Bright prospects for girls football in St James - Youth competition organiser sees talent heading to Reggae Girlz
Hopeton Gilchrist, coordinator for the recently concluded VMBS St James Under-12 Football Competition, expressed that despite the average quality of the competition, he was most impressed with the quality displayed by the few girls who participated.
"This is the best we have seen over a number of years. There are about five or six girls that you can look at and say they will matriculate into their respective high school teams and the national Under-15 and Under-17 national teams," said Gilchrist who is also the coach of the national Under-17 Reggae Boyz.
Gilchrist was asked if he thinks the Reggae Girlz qualification to the senior Women's World Cup had anything to do with this sudden step up in quality among the girls.
"Maybe, but these girls have talent. You would have seen a couple of them last year and some have improved. Who could tell? Maybe it's something that they looked at and went out to go the extra mile to motivate themselves to do better. One thing is for certain, we can see the quality coming out where the girls are concerned," Gilchrist said.
Britney Gregory, who captained Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, and was selected as a member of Jamaica's Under-15 development squad to China this summer, was the most impressive girl in the competition.
Team manager and vice principal of Corinaldi, Deon Tinglin, is proud of what Gregory has achieved so far.
"She is talented and is quick on making decisions when it come on to football. She does other sports and would hide from the other training but not football. People are asking for her, three schools in western Jamaica have offered her scholarships. She passed for Irwin High School who doesn't have a girls programme and we want her to go to a school where she can continue playing football," Tinglin said.
He added: "They (her family) are so happy and appreciative of the opportunity. I brought her and the family to the airport and even going for her, the whole community (Glendevon) is proud."