Heroic Schneider takes Player-of-the-Match award in stride

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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MCALLEN, USA — If ever there was a time when the senior Reggae Girlz team required a big effort from goalkeeper Sydney Schneider, it was in their crucial Concacaf Women's Championship game Monday.

And did she deliver.

Schneider's performance, which assisted her team to a 1-0 win over Costa Rica, one of the tournament favourites, was as superb as they could come and was well deserving of the player-of-the-match accolade.

While Khadija “Bunny” Shaw found the winner for Jamaica at the other end, Schneider was outstanding, stopping everything sent her way as she made six saves in what was an unforgettable and epic performance.

The impressive glove work by the 19-year-old, who earlier this year was dubbed the Andre Blake of the women's set-up, is the best performance by a goalkeeper so far during this tournament.

“Honestly, to me it was just like another game — I just had to play like any other time… I just had to put it all out there and just work really hard like everyone else and do what I need to do.

“Because we knew we had to win, so obviously there was a lot of pressure, but we play the sport and we know that there are going to be games which come with a lot of pressure. But you just have to remain focused and go out and play hard, and that's what I did,” Schneider told the Jamaica Observer.

And while many would have been surprised by her ability, Schneider — whose Jamaican roots lies with her mother Andrea Kapinos — believed she had done enough to hone her skills between the sticks.

Standing at 5ft 11in tall, the slender Schneider developed a passion for the sport through her father Ernie, who is from a German background, and through practice and mentoring, she is currently enjoying the fruits of her labour.

“I wouldn't say I am surprised by my performance... obviously you don't have a performance like that every game because you don't really have that opportunity to.

“But I know I worked hard and all the other players worked hard and have been practising really hard, so it just feels amazing to know that you have worked so hard and are being rewarded for that hard work,” she noted.

The New Jersey-based goaltender pulled off her most crucial move of the game in the 80th minute when she left her line to deny Raquel Rodriguez who was in and well on her way to goal.

The feeling was even more rewarding as Rodriquez is one of the 15 players in the Costa Rican lineup, who participated in the World Championship in Canada in 2015.

However, being in the spotlight is nothing new for Schneider as she also pulled off some stunning saves during the Under-20 Reggae Girlz campaign in Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year and is fast becoming one of the top personalities in these Concacaf tournaments.

“It feels amazing; knowing that everyone was super proud of me, obviously its gives me a lot of confidence, but for me I was just doing my job. Everyone has their job to do on the field and keeping my team in the game is mine,” Schneider, asserted.

Jamaica will next turn their focus on the 85th-ranked Cuba tomorrow, where a wide margin of victory would assure them a spot in the last four and at least a play-off spot for qualification to the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France.

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