Christian surprised’ to be given armband
The offer caught Marley Christian by surprise, but the American-born defender immediately accepted the captaincy of the Bermuda women’s team for the Concacaf Championship qualifiers in Guyana this week.
Christian also had the chance to play for Jamaica, her father’s birthplace, but opted for Bermuda where she holds citizenship through her mother, the former Donna Raynor of Somerset. It is a decision she has not regretted since first playing for the under-20 team.
“I did an interview of SportsMax and coach [Naquita] Robinson saw the interview, e-mailed me and asked ‘are you available to play in this tournament? we have one coming up. I know you have Bermudian citizenship?’, said Christian, who was born in Washington DC and recently graduated from Howard University.
“I was like ‘let’s go, I’m ready’ and came down,” she said. “My first tournament [under-20s] was my senior year in high school when I was 17 in Turks and Caicos when we won the first round.
“At the time I was contacted by both Jamaica and Bermuda and it made realistic sense [to play for Bermuda] as I’m already a citizen of Bermuda. I took advantage of the opportunity and have no regrets, I absolutely love playing for this country and with this team.
“I’m really excited to be captaining this squad and hoping to do the same thing again, not just make it to the second round but also win that one, too.”
Christian was offered the captaincy by Robinson during a training session on Friday at the BFA Field where they played a practice match against the under-17s who are also preparing for an overseas tournament. The senior team departs today for Guyana.
“I told coach Robinson I was surprised, to be honest I wasn’t expecting it,” said the 21-year-old of the captaincy offer. “But I’m truly honoured and excited and it will be a great experience.”
Robinson was happy that Christian accepted and is convinced she will be a good leader of the team. “Marley had an opportunity to play for Jamaica and Bermuda and choose Bermuda,” the coach said.
“She recently graduated from Howard Academy where she was a very influential player. Marley is mentally strong and has the ability to remain focused which allows her to make the correct decisions at pivotal points during a game.
“She is an effective communicator and will be the perfect link between the players and coaches. She is self-confident and will instil confidence in her team-mates.”
Christian is soon to begin working at Global accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers and the fact that they have an office in Bermuda has not gone unnoticed by Christian, who lives in Maryland.
“Maybe I can get the opportunity to come back down here and work for a little bit and continue to play,” she said. “It is definitely something I will consider.
“I have some experience with some of the girls from previous tours and I’m excited about them having some new players and seeing how they work with us.
“I came here this week for practice and it has been getting better every day. It will be exciting to see how we progress through this tournament.”
Bermuda play their first match on Wednesday against the hosts before taking on Barbados two days later.
Their final group E match is against Suriname next Sunday when the winners of the group will advance to the Caribbean final round to be played in late August.
“Coach Robinson stated in her interview that we’ve got one of the easiest groups and I hope we can take advantage of it,” Christian said.
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