Jamaica has a women's football club called the Reggae Girlz that could potentially be good enough to play in the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada. The only problem? The Jamaica Football Federation provides the women's football program with very little funding. As a result, they're not able to do basic things like travel to play in practice matches against other teams. And that may ultimately prevent them from taking part in the World Cup next year.
Cedella Marley—the oldest daughter of Bob and Rita Marley—is trying to make sure that doesn't happen. She knows that she can't guarantee that Jamaica will be represented at the World Cup in 2015. But at the very least, she wants to give the Reggae Girlz every opportunity to succeed. So earlier this week, she agreed to become the club's ambassador. She's helping spread the word about the team—the Reggae Boyz are the ones who usually receive all of the football-related headlines in Jamaica—and, more importantly, she's helping the club to kick-start a fundraising effort (which you can learn more about on GoFundMe over here) to raise money so that the team can pay for travel, training, and other things that they'll need to pay for if they want to have any chance of qualifying for the World Cup.
Here, Marley talks to Complex Sports about why she wanted to get involved with the Reggae Girlz in the first place.
Interview by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with the Reggae Girlz. We've heard about the Reggae Boyz, but we're not as familiar with the women's team.
Exactly. Nobody has heard about the Reggae Girlz. This is the senior team we're dealing with right now.
Do they have a good team?
[They] are contenders for the World Cup in 2015 in Canada. They are ranked No. 4 in their region [in the CONCACAF rankings]. But it's almost like the Jamaica Football Federation has canceled the program. You kind of have to think to yourself, like, if you're at No. 4 in the region without anyone backing you, imagine if you had the proper infrastructure, proper housing, proper training, proper nutrition—all the things that every single club who I know is a contender for the World Cup has. It's almost like they don't have a fair chance without all of those things.
How did you get involved with trying to help the Reggae Girlz out?
My youngest son, his coach has a daughter who is part of the [under] 17 team. He sent me a flyer one day and was like, 'You know, Cedella, I don't know why I didn't reach out to you. The girls need someone who can come in and do fundraisers.' So I said, 'Let me make a call and ask how I can help.'
Is donating to the GoFundMe campaign the best way for people to help the team right now?
Yes. I'm doing other things on the flip side of it. But the GoFundMe is really for the public at large. Anybody who loves Jamaican culture.
What will the GoFundMe donations be used for?
The funding will enable [the Reggae Girlz] to [play in] practice matches, because that's what's lacking. They don't have the money for transportation or hotels. They can't travel anywhere.
And in theory, that will help them improve their chances of qualifying for the World Cup?
[It will] at least give them a fair chance. It's not like the Jamaica Football Federation doesn't get funding. They do. They've just been concentrating on the men's program. So the girls have always been left to fend for themselves. But as women, we're used to doing that. Nothing new. And I think the girls, with the little that they have, have been doing an incredible job on their own.
The Reggae Girlz have been doing well on their own. But they need your help. If you're interested in donating to their cause and helping them get a little bit closer to achieving their World Cup dreams, you can donate to them here.