July 23, 2010
Female Footballers compete in Canada

Four Vincentian female footballers, Akiria Samuel, Jasmine Browne, Shelly Browne and Ossana {{more}} DeRiggs left for Canada on Wednesday, July 21, to compete in a senior women’s football tournament in British Columbia. They are trying out for potential places in either college or provincial club teams in the future.

The four players have all previously played for St. Vincent Women’s National teams in various age categories and are currently back in training in the Senior Women’s Team Programme under the guidance of SVGFF Technical Director Sammy Carrington. However, they are currently travelling to play on a university team, Thompson Rivers University, in British Columbia, as representatives of their local women’s football team “Dig Deep Warriors”.

Dig Deep Warriors was started two years ago with the goal of developing women’s football at the club level and currently has one Senior Female Team with a number of new Junior and beginner players joining their ranks as word spreads about the team.

One of the main objectives of the Warriors club is to develop and inspire and assist players in accessing scholarships, tryouts with colleges abroad. The criteria for selection are very high, but those female athletes who have genuine commitment and dedication to their studies, football and developing Life Skills through sport are the ones who can attain this.

The competition will include teams from across Western Canada, including other college, provincial, national players, former and current professional players who are available will also be participating. The standard is very high but the competition has become a target competition for viewing and assessing players. Akiria, Jasmine, Shelly and Ossana will be assessed by top grade coaches with international credentials and experience. They will be coached and guided and trained as they aspire to be starting players on the Thompson Rivers University team, which uses this competition to assess players for its extensive football programme.

Thompson Rivers University won this championship last year which has increased the pressure on this year’s current players and aspiring applicants to perform at a higher level. It is a well known fact in any sport that to “repeat” success is more difficult than just a “one off’ win. Added to this factor is the increase in interest from Western Canadian schools to enroll and be part of the university’s programme, which means success at being one of the starting eleven will be even tougher.

The cost of this venture is approximately ECD$26,500, which is being funded solely from personal finances by the team’s coach and club founder, Séamus McCarthy, a former SVG Women’s National Team coach.

Coach McCarthy is cautiously optimistic that the groundwork will be set through this venture for future potential player scholarship recommendations from St. Vincent to Canada and to the USA also. However, it is clear that the commitment from junior and young Vincentian female football players is in its infancy and the learning curve required for them to aspire to greater heights MUST be taught at younger ages in St. Vincent.

One of the reasons the players are going nine days ahead of the event is to allow for acclimatization both to the atmospheric and elevation factors. The fitness level alone required for this event will be demanding enough without the added factors which the other players will be more familiar with.