Sport

Young starlet Giselle Washington progressing

Sunday, September 02, 2018

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When you see Giselle Washington in action for the senior Reggae Girlz, one would have no idea that this young, promising player is still not yet fully developed.

Just 17 years old, Washington, currently the second-youngest player in the senior set-up behind 16-year-old Jody Brown, is viewed as a lethal attacking midfielder who combines a physical presence with good decision-making and deceptive speed.

Those attributes are what placed her on the current path to success in a budding career and saw her briskly rising up the ranks since she broke into Jamaica's national programme in 2015 at just 14 years old.

Washington started out with Under-17 team, from which she was drafted to the Under-15 team for the CONCACAF Championships in 2016 and also paraded her skills in the Under-20 set-up. This resulted in her making her debut in the senior team earlier this year in Haiti.

And what a debut it was as she scored twice in the team's 13-0 win over Guadeloupe during that first round of the CONCACAF Caribbean Women's Qualifiers.

“I am honoured and grateful to have this opportunity to play at every level at such a young age. I have gotten to know the girls very well and I have learnt something new every time I come to camp. With every age group it is a new experience, so I am really enjoying it and making the most of the opportunity.

“It doesn't matter what team I play for, I am just thankful that I am able to represent my culture; my entire family was happy about it and they supported me. So I am excited about seeing what the future holds as I continue to prove that I have the ability to be a good player,” Washington told the Jamaica Observer.

The hard-working, talented and ambitious player, who is very passionate about football, recently increased her tally to four goals for the senior team when she scored in a 4-0 win over Bermuda and again in Friday's 4-1 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the final-round of the aforementioned qualifiers currently ongoing here in Kingston.

Washington, whose mother Sherrene Washington was born in Kingston, is basically charting a new course in the family line.

Though her mother took part in track and field and volleyball during her heydays no one in the family took up football and young Washington is happy that she is now setting the trend in that regard.

You can hear the unbridled joy in Washington's tone when she speaks about her exploits in a sport which she got introduced to by her mother at three years old.

“I just want to keep playing soccer. I am not going to stop playing because soccer is my passion and I just want to keep growing in the sport until I get to the highest level I possibly can,” said Washington, who is a member of the Atlanta-based Concorde Fire, the U-18/19 Girls Development Academy.

She continued: “No one really played football, so my mom started me when I was about three and then I moved to the club Concorde [Fire] and have been with them ever since. It is great that I am the first to play football and the experience is made even greater by the fact that I have the unwavering support of my family throughout.

“That level of support is what motivates me to keep pushing and I guess that is why I am here (in the senior team). Because I didn't really expect it, I just go out there and play to the best of my abilities and always try to execute as best as I can every chance I get.”

The Chamblee Charter High school student, who is committed to attending University of Tennessee — the current home of teammate Khadija Shaw —is fully focused on improving her standard of play in order to assist the Reggae Girlz achieve the World Cup dream.

After coming on as a substitute to clinch the crucial equaliser in Friday's 4-1 win over the twin-island republic, Washington is gunning for more.

The Jamaicans, who have already secured one of three spots to the CONCACAF Women's Championships in the United States from October 4-17, are scheduled to square off against Cuba today in their final contest.

“We just want to do really well every time we come together to play. So no matter the tournament, we just want to improve our chemistry as a team and I think we have made tremendous amount of progress and we continue to work.

“The one thing I do every time I go into a game is tell myself I am going to do my best and work my hardest. Even if I have a bad game I keep motivating myself; that once I work hard then everything will work out, and as long as I give it my all I can't ask for anything more,” declared Washington.

Three teams from the October championships will advance to the FIFA 2019 Women's World Cup in France, with the fourth-placed team engaging a home-and-away intercontinental play-off with Argentina for qualification.

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