God, right on time!

God, right on time!

Patience pays off as Reggae Girl Gabrielle Farrell lands first professional contract in Serbia

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 25, 2020

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Since making her debut for Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz at the Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifiers in February, Gabrielle Farrell patiently and prudently primed herself for a possible signing to the professional ranks.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has the sporting world in a bind and uncertainties surrounded if and when her first professional contract would come, for Farrell, it was all about waiting for an opportunity, while paying attention to every detail of her preparation.

However, the wait to achieve her lifelong dream of playing at the professional level is now over, as she recently inked a deal with Serbian champion ZFK Spartak Subotica ahead of their UEFA Women's Champions League campaign.

And as expected, the 22-year-old is over the moon about the prospects to come into this new chapter of her football career.

“I am super excited to start my professional career. It has always been a dream of mine since I was little, to one day play soccer professionally, so now that I finally have the opportunity to do so, it is definitely a great boost for me,” Farrell told the Jamaica Observer from her base in Subotica.

Despite being firm in her faith, the American-born Farrell, who earns her Jamaican stripes from father Paul, who is a pastor, and mother Juliet, admits that the anxieties provoked by the infectious virus inveigled their way into her life and tried to sap the energy out of her preparations.

But she would have none of it.

In fact, that distinct advantage of being a preacher's daughter is why Farrell, who recently graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, with a Bachelor's degree in Business and Digital Marketing, continues to pursue her dream in a sport she developed a passion for at a tender age.

“Graduating from my university and trying to enter into the professional world definitely had its challenges, [and] COVID-19 played a huge part in that. Having a number of teams contact my agent within the spring and early summer about me and then pretty much immediately had to announce that their leagues were shutting down was pretty hard and really frustrating and kind of just forced me to wait and stay patient,” Farrell shared.

“But the time that I spent in the waiting period definitely helped me grow so much, not only physically but mentally.

“God's timing is always the right timing and I am so incredibly blessed to now be able to officially start my pro journey. It is a blessing and I am so excited and ready to take on these new challenges, and hopefully, go super far with this team and see where this all takes me,” she added.

ZFK Spartak has a rich winning tradition, copping 10 national championships, including nine in a row from 2011 to 2019. But Farrell, who is blessed with exceptional speed and flair, is not too daunted by the task at hand.

Having worked her way up the ranks to this point, the diminutive player knows exactly what is required at this level and is ready and willing to leave it all on the park to add to Spartak's success, while continuing to hone her skills as a striker.

“I know that none of this comes easily, so, I definitely worked myself and did the necessary training and everything that I need to do to make sure I stay at this level.

“For the past couple months, I have been lifting and preparing my body for the professional world because I knew when the right opportunity came I would have to be 100 per cent ready to go and I am feeling super ready,” she reasoned.

“So, I come in not taking anything for granted, I want to do the work and I want to help push my teammates and have them push me to be better and I am super excited for this opportunity,” Farrell, who scored 24 goals in an illustrious career at Liberty, going down as one of the best players in school history, noted.

Being a preacher's daughter, Farrell, is what most people expect her to be off the field — humble, soft-spoken, and cheerful, but a no-nonsense personality takes over whenever she is on the field.

She is hoping to bring both on and off field traits to the fore as soon as she is settled in the landlocked country situated at the crossroads of central and southeast Europe.

“I am expecting a lot of different challenges heading to Serbia, not only being immersed in a completely different culture, but also on the field. This league is very competitive and I know I will have to bring my absolute best to the field.

“I've always been someone who loves to take on new challenges and experiencing new things. I'm never settled with the minimum and never settled with just being enough; I always want to be the best that I can be so hopefully I can be an asset to them,” said Farrell.

“Soccer aside, we are living in such a dark and hateful world right now. So first and foremost I want to represent Christ and I want to ensure that wherever I go and whomever I am representing, whether that is a club or Jamaica, I am putting my best foot forward, and hopefully I can be a light to those around me,” she ended.


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