Girlz goalie Jameison using COVID-19 break to catch up on school work


Girlz goalie Jameison using COVID-19 break to catch up on school work

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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While other athletes use the break forced upon them by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to maintain some semblance of form, Reggae Girlz goalkeeper Yazmeen Jamieson has been hitting the books with greater introspection.

Jamieson, a final year student at Carleton University in Ottawa, initially took time away from school to parade her skills for Jamaica's Under-20 and senior Reggae Girlz teams, which left her neck deep in school work.

However, the impact of COVID-19 around the globe represents a blessing in disguise for the Canadian-born player, as it now allows her time to play catch up in Communications and Media Studies with a double minor in African Studies and Anthropology.

“I don't really have free time because I've just been doing assignments back to back. I have 11 assignments left to finish this semester and then I'm going to start summer school to fast track because I had to take less courses for the past couple of years because I started playing with the Jamaican national team and I just didn't want to be travelling and having to do all these assignments when I wanted to focus on training.

“So, all the classes that I dropped, I'm going to have to take them this summer, and then I can finally graduate. So I have basically just been doing homework, because there's really nothing else to do,” Jamieson, who is aiming to graduate in November, told the Jamaica Observer.

The 22-year-old, whose father is Jamaican and mother Grenadian, explained that the decision to finish up her studies came after she last sported the national colours with the senior team at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last year, following their historic Fifa Women's World Cup appearance in France.

Jamieson shared goaltending duties with Sydney Schneider, Chris-Ann Chambers and Nicole McClure at various tournaments.

“Since the last time that I played for Jamaica, I realised that it doesn't really matter how hard you work or how hard you prepare for something, if you're not given the opportunity to showcase that talent, then you have to move on. So I decided to return to school, just because I have a year left and I was doing really well in school.

“And I found that I make a lot of sacrifices to leave and play soccer for Jamaica, while I had school work to do. So, I just decided that school is going to be my sole focus for now so that I can get my grades back up,” she reasoned.

“I love soccer with my entire being, and to be in school and have to sacrifice that for now is really hard on me. One thing that I found very helpful is talking to the girls that are still in their club environment, so they've all been really supportive in terms of making me feel like I'm still in that club environment,” Jamieson added.

Though making the most of the opportunity to bury herself in the books, Jamieson, who is dubbed the 'vibes master' of the Reggae Girlz team, is still coming to terms with being confined to her home, only weeks after her planned March 17 birthday vacation was thwarted.

At the time of writing, Canada had approximately 4,018 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 39 deaths.

“I was supposed to be going on vacation for my birthday and then when I got back, all of a sudden they said everything is shut down. So it was like very hard for me to adjust, as everyone knows, I'm very active and always very energetic, so me being locked in the house is definitely not good for my mental health,” Jamieson shared.

In expounding on her love and commitment to the beautiful game, Jamieson recollected her journey to New Zealand where she briefly plied her trade for the Auckland-based Papakura City FC in the AFF/NFF Conference League.

Jamieson pointed out that after receiving offers from one of the league's top-ranked team and the lower-ranked Papakura City, she accepted the latter in a bid to gain more playing time, as she was aiming to improve her craft to make Jamaica's final 23 for the World Cup at the time.

But that decision came with repercussion.

“This whole plan came to my mind, mid-April, or end of March and then the next week I was on a plane to New Zealand and I didn't even have an address to stay at in the country because it was so rushed. I paid for my ticket, all my savings over $1,000 and hopped on a flight and when I landed, that's when they messaged me, saying they found a place for me to stay.

“But I was just staying with the manager's daughter in a spare room and for the first week that I was there, I was sleeping on the floor and I was like, this is very scary, because I'm literally on the other side of the world without even having any preparation for it,” Jamieson explained.

Add to that the stress of school assignments and exams, which she had to balance before and after training sessions.

That prompted a spirited response from the outspoken player to quickly find her footing.

“I had to mature very quickly, so I opened up a bank account and I started applying to jobs because I needed to figure out a way to get money to pay back my savings for that flight and then I started training with the team right away and things fell in place.

“I was playing with some of the girls that actually play for the New Zealand women's national team and they also went to the World Cup. So I matured very quickly and by day three I was the one that was calling shots. I was the one that was directing the players and I felt very comfortable. So, it was definitely an experience for me,” she declared.

Looking ahead, Jamieson is optimistic about making the most of every opportunity that presents itself on the professional circuit, but for now her main focus is finishing up school.

“The positives, that I've taken out of this situation is that you shouldn't take anything for granted. So with this experience, when it's over by God's grace, I'm just going to take everything with a grain of salt and just be happy in every single environment,” Jamieson noted.

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