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Emily puts her mark on England

By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Journalist and attorney-at-law Emily Shields has more than just a cursory knowledge of football. A former player during her undergraduate days on Taylor Hall at The University of the West Indies' (UWI) Mona Campus, she campaigned for the female league to be upgraded from six-a-side scrimmage, to the full 90 minutes.

“I never played football as a child and certainly not at Manning's (High School) as there was no female football at that time. When I got to The UWI there was a little six-a-side thing for the women and I just thought that was wrong. So I got a full team together and lobbied for the full form of the game just like the men, and that's where I started learning to play the game,” she told the Jamaica Observer. “I went on to represent The UWI wearing the number 10 jersey and scoring goals on some girl.”

Shields supports the England team at this year's World Cup. As for their chances to lift the coveted trophy, that is where reality chips in.

“I have always been a strong supporter of England...and that isn't because of a certain attachment,” she added, hinting at her marriage to Englishman and former assistant commissioner of police, Mark Shields.

“I watch a lot of the Barclay's Premier League and other British league football and have gotten into the style and make-up of the England team. This is a young England team with a lot of potential,” she said. “I see where Southgate (coach Gareth Southgate) is changing the formation of the team so I can't wait to see how this will work. I also want to see some of the young players like Sterling step up and succeed like the good player that he is.”

She added that, “I believe the strongest prospects for the title are Germany and Brazil. No true football fan can question whether Brazil will be there in the finals. Neymar will score a lot of goals and Jesus will do well but [they] will have to get by the quality of the German side. It is that depth and experience of the Germans that will edge out Brazil.”

Twenty years ago Shields was one of the Reggae Girls, a cheerleading squad that supported Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in their qualification for the 1998 World Cup in France.

“I never missed a single of the qualifying games played at the National Stadium. I was right there when we qualified for the World Cup and can still remember the electric atmosphere. I would love for us to qualify again but a lot has to be done to lift our game,” she said.