Girlz set for friendly series with USA, Nigeria in HoustonFriday, May 07, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
The Jamaica Senior Women's National football team will play two international friendlies in the United States next month as part of US Soccer 2021 WNT Summer Series, presented by AT&T 5G.
On June 10, the Reggae Girlz will tackle Nigeria, and on June 13, they will play World Champions and hosts the USA. Both games will be played at the BBVA stadium in Houston, Texas. Portugal will also take part in the four-team event.
The games will be the first for Jamaica since they participated in Concacaf Olympic qualifiers in February 2020.
“We are extremely pleased to be part of this series of games,” said Reggae Girlz Coach Hubert Busby.
“They come in handy as we begin to put our squad together for the World Cup Qualifiers beginning in November. These games give us a chance to see where we are and to incorporate new faces and talents. These are two great opponents and we are always excited to match skills with the best in the world,” he added.
The format of the Summer Series will feature the USA and Nigeria playing three matches, while Portugal and Jamaica will play two. No standings will be kept and all matches will be treated as friendlies.
Chairperson of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Women's Committee Elaine Walker-Brown said the series symbolises the beginning of the qualification for the next Fifa Women's World Cup.
“In 2018 our Reggae Girls created history in the Caribbean in qualifying for the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup in France. This launch symbolises the beginning of the quest to repeat the journey that was started in 2019, now in 2021, to take us to 2023 to the Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” she said during a Zoom press announcement staged by the governing JFF on Thursday.
The USA are the best team in the world and Nigeria are a historic power and the number one ranked team in Africa. Portugal are among a group of European teams that is making big strides forward in the women's game, and Jamaica qualified for its first Women's World Cup in 2019.
Also speaking at the press conference, president of the JFF, Michael Ricketts, spoke of the impact that qualification to the last World Cup has had on the sport in Jamaica and the players who represented the country in France.
“In 2018, Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to qualify for a senior Women's World Cup tournament. As a result of that achievement, a wave of hope for the women's game swept the country, and the rest of the Caribbean on a whole.
“Young girls saw the possibility that women can, through football, achieve their dreams and change their lives forever. As a result of that achievement many of our senior women are now playing in leagues across the world and are making an impact for themselves their career as professionals and for their country,” said Ricketts.
Once the teams arrive in Houston, all the players and staffs will operate inside highly controlled environments at the host hotels. The staging of training sessions and matches will fall under the comprehensive US Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the Concacaf Return to Play Protocols.
Everyone entering the controlled environment will be tested for COVID-19 before travelling, upon arrival and periodically thereafter.
The teams will not begin full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed. The USA has played Jamaica just three times in its history, all in Concacaf qualifying matches, most recently a 6-0 win in qualifying for the 2019 Fifa Women's World Cup.
In the case of Nigeria, this will be the first friendly against the Africans for Jamaica. Jamaica, meantime, has several players currently playing for NWSL clubs.
The Girlz are ranked 51st in the world, with the USA ranked first and Nigeria ranked 38th.
The full fixtures for the 2021 WNT Summer Series presented by AT&T 5G, sees the games kick off on June 10 with Jamaica vs Nigeria at the BBVA Stadium Houston in Texas starting at 4:30 pm. That game will be followed by the USA vs Portugal at 7:30 pm.
On June 13, Portugal will play Nigeria at 6:00 pm, before the Reggae Girlz battle the world number one USA at 9:00 pm. On June 16 the USA will play Nigeria at the Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas at 8:00 pm to close out the friendly series.
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