The Jamaica Football Federation has called up 22 players, including two newcomers, for a one-week camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida ahead of the Football is Freedom initiative created by Jamaica's Global Ambassador for women's football, Cedella Marley.

The initiative features an international friendly between Jamaica and Costa Rica on October 24 at the DRV stadium. The match is part of a fundraising drive for the Reggae Girlz FIFA 2023 World Cup campaign that kicks off in February 2022.

Jamaica will be hoping to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for a second time following their historic entry into the 2019 World Cup in France.

The 22 players will have two new faces in Page Bailey-Gayle who plays for Leicester City in England and Kalyssa van Zanten, who suits up for the University of Notre Dame in the United States. Also named in the squad is prolific striker Khadijah ’Bunny’ Shaw, who plays for Manchester City, after signing from Bordeaux in France during the summer.

Meanwhile, both teams are expected to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on October 18 for a week of training and the two-game series.

According to the JFF, the local delegation is set to depart the island on Saturday, October 16, to join other members of the technical staff from overseas who will finalize preparation for the camp ahead of the arrival of the players.

The full squad comprises Sydney Schneider (Washington Spirit), Chantelle Swaby (Glasgow Rangers FC), Jade Bailey (Liverpool FC), Vyan Sampson (Charlton Athletic), Konya Plummer (Orlando Pride; on loan to AIK Stockholm), Chinyelu Asher (Washington Spirit), Kayla McCoy (Glasgow Rangers FC), Atlanta Primus (London City Lionesses), Khadija Shaw (Manchester City FC), Sashana Campbell (Unattached), Rebecca Spencer (Tottenham Hotspurs FC), Allyson Swaby (AS Roma), Tiernny Wiltshire (KUPS), Drew Spence (Chelsea FC), Cheyna Matthews (Louisville FC), Marlo Sweatman (Haladas FC), Satara Murray (Bristol City FC), Yazmeen Jamieson (P18 IK), Olufolasade Adamolekun (University of South California), Trudi Carter (FC Gintra), Kalyssa Van Zanten (University of Notre Dame) and Paige Bailey-Gayle (Leicester City FC).

 

Cedella Marley, CEO of the Bob Marley Group of companies) currently in her seventh year as Global Ambassador for the Jamaica Women’s Football Programme, is now expanding her advocacy and commitment to the women’s game.

Her new Football is Freedom Initiative will provide tools and resources for the development and growth of women’s football throughout the Caribbean and Latin America as well as diaspora communities in the United States.

“In the process of my role as ambassador, I have taken note of the crucial role that football can play in empowering young women; through opportunities for education and professional advancement - both on and off the pitch,” Marley said.

“Through the Football is Freedom Initiative we can expand our efforts to other countries in the region and eventually beyond.”

The core mission of FIF is to support the development of women’s football at the grass-roots level in the region by funding existing programs and academies in the islands and in diaspora communities in Canada and the United States, supporting the growth and development of national teams by staging an annual exhibition match and mini-tournament to provide a quality training experience and raise funds that will go directly into the women’s programs of the participating federations as well as invest in the holistic wellness of the players by funding scholarships and programs that assist players with skill sets and tools to help them succeed outside of football once that time comes.

The launch of Football Is Freedom centres around an international friendly fundraising match between the national women’s teams of Jamaica and Costa Rica. In addition to helping fund the new initiative, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to each national team.

Marley is particularly pleased that Costa Rica will join Jamaica on the pitch at DRV PNK Stadium.

“In 2014, I was honoured to attend the FIFA U-17 WWC finals in Costa Rica (as the guest of the late Capt. Horace Burrell). The Costa Rican federation's investment in women's football has helped to inspire my own ideas about the impact that the women’s game could have once given the proper support. Having two of our strongest female teams come together like this is a chance to demonstrate the potential depth and power of women’s football in this region,” she said.

The Reggae Girlz and Las Sele both arrive in South Florida on October 18 for a week of training and a two-game series. In adherence to FIFA- mandated COVID protocols, the delegations will be housed in protective isolation during the camp. The first match will be a closed-door scrimmage, and the finale will be a fundraising match open to the public. The camp is the result of a combined effort by the Bob Marley Foundation, Rita Marley Foundation, and Reggae Girlz Foundation.

The match is being presented by Cedella Marley in association with Black Tower Agency.

Costa Rican and Jamaican Federations expressed the importance of the upcoming camp and the initiative itself to women’s football in the region.

“For the Costa Rican Football Federation it is a true pleasure to be able to participate in the first edition of the "Football is freedom" Festival. From a sporting perspective, the fact that our female players can compete with a team of such high calibre as the Jamaican team is immensely important,” said Gustavo Araya, FEDEFUTBOL General Secretary.

“And of course, getting the chance to participate in the beginnings of what this foundation is going to do makes us proud. The first edition of this festival, set to be held in Florida, will be of utmost importance for our players as they look ahead to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. We will also use this opportunity to show how a foundation like this can impact young girls and get them excited about sports.”

Meanwhile, JFF President Michael Ricketts commended Marley for the initiative that he said will prove to be invaluable.

“I would like to wholeheartedly commend and congratulate our Reggae Girlz Ambassador Cedella Marley and her team. “Football is Freedom” can only help to broaden the interest and quicken the expansion of women’s football in Jamaica and the wider region,” he said.

“We are particularly proud that the initiative is being launched around a camp and an international Friendly game involving the Reggae Girlz. This will serve as invaluable preparation for their World Cup Qualifiers which begin in November. The Jamaica Football Federation stands ready to offer whatever assistance necessary to ensure the success of this venture and we look forward to participating vibrantly going forward.

“On behalf of every aspiring female footballer throughout Jamaica, I wish this progressive vision every

success.”

In addition to the main event, Sunday’s festivities will include a pre-game kickoff party and fan zone experience with games, entertainment, and food trucks as well as a community marketplace showcasing small businesses and organizations from the South Florida diaspora communities.

There is also a musical halftime performance.

The event will also be sponsored by Visit Fort Lauderdale, KICS International, Bob Marley Foundation, and Riddims Marketing.

Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster beginning October 6th. For information about group ticket purchases please contact the production office directly via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For vendor/food truck information please contact Riddims Marketing (954) 251-1643.

Further details about the event and the initiative are available in the Football Is Freedom app which

can be downloaded in the Google Play and I Tunes stores October 6th

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Top fashion designer Louis Vuitton has come under fire for a recently released 'Jamaica-inspired' line of clothing, which seems to have mixed up the colours of the country’s national flag.

The description for the pricey high-end fashion products, which include a $US1,366 sweater and jumper, initially described one item as a ‘Jamaican striped sweatshirt.’ Additionally, the other description read 'Jumper with a striped design inspired by the national flag of the Caribbean island.’ 

The only was problem was that instead of the island’s flag colours of black, green and gold, the design featured green, yellow, and red which are typically associated with the African country Ethiopia.  The aforementioned colours do, however, feature prominently in an aspect of the country’s culture as those are the colours of the flag of the Rastafari movement.  The religious movement, founded in Jamaica in the 1930s, adopted a version of the Ethiopian flag used by Emperor Haile Selassie during his reign.

The mistake was quickly seized upon and ridiculed by some with Cedella Marley, herself a fashion designer and daughter of late great Reggae king Bob Marley, pointing out the fashion designer’s mistake via an Instagram post. 

 "Bob says that's the Ethiopian flag @LouisVuitton,” she posted, along with a photograph of the late singer.

 Some also criticised the company for cultural appropriation and exploiting the island's brand.  Following the wave of criticism, the item was removed from the company’s website, with an apology and explanation later appearing in the UK Guardian newspaper.

  “We are deeply sorry for the error made in the description of our website and we have corrected it. The sweater belongs to the spring-summer 2021 season of the men's collection, which is armed with the colors green, yellow and red, the colors of the Ethiopian flag, in honor of African independence, including the tribute to the culture of Ghana, where our designer Virgil Abloh comes from.”

 

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