Reggae Girl Wiltshire making strides in Israeli Women's Premier LeagueSunday, March 07, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
It is never easy to predict how a player will settle in at a new club as some are suited to a particular environment, and as such, effortlessly assimilate.
On the positive side of that, one such individual is Reggae Girl Tiernny Wiltshire, who is quietly establishing herself as playmaker in her first professional outing with Emek Hefer, in the Israeli Women's Premier League.
The American-born player was one of the marquee signings for the fairly youthful side, which is now one of Israel's top clubs, and she is ensuring that every moment of her one-year deal counts.
Prior to her arrival in Israel, Emek Hefer had just completed their debut season in the league, finishing fourth on 14 points and was eager to improve that placing in their second season.
For Wiltshire, joining the club was a perfect opportunity to, not only whet her feet in the professional ranks, but also to improve her craft knowing very well that the obligations at this level would test her mental and physical ability — both on and off the field.
The 22-year-old is naturally an aggressive right full back, but the coaching staff at her new club has her plying her trade as a utility player, filling the gap in various positions, to include a striker and an outside-midfielder role at times.
And she has not missed a beat.
Wiltshire has so far scored six goals — three in the National Cup and three in the top-flight league, one of which came in a come-from-behind 3-3 stalemate with Maccabi Kishronot Hadera, the former club of Reggae Girlz teammate Sashana “Pete” Campbell on Monday.
“This being my first professional contract, I simply viewed it as the start of an amazing journey I have ahead and so far it has provided me a great deal of confidence based on the role I play on and off the field. So my experience so far has been a very positive one. I am learning and growing in ways that has shaped my game and me as a person for the better,” Wiltshire told the Jamaica Observer from her base in the Middle East.
“Overall, I personally believe that I've been performing at a high level on a consistent basis and I am proud of myself for finishing opportunities as well as assisting. I hope to continue that same level of contribution to my team's success as the season progresses,” the Rutgers University alumna added.
Though fairly new to Israel's top-flight, Emek Hefer has earned the respect of their more experienced rivals, given its strength and depth, more so now, with the addition of Wiltshire and a few other players.
The Moshe Zaguri-coached side is currently fourth on the 10-team standings with 17 points with five wins, two draws and one loss in their eight games played so far.
“I think my team's chances of winning the league are very high. Based on where we are currently ranked shows promise that if we continue to excel in the areas that we are great in and continue to strengthen our weak areas then we will be a force to reckon with. If we continue to be resilient and strong we will definitely find ourselves at the top when the season is over,” said Wiltshire, whose parents Brandi Wiltshire-Murray and Linval Lewis are both of Jamaican background.
The 5'4” Wiltshire, who was given a timely introduction to top level football during Jamaica's failed Olympic Qualifying bid last year, might have been aided by that experience in her quick adjustment to professional football.
And with things currently going as she anticipated, Wiltshire, who holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and psychology, is now that much more motivated and encouraged as she continues to look ahead.
“I am completely confident that we can win the league and that has me looking even further into potentially being a part of Champions League, which would be really exciting, as it would be my first time,” she shared.
“So, I'm very much encouraged and motivated and looking forward to every experience that presents itself, while honing my own skills and bringing a strong competitive attitude and will to win,” the bubbly Wiltshire ended.
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