MONTERREY, Mexico — Having made the switch from England, Liverpool midfielder Jade Bailey is eager to assist Jamaica in another World Cup bid, and she is quietly confident.
“I think our chances are great because we know what we came to do and want to give a good account of ourselves, and we one hundred per cent think and believe that we are going to the World Cup,” Bailey told the Jamaica Observer.
Jamaica historically qualified for its first Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2019 and the quest for further glory continues despite being placed in a tough group with world champions United States of America, hosts Mexico, and Haiti.
“It’s a tough group, but we know the qualities that we bring, and we have brought in different players and the squad, on a whole, is very competitive and we have that belief that we are going to qualify,” said Bailey.
The 26-year-old defensive midfielder has football in her blood as her Jamaican-born father Trevor Bailey is a football coach and the owner of a youth academy — Interwood Junior Football Club.
Bailey started playing football at age six with the boys and her immense talent was evident from that point. She became the first female to captain Waltham Forest School Under-11s as the only girl in the team.
Arsenal saw her precocious talent and she was signed for the Under-12 team and went on to represent England at the Under-17 level.
She was a part of the Arsenal team that won the 2013 FA Cup coming off the bench and started in the 2014 team that successfully defended their title.
She later joined Chelsea in 2015 and in 2019 she was loaned to Reading FC before joining Liverpool where she helped the Reds win promotion back to the top flight, making 20 appearances with one goal.
But once Jamaica came calling, it was an easy decision for Bailey.
“When I first got the call that I was in their plans, and as soon as I found out that I would have the opportunity to play for Jamaica, it was something I wanted to do straight away and get involved with,” she pointed out.
“Straight away I felt so comfortable amongst the squad and it just felt like it was like a family,” Bailey added.
She made her début in October 2021 playing twice against Costa Rica and was expected to earn her third cap for Jamaica against Mexico on Monday night. Beyond the opening game, Bailey is expected to be an integral part of Jamaica’s World Cup quest.
“Playing against Costa Rica it was really an amazing experience to finally be able to put on the shirt and play for your country. You just want to give it your all and it’s a great experience being out there with the girls as well,” said Bailey.
The player in the prime of her career believes she brings a lot of positives to the Jamaican team.
“I have been at a few clubs now and even though I am 26, I got a lot of experience. I grew up playing in the Arsenal academy and I think that style of play — being a defensive midfielder, just being comfortable on the ball and having the experience of playing in different teams. Also, at a young age [I] started playing professionally and just being a leader, being able to dictate play,” she pointed out.
At breakfast on Monday, Bailey was seen in dialogue with Khadija Shaw, who represents Manchester City which has developed a rivalry with Liverpool.
“Everyone has their club team but it’s completely different for country. When you play for the country you come together so it’s not really a big rivalry as such,” she explained.
“It’s just a good group of players and I believe we have that chemistry where you can have a laugh away from the pitch or even on the pitch. But you know when it’s time to train, it’s time for business and you just want to do well playing for your country. So, it’s a nice group and environment to be around,” said Bailey.