Girlz coach says selecting final squad was difficult

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Sunday, October 05, 2014

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MERRON Gordon, the head coach of the Jamaica senior women's team, says it was a tough task selecting the 20-member squad for CONCACAF Championship, set for October 15-26 in the United States.

The Reggae Girlz have been camping in Orlando, Florida since late last month, giving the coaching staff the opportunity to make final assessments.

"It was very difficult because we had a good group of players to choose from. Everybody wants to be a part of the team trying to make history and that's a good headache to have as a coach," he said, referring to the squad selection announced by the Jamaica Football Federation on Thursday.

"We had to put everything into consideration, including people who are mentally tough and can handle the travel because it's going to be hard, playing games and flying all over the place. I have the experienced [assistant coach] Wendell Downswell with me and it helped going through the list with a fine-tooth comb."

Gordon, while praising the level of commitment shown by the Reggae Girlz throughout the training camp thus far, insisted that the final squad has the right blend of players.

"The squad is competitive and there is no spot on the field that any one player can sit and think that it is safe. The Girlz are working hard; they are friends, but they are competing for places in the starting team," he said.

The Jamaicans recorded a come-from-behind 4-2 win over an academy team in a practice game a week ago. On Wednesday, a scheduled game against a Tampa Bay women's outfit was not played due to heavy rain.

Jamaica, who are in Group B at the CONCACAF tournament, leave Florida on Tuesday for Kansas. They will begin their campaign versus Martinique at the Sporting Park in Kansas City on October 16. Two days later they face Costa Rica at the Toyota Park in Illinois. The Girlz complete their preliminary round games against Mexico at the RFK Memorial Stadium in Washington, DC on October 21.

The top two teams in each of the two groups advance to the semi-final stage which will be contested at the PPL Park in Pennsylvania.

The three leading teams at the Championship will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. The fourth-placed team will enter a play-off against a South American country for a World Cup spot.

Squad -- Nicole McClure, Taylor Grant, Alicia Wilson, Sherona Forrester, Monique Pryce, Yolanda Hamilton, Sashana Campbell, Mitsy Facey, Shantel Bailey, Lauren Silver, Nicole Campbell-Green, Christina Murray, Shaneka Gordon, Jodi-Ann McGregor, Omolyn Davis, Donna-Kay Henry, Sonaska Young, Venicia Reid, Shakira Duncan, Alexa Allen.

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