Professionalism dawns for women’s football
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) women's chairperson Elaine Walker-Brown believes the return of top-flight women's football will usher in a new era of professionalism and standards.
The JFF Women's Premier League (WPL) was officially launched yesterday from the New Kingston headquarters, with 10 teams scheduled to take part in the six-month-long competition, which starts December 4.
The league has been on hiatus since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Walker-Brown states that the teams have made the official requirements for registration in keeping with the new professional standards for local clubs.
"The reason we have this amount is that these are the top clubs that you'll see now from the country, based on the criteria that they have to meet," Walker-Brown said. "It's the same approach as the men. They had to be registered as a company, they have to approach it as a business and they have to be registered on the FIFA Connect."
It is that approach that Walker-Brown hopes will elevate the standard of the women's game to a professional environment that will meet the demands of the modern game. With plans being finalised for the start of the tier-two competition in February, Walker-Brown said clubs will get the necessary support to get them up to that level.
"They are doing their homework now to ensure that they are properly registered with the Company's Office and that they are properly structured," Walker-Brown said. "These 10 teams are the start of the professional side of women's football in Jamaica. We are going to hold their hands. We are not going to let them be on their own. We are going to ensure that they do what they have to do to get to that level. Together we are going to make it happen."
Cognisant of the effects of the three-year gap on players and the quality of play that Jamaicans will see, Walker-Brown said patience must be exercised for their full gifts to be shown.
"I know some young ladies are gifted and they just need fitness. As the competition goes on I'm sure that you will see them, but for them just starting, don't look for what you are accustomed to three years ago. Give them time and I am sure that they will get into their groove," Walker-Brown said.