National coaches excited about return of women’s league
Naquita Robinson, the women’s national coach was as pleased to see the return of the Women’s League last week as she was to witness the comeback of one player in particular, Dominique Richardson, whose career was halted by knee injuries five years ago at just 24-years-old.
At the time Richardson was being lined up by Robinson to captain Bermuda in Caribbean Football Union qualifiers later in 2017, but in February of that year she announced her retirement because of knee problems which required three surgeries. All the injuries, she revealed at the time, came through football, though the sport gave her something else, a scholarship at Barry University in Miami.
After the setback, Richardson turned her attention to her first love netball and three months later captained the Bermuda team that competed in the Netball Europe Invitational in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Robinson and Aaron Denkins, who coached the under-17 women’s team in the Dominican Republic recently, were on hand to watch the return of the Women’s League, with Robinson expressing that she was impressed with Richardson’s performance in midfield for Footy Queens as she captained them to a 4-1 win over Dandy Stars in the night’s second match.
Robinson hasn’t ruled out Richardson, at the age of 28, being a part of the national team again.
“Dominique was definitely a standout player, as she has always been,” Robinson said in reference to her first game back. “I’m not sure she officially retired, well I hope not anyway.
“She was next in line to lead the national team but was unfortunately unavailable. She is still one that we rate highly and is always welcome to be a part of the process.
“You could see in Friday’s match her ability to read and control the game, a very intelligent player. Her work rate was also outstanding.”
Robinson added: “There’s a lot of football on the horizon and we will need numbers. Concacaf have added games to the women’s calendar, something us smaller nations have never had.
“Some exciting times and we hope players will be willing to be a part of this process.”
Denkins sees a lot of positives coming out of the return of the Women’s League, as a good size crowd came out to support the women.
“For me it’s important that the women’s game be reinstated, we’ve been competing for a decade now internationally without an established women’s league and we’ve been doing okay in tournaments,” Denkins noted.
“In some tournaments we’ve been punching above our weight with a small pool and small group of people, so it’s nice that the league gets started so that other players can get a look in and an opportunity.
“And players who may not have been looked at before may have an opportunity to catch the coaches’ eye, so it was important that this league gets up and running. Just to have a competitive league now makes more people eligible for international selection.”
Denkins, the coach of Dandy Town who was recently voted Coach of the Year, said he enjoyed the atmosphere at the games and is looking for more of the same as the league continues this summer.
“It was nice to see the crowd that was out and that can’t be understated, it was a wonderful atmosphere for football,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to watching every game.”
Last week’s opening matches at the Clyde Best Centre of Excellence produced 18 goals as PHC hammered a Young Men’s Social Club team that could only field nine players 8-0, while Footy Queens beat Dandy Stars 4-1 in the other match.
Today, another double-header will see Young Men’s Social Club playing Dandy Stars at 6.30pm and PHC taking on Somerset at 8.00pm.
“It is still too early to have any expectations as the players will need time to gel,” Robinson warned. “We certainly discussed some standout performances and are looking forward to the next few weeks.
“The teams will need to get a few matches under their belts and look to play how the coaches want them to play. We obviously know most of the players but there were a few surprises.
“I didn’t get to see much of the first match but saw the second match in its entirety.”