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Gough happy for role in Reggae Girlz team

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

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Like most of the world did during last year's Fifa Women's World Cup in France, David Gough watched Jamaica's Reggae Girlz in action with increased admiration of their historic achievement.

While looking on with optimism that Jamaica's women's football will continue to progress over time, little did Gough know that just over six months later he would be called upon to work with and provide essential service to the very same programme and players he had grown fond of.

Gough was invited to be a part of the Reggae Girlz outfit on the request of new Head Coach Hubert Busby for the upcoming Concacaf Women's Olympic Qualifiers, and his wealth of experience and tremendous knowledge of the game is expected to prove invaluable.

The Welshman, who joins Andrew Price as Busby's assistants, is eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to play a part in writing the next chapter of the Reggae Girlz' history.

“Without a doubt it was overwhelming pride and excitement when I got the call from Coach Busby and I was just ready and willing to play my part for sure. I certainly want to thank the Jamaica Football Federation, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation and Coach Busby for the opportunity,” Gough told the Jamaica Observer.

“I consider it a privilege to be part of the programme; it's a very exciting time to be a part of the Reggae Girlz set-up, as there are a lot of things that the team wants to achieve in the near future, and I am really pleased to be playing my part in that.

“As I see it, there are certainly things this team can go on and achieve and the most important part is about building on the legacy of the qualification for the World Cup,” he added.

Gough, who is currently in camp with the Reggae Girlz team in Houston, Texas, expressed delight with what he has seen so far, as they brace for tough competition at the January 29 to February 9 tournament.

“I see a very professional set-up, an excellent staff, experts in their different departments. I have really enjoyed having brief conversations with the staff and seeing how much it means to everybody to be part of the Reggae Girlz' set-up.

“I am obviously getting to know the players and this week we got some really good work done already; every day we take strides towards where we want to be for the Olympic qualifying tournament. Everything is in place with staff and players that are willing to go the extra mile and even though it's only been a week, I already feel a little bit at home within the team,” Gough shared.

As for his credentials, Gough, who started his coaching career at 18 shortly after injury cut short his playing career, holds a UEFA A licence, a Master of Science in Performance Coaching, and was an assistant coach with the bronze-medal winning England team at the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup, brings 20 years of coaching experience in 18 countries to the table.

During that time travelling three continents, the 37-year-old Gough, now US-based, also worked in youth and elite player development.

That is one of the many features he is hoping to implement in time, if given the long-term opportunity to assist in improving the Reggae Girlz' programmes.

“I am very keen just to come and get started and work with everybody to get the Reggae Girlz to the next level and we are very clear on what we want to do. I am very excited about playing a wider role for the federation as they need from me, I am 100 per cent here to help support Jamaican football and do anything I can to put the team where it needs to be for the next five to 10 years,” Gough declared.

He continued: “We have come so far; it's been a great period of achievement and that wasn't done overnight. There has been a lot of good people who have come before, who have helped put it where it is. So hats off to Coach Hue Menzies and other coaches, in terms of where they put the programme.

“But the struggle continues and women's football is in a fantastic place at the moment all across the world; it is growing everywhere and that shouldn't be any different for Jamaica. So, I am really pleased and happy to be here and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz will contest Group B of the qualifiers against Canada, Mexico and St Kitts and Nevis in Edinburgh, while World champions United States, Costa Rica, Panama and Haiti will do battle in Group B in Houston.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the semi-finals in Carson, California, with the two finalists going on to represent the confederation at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

As part of their preparations, the Girlz face Costa Rica in a warm-up friendly game at Rice University in Houston today.

Squad: Sydney Schneider, Chris-Ann Chambers, Alyssa Whitehead, Sashana Campbell, Trudi Carter, Madiya Harriott, Tiernny Wiltshire, Chantelle Swaby, Gabrielle Farrell, Kayla McCoy, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Konya Plummer, Khadija Shaw, Havana Solaun, Allyson Swaby, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Deneisha Blackwood, Cheyna Matthews, Chinyelu Asher, Tiffany Cameron.

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