Reggae Girl Trudi Carter ready for Women’s Championship
Jamaica’s Trudi Carter (left) gets away from Lauren Scott of Cayman Islands during their Group C World Cup qualifying contest at Truman Bodden Sports Complex on April 9, 2022.

If her current vein of form is anything to go by, then Trudi Carter is expected to prove a nuisance in Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz attack at the Concacaf Women’s Championship.

Though their Group A opponents, world champions United States, 26th-ranked Mexico and Caribbean neighbours Haiti, who are ranked at 60, are no walkovers, the battle-hardened Reggae Girlz are fancying their chances for the July 4-18 tournament in Monterrey, Mexico.

Carter, who scored five goals in the first phase of qualifiers, has also been in good knick for her Lithuanian club FC Gintra.

“I’m in good spirt, I’m so focused and locked all the way in right now in what I call a tunnel vision. I’m just looking straight ahead, as I prepare mentally and physically for the challenge to come at the Women’s Championship. I’m grateful to God that I am healthy with no injuries whatsoever and so I’m just excited and ready to get going,” Carter told the Jamaica Observer prior to boarding a flight from Lithuania to join the Girlz in Mexico.

The fact that Carter is full of confidence and relaxed heading into a crucial tournament is worth celebrating as she is often plagued by injuries at the worse possible time.

In fact, prior to signing with FC Gintra, Carter was left demoralised, like an explorer trapped in a cold, dark cave.

“The move to Lithuania came at the perfect time because I wasn’t playing football for almost two years, so I was in a really dark place, wondering if I should stop trying, if I’m not good enough or will I ever play again and so on. So when I got the opportunity to play in Lithuania, I knew it was a blessing in disguise and I will be forever grateful for it,” Carter, who has so far scored 11 goals with five assist at the Lithuanian top-flight club, said.

“I’m enjoying it to the fullest, the environment is great, fun and competitve and I am a lot more relaxed. The aim was always to regain my focus and just work my way back into form ahead of the qualifiers and I was able to do that. So definitely a lot of positives coming my way now and by God’s grace it will remain like that because as I said before, I am eyeing improvements and just want to keep building,” she added.

The former AS Roma player, who is one of the many jewels to hail from the tough south St Andrew community of Arnett Gardens, is hoping to play another pivotal role in rewriting the Reggae Girlz name in the annals of Jamaica’s sporting history with a second-consecutive Fifa Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year.

Carter, 27, was Jamaica’s next best scorer behind the talismanic Khadija “Bunny” Shaw when the Girlz made a historic appearance at the global showpiece in France 2019.

“Anyone who knows me knows there is nothing to me like being healthy and in good form, so as you can see from the last few games with the national team and also here at my club, that I am just about where I want to be. I still have a lot more to unlock so hopefully it can happen at the Women’s Championship,” she noted.

“So I am excited, yes, it’s a tough group but if we want to be the best, we have beat the best and those are the teams we will be facing now. We just have to be ready as a team and for me personally, I’m hoping I can bring speed, my ability to beat defenders and also my presence to assist the team in whatever way possible,” Carter declared.

That said, the nippy striker believes the familiarity and experience of the recently appointed coaching staff led by Lorne Donaldson, who assisted in making the 2019 qualification possible, should also assist the team in their pursuit.

“I think we have a strong coaching staff, who we are familiar with so I think that can help us in achieved our ultimate goal and we the players are alsonmore experienced than we were four years ago. So again, I’m excited and ready to get going to help the team to qualify for another World Cup,” Carter ended.

The Girlz will meet hosts Mexico on July 4, the United States on July 7 and Haiti on July 11 in the preliminary round.

Canada, Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago will contest Group B.

The top two teams from each group will qualify directly to the World Cup, while the third-placed teams will qualify for the inter-continental playoffs.

In addition, the group winners will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games and the 2024 Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup, while the second and third-placed teams will advance to the Concacaf Olympic play-off.

Sherdon Cowan

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