It was an honour to get an insight from Cedella Marley about her passion and dedication to support the Jamaica Women’s National soccer team ‘Reggae Girlz’ as they follow their dream to play at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015.
The daughter of music legend Bob Marley, Cedella Marley is an inspirational woman. Not only is she the ambassador to Jamaica Reggae Girlz, she is also a singer, an actress, an author, an entrepreneur, a fashion designer, a philanthropist, and a mother of three.
Just days away from the start of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship and on the verge of making history, Cedella Marley took the time to speak to Women’s Soccer United.
Women’s Soccer United: When did you first become involved with the Jamaican Women’s National soccer team ‘Reggae Girlz’, who/what inspired your decision?
Cedella Marley: Earlier this year my son brought me a flyer he got from his soccer coach. It was about the Reggae Girlz, but before that I didn’t even know that Jamaica had a women’s team. I looked into it and found out more about their story – the disbanding of the team for 6 years because of funding, the trouble getting sponsors, and the dream these young women have to be the first women’s team from the Caribbean to qualify for the women’s world cup. I am a firm believer that every girl should have the right to go for her dream, so I wanted to see how I could be of help.
WSU: Has soccer always been a big part of your life, in what ways has it influenced your career so far?
Cedella Marley: I grew up watching my father and brothers play soccer. Soccer was one of my dad’s passions and so it’s naturally been a part of my life. As an entertainer fitness, strength, and discipline are just a necessary as they are for an athlete, so many of the lessons that he instilled in me and my siblings came from that.
WSU: You have a hands-on role as the Ambassador to the Jamaican Women’s National Team, can you tell us about any projects you have lined up?
Cedella Marley: The Reggae Girlz project has been a family affair from the very beginning. My brothers Steve and Damian got in the studio with me to record Strike Hard which is the Reggae Girls theme song. We also produced a docu-series that aired in Jamaica this past summer. I have been to all the girlz’ game this far with my family to cheer them on, and that has inspired some other projects that are on the drawing board. I look forward to sharing those when the time comes.
WSU: What have been the main developments for the Reggae Girlz since your involvement, how do you see the squad continue to evolve?
Cedella Marley: The funds and awareness that I have been able to raise have given the Reggae Girlz access to the resources needed to compete at the international level. Extended training camps in both Jamaica and the United States have been key to their growth and development as a team. As the word got out about the team we were also approached by sports trainers, consultants, and physio therapists that have volunteered their services to the program. Jamaica is known for our athletic talents and speed; and it’s been wonderful to see this squad have an opportunity to develop that natural talent more than ever before. The squad has come a long way in the past six months.
WSU: What is the team spirit like in the Jamaica Women’s National Team camp ahead of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship?
Cedella Marley: There is a level of excitement of course, however the main thing I see with the team and the coaches right now is focus. The mission has always been to get to the Women’s World Cup, and as a unit that vision and dream is what we are focused on.
WSU: What would it mean to become the first Caribbean female team to qualify for a World Cup, what impact would this have on women’s football in Jamaica?
Cedella Marley: The Reggae Boys became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the a world cup back in 1998. The opportunity for the Reggae Girl to do that on the women’s side has the whole country on the edge of their seats. Qualifying would open up many doors for women’s football in Jamaica in terms of funding and validation. There are still those that see football as a men’s sport, and having the women’s team of Jamaica reach the world cup can go a long way to change that mindset.
WSU: One last question, there are many obstacles that many girls around the world have to overcome just to play the sport they love, what would you say to people who object to females playing soccer?
Cedella Marley: I would say that passion, skill, and talent are not gender specific. I got to watch the other women’s teams that played in the CFU, and the female football players go hard. Their game is just as exciting to watch as the men’s game. Every person, male or female, should be able to pursue and develop their natural talent and see how far it can take them. Self-actualization is a built-in desire for every human being.
Don’t miss the Reggae Girlz video highlighting their journey from disbandment to reaching the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship earning the chance to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015! Good luck Reggae Girlz from all of us at WSU.