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Jamaica’s senior women’s national soccer team, the Reggae Girlz, has qualified for the World Cup, making history on the island and beyond.
The Reggae Girlz defeated Panama’s women’s national team on Wednesday in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. The Panamanian team is scheduled to play Argentina next month and still has a chance to qualify for the cup.
Reaching the FIFA Women’s World Cup, to be held next year in France, was not only a first for Jamaica. The Reggae Girlz became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the tournament, FIFA said.
The players celebrated their historic win by singing Jamaica’s national anthem after the match, as seen in a video from the team’s Facebook page.
The Reggae Boyz, Jamaica’s men’s national team, famously qualified for the FIFA Men’s World Cup in 1998, which was also in France.
The Reggae Girlz’s journey to the World Cup has been a long but inspiring one.
In 2014, Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley and Rita Marley, became an ambassador for the team to help the Reggae Girlz drum up financial support.
Marley has been supporting the team via the Bob Marley Foundation, leading efforts to fund players’ travel so they could access training and practice matches, she told Complex Sports in 2014. The Jamaica Football Federation launched an online crowdfunding campaign at the time to help fund the women’s training. The Bob Marley Foundation also partnered with the Alacran Foundation, another sponsor of the team.
Marley, a recording artist and CEO of Bob Marley Group of Companies, has long been an outspoken supporter of women’s programs in Jamaica.
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SO NICE WE HAD TO DO IT TWICE! The Jamaica Senior Reggae Girlz have created HISTORY, the Jamaica Senior Reggae Girlz are the first Senior Women’s Football Team from the English speaking Caribbean to make it to a Women’s World Cup. Thanks to all our sponsors, we could not have done it without you! @reggaegirlzfoundation @alacrangroup @bobmarleyfoundation @umbro @jamaicaolympic @officialwata @jmmbgroup @jamaicaobserver @jpstmarys @powerade @stewartsautogroup #Petrojamlimited #UHWI #JFFLive #ReggaeGirlz #StrikeHard #ReggaeFootball #StillOnTheBall #MakingHistory
In August, Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies expressed appreciation for the support the team receives from Marley and her family’s foundation.
“That support from the Bob Marley Foundation has been so important to us,” Menzies told . “Bob Marley loved football, of course. Cedella has continued that passion and she really wants to help women’s football develop in Jamaica.”
HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE! @ReggaeGirlzJA are on their way to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France after winning the third place play off against Panama in the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship.#AlacranGroup #BobMarleyFoundation#JFFLive #ReggaeGirlz #StrikeHard #ReggaeFootball pic.twitter.com/HdXSeRBtQI
— Cedella Marley (@cedellamarley) October 18, 2018