Patience is key
Three years ago Meadowbrook High School restarted their female football program and weathering the storm the girls are now reaping the benefits of success.
In the past two seasons, the school located at 2 Meadowbrook Ave was only able to win one game, conceding over one hundred goals with their heaviest defeat coming to the hands of Denham Town who thrashed them seventeen goals to nil (17-0).
The team, coached by Neo Oxford, who earlier in the year resigned from the school's Manning Cup program said it was a past that he would never forget.
"That day at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex was a living nightmare, conceding seventeen times, but I remember my post-game talk to ladies was hold your head up, despite the result, there were a lot of positive our time will come."
Fast forward three years and Meadowbrook High is now on their way to the Quarter Final round of the competition, and coach Oxford stated it was not an easy road.
" As expected the spotlight is never on female football we were ridiculed for our previous years, but my girls and I stuck together, we all had the same goal, started training from October working on the physical, technical, tactical, mental and last but not least emotional aspects."
The team during its growth last year saw four of its girls: Dana Whyte, Shadine Rutherford, Kaliscia Mitchell and Zory Thomas winning the Jamaica Football Federation Under 15 Confederation league. Also in 2018 saw Whyte, Rutherford and Mitchell being selected for National U15 duty. The new year also brought more spotlight on the team when reserve goalkeeper Dreanna Thaw was called to the National U13 team.
Meadowbrook this year drawn in Group G now sit on twenty-two (22) points behind leaders Denham Town, winning seven losing twice and drawing once, and with two group games to go have been confirmed for the next round of the competition.
Although heavily dependent on their national players, Oxford said his team has talent all around the park.
"We look to our named players a lot, but our leading goal scorer Vanessa Stephenson (4 goals) who in the second form, our captain Natalia 'Oats' Williams, our seven grade standouts Tyesha Nelson(3 goals) and Lillian Clarke. Along with our center back pairing of Mitchell and Felicia Willis, an aggressive defensive midfielder in Marcail Pheonix and SAP Sports Ambassador Javanae Jones in goal we have built a unit that can cause some damage. "
Expected to be drawn alongside defending champions Excelsior and former champions St Jago in the quarterfinal round the Head Coach who is also a former Manning Cup captain of Meadowbrook said the team's motto shows how he feels.
" We believe in the words Never Say Die, from there is time on the clock anything is possible, already over achieving this year, as all but one of our players are set to return next year, we will take the quarter-finals as they come. We are aware of the talents both those teams possess and I assure you that we won't be a walk over. "
Meadowbrook has a return leg with Denham Town who got the better of them 2-0 earlier in the season on March 26 and Pembroke Hall on April 1st as their matches remaining in the first round.