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Senior women’s football team preparing for trip to Belize

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Plotting Belize downfall: Assistant coach Karl Roberts speaks to Bermuda women’s football team players at North Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Kenni Thompson is expected to play a prominent role for the Bermuda women’s football team in two international away friendly matches against Belize next week.

The Bournemouth winger made her long-awaited Bermuda debut against Dominican Republic at the end of last year, but the 23-year-old was deployed in a defensive role when Naquita Robinson’s side fell short in their quest to top their group in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup play-offs.

Thompson has been training on island with the squad for the past few weeks in preparation for the two fixtures against Belize in Belmopan on Friday and Sunday, and coach Robinson will be using her as an attacking threat.

Jahde Simmons takes a shot (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“A player of Kenni’s calibre is going to add to any team and she’s going to help the players to rise to her level,” Robinson said.

“She’s not gong to lower her standards and they’ll rise to her level, and a lot of them have done so.

“Kenni brings that next level to this team. She gets on well with the other girls and it’s like she’s been with us for years, so she’s definitely a great addition.

“In her debut we had her in a more defensive wing-back role, which was needed at the time. Now there is no doubt that she is going to be in our attacking line and she’s definitely going to play among the front three.

Karl Roberts, middle, gives instructions to Symira Lowe-Darrell and Khyla Brangman (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“The deepest I can think of is probably No 10, but we’re definitely not using her in a defensive role, unless we absolutely have to, which I don’t see because we've got enough defensive cover.”

Robinson, who has brought in Karl Roberts as her assistant, spoke of what it means to have more professional players such as Thompson, who are playing for Bermuda.

“Her professionalism shows out, but she also can be the respectful player,’’ Robinson said.

Micah Pond dives for the ball (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“She helps the girls with information and leads by example, her and Symira Lowe-Darrell have formed a nice partnership.

“It just bodes well for us because we have somebody like that in our ranks. We already have others like LeiLanni Nesbeth, Nia Christopher, Jaden Masters and Ashley Tutas, who are coming to add to this team.

“They are just continually growing as a unit, and I’m just like a proud mum because I've watched them grow.

“Kenni is another set of eyes for me as initially she was injured and just started training. She was on the side helping out and you’re never too old to learn, so having her as a part of the squad has just been a blessing.”

Thompson, who has been in Bermuda since the end of May, cannot wait to represent the island again.

Saony Trott chasing the ball (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“We’re all looking forward to those games and seeing just where we are,’’ Thompson said.

“We’ve had some practice matches here, but it’ll be good to have an actual test against another national team.

“We’ve seen a few clips of them here and there. Any player that’s representing any national team is a player of quality, so we’re going to be coming up against a good side.

“We want to play against good teams to test ourselves and test our ability as a team.

“I’ll be part of the team as long as coach Naquita wants me here. I’m looking forward to getting back on the big stage and showing the world what we’re about.

Kenni Thompson at Bermuda training session (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

Thompson has observed some great improvement in the side over the period they have been working together.

“It’s been good to be here with the team for the last two months,’’ she said.

“We've got a really good group here and a really hard-working ambitious team. We've improved so much in the last two months and it’s exciting where we’re going to be moving forward.”

Taznae Fubler, one of the senior players who will share a leadership role with captain Eva Frazzoni during the trip, is looking forward to a return to action.

“It’s exciting to be back because the majority of us have only been playing summer league, so our last official match was in December,’’ Fubler said.

“For us to be back as a national women’s team is exciting. It’s a great opportunity to be able to get out of the country and play against a foreign team; it’s a joy.

Kenni Thompson and Taznae Fubler (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“I think it’s going to be a good experience to get international friendly matches. We have some young players that are coming into the team so that is also a good look for us. I think we’re going to do great and we’re looking forward to going out there and have fun.

“The ultimate goal is to win but we’re looking for the things that we worked on. Some of these are playing out from the back, being composed on the ball, moving fast up the field, transitioning and speed of play.

“Our coaches, Naquita Robinson and Karl Roberts, have been working on transitioning and how fast we can we move from defence to attack.

“The preparation has been really great. We've been training at least four times a week. We played a lot of Futsal indoors at Mount Saint Agnes College and we also had some practice matches against the boys teams and girls teams.”

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Published July 05, 2024 at 7:58 am (Updated July 05, 2024 at 7:38 am)

Senior women’s football team preparing for trip to Belize

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