Menzies welcomes PanAm Games challenge

...Girlz coach names 'balanced' squad to face Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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Head coach of Jamaica's senior Reggae Girlz team, Hue Menzies has named an 18-member team to contest the women's football component at the upcoming Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

The squad will stage a five-day training camp in Jamaica to run from July 19-23. The Pan Am Games will take place from July 26 to August 11.

Unlike the men's teams at the tournament, the women's teams are without age restrictions, and as such, Menzies has assembled a group with a blend of youth and experience for the tournament where they will go up against Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico at the Estadio Universidad.

Defending gold medallists Brazil will not be participating in the games.

The squad comprises 11 members of the historic team that participated at the recently concluded Fifa Women's World Cup in France, while the other members, with the exception of first-time call-up Rachel Smith, were either a part of the World Cup qualifiers and or preparations and have represented the country at either the senior or youth level.

Smith played four years at the University of Florida.

Coming back into the fold is defender/midfielder Jadyn Matthews, who missed out on a spot in the final 23 World Cup squad and Jayda Pelaia-Hylton, who last represented the country at the Concacaf Under-20 championships in Trinidad and Tobago last year.

“Due to the fact that Pan Am Games is not a Fifa-sanctioned event, the professional clubs in Europe aren't releasing players because of league play or preseason training, but we still have 11 players from the World Cup roster, with a few additions of players that have come through the last Under-20 campaign.

“So we feel very comfortable with this squad (as) it is a good mixture of experience and youth. We have to start to build a pool of players to be able to compete with the rest of the world,” Menzies told the Jamaica Observer.

Menzies welcomes the challenge of going up against formidable opponents in the group.

“The tournament will be tough as we will be going up against some very good opponents, some of whom we have played before, so we are looking forward to it. This is what you want as a team, to be tested, especially with the younger players coming through and then to grow from those experiences. We've been tested in different ways through the World Cup, we took a lot away from that expereince and we are now hoping to build on it when we head into another tournament,” the tactician said.

Squad — Sydney Schneider, Yazmeen Jamieson, Deneisha Blackwood, Jody Brown, Olufolasade Adamolekun, Jadyn Matthews, Sashana Campbell, Tarania Clarke, Chyanne Dennis, Madiya Harriott, Jayda Pelaia-Hylton, Mireya Grey, Toriana Patterson, Chanel Hudson-Marks, Chantelle Swaby, Shayla Smart, Konya Plummer, Rachel Smith.

Staff — Hue Menzies (head coach), Lorne Donaldson (assistant coach), Hubert Busby (goalkeeper coach), Will Hitzelberger (fitness coach), Jean Nelson (manager), Omar Folkes (equipment manager), Gillian Lawrence (doctor).

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