Tiernny Wiltshire soaks up lessons in preparation for transition to pro league

Tiernny Wiltshire soaks up lessons in preparation for transition to pro league

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

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MCALLEN, Texas — Tiernny Wiltshire might not know what awaits her in the professional arena, but she is steadily and confidently working to improve her craft for the transition.

Wiltshire, who has scored four goals in 70 appearances for Rutgers University, is only a few months away from that move and she very much understands that the obligations at the professional level will no doubt test her mental and physical ability, both on and off the field.

As such, the defender welcomes her current stint with Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz team as a timely introduction to top-level football that provides invaluable lessons for the pro circuit.

Like her transition from a high school start at Shattuck St Mary'sHigh School to Rutgers, Wiltshire is certainly finding her footing in the Reggae Girlz environment.

During her three years at Shattuck St Mary's, Wiltshire, whose parents Brandi Wiltshire-Murray and Linval Lewis, are both of Jamaican background, scored 26 goals and tallied 17 assists, while also excelling at track and field and basketball.

“Being in the Jamaican team has helped me a lot so far because I'm gaining international experience and am able to play against elite players — and this being the highest level of women's soccer is definitely a major boost for me to further my career,” Wiltshire told the Jamaica Observer.

“I am really grateful and blessed to have this opportunity, and the fact that they [the coaches] took a chance on me [during] our last camp in October was really exciting.

“Since being here I learned how to become a professional, how to deal with adversity, and that no matter what, you don't give up. No matter what the score is, no matter if it's not going good for you that day, if you try to be there for your teammates, that's all that matters,” she added with ease and maturity.

With the few games at the international level so far whetting her appetite, Wiltshire, 21, is determined now, more than ever, to keep putting her best foot forward.

Despite their humiliating 0-9 defeat to Canada on Saturday, the five-foot four-inch right back, who seems set for a start against St Kitts and Nevis in Jamaica's final Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifiers Group B contest at H-E-B Park in Edinburg today, says she remains committed to the programme.

“I'm a true competitor so I'm just really excited and ready to go if I get that opportunity to start. I'm just really going to try to gain my teammates' trust tomorrow [today] and be defensively sound and attack well and move on and off the ball well, and try to execute every single pass 110 per cent and do what I need to do,” said Wiltshire, who is gearing up for trials with National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team Utah Royals.

“Regardless of what happens, the aim is always to be the best person I can be on and off the field and try to be successful no matter what the outcomes are and just always put my best foot forward no matter what situation — and keep God first and lead with my heart,” she noted.

—Sherdon Cowan

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