’s World Cup™ after finishing third at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Sixteen-year-old forward Jody Brown, who put in a string of impressive performances, was named best young player of the tournament.
The road to France
Jamaica had to navigate through the Caribbean zone of qualifying just to get to the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. The Reggae Girlz went undefeated, eventually finishing top of the five-team final round group with Khadija Shaw scoring a staggering 16 goals. Jamaica continued to impress at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, and after finishing second in Group B behind eventual runners-up Canada and losing in the semi-finals to overall winners USA, they faced Panama in the match for third place for a berth at France 2019. With the score poised at 2-2 after extra time – with prominent goal-getters Shaw and Brown finding the net – the Reggae Girlz won the penalty shoot-out 4-2 to earn their first ever Women’s World Cup berth.
Brazilian Rene Simoes led Jamaica at France 1998. The honour at France 2019 will go to Hue Menzies. The person who has helped the Reggae Girlz find their rhythm, Menzies boasts over 30 years’ coaching experience and has a particular plethora of knowledge when it comes to university football in USA. After reaching France 2019, Menzies said: “I'm telling you the amount of sacrifices we've made - the staff, the players - for the country, we're going to change the culture back home. How they perceive women, it's changed. It’s a big sacrifice. And you know what? Those 20 girls decided they were going to make the change."The stat4 - The number of goals forward Jody Brown netted at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship at the tender age of 16, making her Jamaica’s top scorer at the tournament. Brown was named best young player at the competition and will naturally be one to look out for at France 2019.