Goalkeeper George lone local player on ‘Lady Jags’ Olympic team

Goalkeeper Ruth George is the lone local player among the 19 selected to compete in next month’s Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in the Dominican Republic.

According to a press release, the final squad to travel to the Dominican Republic was selected yesterday by head coach Mark Rodrigues.

According to the release, Rodrigues has selected players from the 2010 Gold Cup squad and from 2012 U20 squad.

Most of the players are from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The Lady Jags will face off against St Kitts/ Nevis on August 21 and Cuba on August 23.

The final 19-member Lady Jags football team which will participate in Group Four of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Olympic Qualifiers next month in the Dominican Republic. (Photo courtesy of the Guyana Football Federation)
The final 19-member Lady Jags football team which will participate in Group Four of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Olympic Qualifiers next month in the Dominican Republic. (Photo courtesy of the Guyana Football Federation)

The final squad was arrived at following “a rigorous one-week training camp that wrapped up last weekend,” the release stated adding that Rodrigues will now turn his attention to seeing the Guyana team advance from their group in an effort to become the first Guyana team to compete at the Olympic Games.

Ashley Rodrigues has retained the captaincy position while other members of the team are Kayla and Briana Dec Souza, Ashlee Savona, Calaigh Copeland, Otesha Charles, Mariam El-Masri, Olivia Gonsalves, Alison Heydorn, Kailey Leila, Chantal Lynch, Kelly Pelz-Butler, Brittany Persaud, Leah-Marie Ramalho, Justine Rodrigues, Martyne Alphonso, Derienne Busby and Chante Sandiford.

According to the release, Rodrigues said he was excited to have a wide pool of players to select from.

“It was also great to see the developmental maturity of our players after such a long layoff, and see the U20’s step up to fight and earn spots,” he declared.

“This is a much more experienced squad than 2010, but we must remember that other countries have also been developing their female players, while also reaching out to their Diasporas for higher level players, so we do not know what to expect from our competition until game day,” he added.

Rodrigues feels that the focus now will be on what Guyana will display on the field with the intention and hope of dictating the game.

“We have adopted and trained in a new system of play that’s very exciting and adaptable to whatever our opponents may bring to the field. The players’ procedural memory was exhausted at the end of the camp. That was part of the camp’s training plan, so that when we kick start that part of the brain on August 20 (training – the day before the first game), their triggers will ignite and get us as close to peak mental and physical performance as possible early in the game,” Rodrigues noted.

In the absence of an Internationally friendly, The ‘Lady Jags’ resorted to playing a Georgetown U-17 boys team and the Dickel School’s Football National Champions Christiansburg/Wismar Secondary and despite being out muscled in the two scrimmages, Rodrigues attributed his team selection to how the players reaction during the two contest and the contribution to the team during encampment, the release stated.

The Head Coach says that he welcomes the high expectation of the team, noting “the team has embraced the fact that everyone’s expectations are based on our achievements in 2010 and rightfully so. It was a great, historical achievement for Guyana Football”

He added however “while it’s great to reflect and rejoice on the past and the legacies created and set back then, we must now first and foremost remain focused on what we have to do on August 21 and 23, and that is to win our group to advance.

The Squad: Ashley Rodrigues (Captain) Kayla De Souza, Briana De Souza, Ashlee Savona, Caleigh Copeland, Odisha Charles, Mariam El-Mari, Olivia Gonzales, Alison Haydon, Kailey Leila, Chantal Lynch, Kelly Peels-Butler, Brittany Persuade, Leah-Marie Ramah, Justine Rodrigues, Martine Alphonso, Adrienne Busby, Ruth George and Chanted Sandyford.

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