CANADIAN-BORN Emily Caza, who has been training with Jamaica's Under-15 football team, is eager to don the black, gold and green colours of the island which celebrated its 52nd Independence anniversary on Wednesday.
Jamaica were scheduled to play Belize last evening at the CONCACAF Under-15 Championship and Caza was expected to be at the heart of the Jamaica defence.
"I am very excited. I have been working hard for the past month and it's finally here," she told the Jamaica Observer hours before making her international debut.
Young Caza, who attends St Elizabeth Catholic High School, is the only starting freshman on the school's senior team. She also represented Canada last year in France.
"My mother is from Jamaica, and before moving to Canada neither of them (parents) played soccer, so it's not a family thing. But they are very supportive, they do everything they can for me and I wouldn't be here without them," she noted.
"Well, my sister played football and she is older than me, so as the youngest sibling I do whatever she does and that's how I got into football."
Caza was to be paired with captain Rachel Walters at the heart of Jamaica's defence and she has settled in that position in the team quite well.
"They are very welcoming, very friendly. When I came here, I was a bit nervous that I wouldn't fit in, but they have been very welcoming," she added, identifying Monique Ferrier as the teammate who made her quite comfortable from the outset.
Standing at five feet seven inches, Emily is not the typical robust defender, but more in the Franz Beckenbaeur mould that calmly starts the attack from the back.
"I am a good tackler and I have good vision. I am very good on the ball and create opportunities like a playmaker from the back," she pointed out. And that's a view echoed by assistant head coach Toni Cowan. "She is not going to tackle and kick the ball away. She puts it down and passes it around."
Caza, who plays for Glen Shields Futbol Club, and who had her parents in the stands watching her every move last evening, believes Jamaica can win this tournament or go very far. "I am very confident that we are going to do well. I think we will win the first group and make it to the final. We keep on getting better every day.
"I know some of the players, they are very good. I think Canada will probably be our hardest competition," she added. Caza has been a part of her district team from Under-12 to Under-13 and also on the Ontario Regional team since 2012.