Bahamian women’s football is reborn, set for regional action next week at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
For the first time in 30 years, The Bahamas will compete at the senior level in women’s football internationally. The first match of the major breakthrough is set for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The following match will be played on Sunday September 24.
The Bahamas will face Grenada in both matches, the first at home and the second on the road in Grenada, as the 2023 Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Nations League competition gets underway.
Also in the three-team group with The Bahamas is the US Virgin Islands (USVI), and the home and away series with that nation, will be held in October and November.
“This is a new chapter for women’s football in The Bahamas, and I am thrilled to be a part of this journey. It’s a true honor and privilege,” said Anya James, in her fourth month as president of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) – the first woman to serve in that capacity. “Our team stands as a beacon of hope, talent and perseverance. It resonates with our mantra of ‘women who win’. Every stride that they take, every goal they aim for and every challenge that they overcome, they do so as winners. This moment is not just about participating. It is about showcasing the tenacity, talent and spirit of Bahamian women. It is about breaking barriers, setting benchmarks and inspiring the next generation to dream even bigger. As we gear up, let us remember that we are more than just a team – we are a symbol of hope, inspiration and determination. We are the women who win.”
The BFA took a stance to return to competition in women’s football just a few months ago and is now just a couple days away from accomplishing that goal. They were drawn into the CONCACAF Nations League Group C with Grenada and the USVI and has to win the group in order to move on to the next stage of qualification for the 2024 CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup.
The price for admission on Wednesday is $20 for adults and $5 for children.
Set to represent the country are goalkeepers Raynia Russell and Melina McClure, and position players Diane Maillis, Brianna Capron, Tyra McKenzie, Samina Moss, Edissa Bain, Dalexis Huyler, Angel Williams, Liah Rae Tucker, Jada Thelamour, Demitra McClure, Kyrah Miller, Janeka Edey, Giselle Laing, Jodei Clarke, Karen Wert, Rachel Rolle, Megan Wood, Valtinique Simmons, Taleah Thompson, Hadassah Knowles and Kaitlyn Rolle.
Ricqea Bain is the head coach of the team. She said they are ready to play and ready to win.
“The team is really dynamic. We have seven high schoolers, two in the US, a core group of 20-23 year-olds and two seniors, around 28-29. I’m elated,” she said. “It’s awesome for us to start at home. I’m very confident that we could beat Grenada but the goal is to make Bahamians proud. We know what we could do. We have improved tremendously over the last few months. This is just the beginning of our journey. We feel no pressure to go out there and do what we’re capable of doing.”
Melina McClure, a 19-year-old sophomore goalkeeper for the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said she is excited for the opportunity and grateful to be in position to help the team.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to represent this country,” she said. “We have been training very hard and we look forward to competing. I’ve seen improvement over the last few months. I think we’re strong and we could do well.”
The Mountain Lions compete as members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II.
Rachel Rolle, 20-year-old sophomore defender for the Allen University Yellow Jackets in Columbia, South Carolina, said that she is more than excited to compete.
“I’m honored to play. We’re set to put our best feet forward, play our game and do our best,” she said. “We want to showcase our talent. We are our sisters’ keepers so we play as one. We’re very confident. We feel like we could dominate our group. Training is going well. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication, and the fact that we are able to pull through is a symbol of our perseverance.”
Rolle has spent four years on the national team as a junior player and is about to experience her first action as a senior national team player.
Sports Officer in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Adam Miller said that the ministry has thrown its full support behind the senior women’s national football team.
“We fully support the women’s national team in their journey to get to the Gold Cup,” he said. “It’s important to have them here competing at home to give Bahamians an opportunity to see women’s football at its highest level in The Bahamas, its growth and the future of the sport. One of the mandates of the ministry is to put mechanisms in place to ensure the growth of all sports and with women’s football coming on stream, we could see the growth. The BFA is setting the way forward for women’s representation and we support that.”
As mentioned, The Bahamas would have to win its group with Grenada and the USVI in order to move on to the next stage of qualification on the ‘Road to CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup’.
The first game is set for this Wednesday at 7 p.m. against Grenada at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.