Debut goal the start for Kameron Simmonds
From aspiring gymnast to promising attacker for the national senior women’s team. The journey of Reggae Girl Kameron Simmonds has been one of diligent hard work and embarking on her own path in football, one that her father Gregory is adamant will...
From aspiring gymnast to promising attacker for the national senior women’s team.
The journey of Reggae Girl Kameron Simmonds has been one of diligent hard work and embarking on her own path in football, one that her father Gregory is adamant will have her positioned for the women’s programme in the short and long term.
The recently concluded Cup of Nations tournament was a landmark one for the 19-year-old who not only got her first international start against the Czech Republic last Saturday, but her first senior international goal in a 3-2 defeat as the battle for places on the FIFA Women’s World Cup roster intensified.
The goal was not just the culmination of the work she put in since getting her first senior call-up last September but a moment cherished by her family where football is very much the family business.
“I wanted to achieve a lot with Jamaica but didn’t get the opportunity,” Gregory told The Gleaner. “When she was in consideration (for the senior team) after the Under-20 Concacaf Championships, we stepped up training even harder, and I got her mindset ready. I was in Atlantic City (New Jersey) with my twin boys that were playing at a tournament. It was one or two in the morning at the hotel ,and when she scored I probably woke up the whole hotel. I went crazy. My wife was screaming. It was a very proud moment, and I know how hard she worked for that one moment.”
The Simmonds family has football engrained in them, with Gregory’s father, Patrick, representing Jamaica on the national level as well as Gregory’s own career as a professional, with the majority of his club career spent in the United States. Kameron’s younger brother Nicholas was a member of the Under-17 squad at the recently concluded Under-17 Concacaf Championships. While Gregory Simmonds took to the game immediately, Kameron’s journey wasn’t as straightforward, with gymnastics being her first passion.
“I never pushed her at all. Kameron was more of a gymnas. She didn’t start playing until she was 12. She stopped doing gymnastics because she fractured her elbow. She wasn’t interested in football until that time, and she said, ‘All lright. I want to play’. And that is how she started,” Gregory recalled. “I started to see some things in her that were natural. Even though she was raw, even though she couldn’t even juggle, there were just some tendencies in her game that I was, like, no, there is something special here.”
Once her intentions were made clear on how far she wanted to take her game, she came through the ranks of her club team, and Gregory assisted her with extra training knowing the demands necessary to reach that level while balancing her academic responsibilities.
“By the time she was 13, 14, I knew that she had the tools. Because it’s your mental ability. I know I have the footballing tools to get them to get to that level, but the mindset is what separates the young players,” Gregory said.
Donaldson indicated how impressed he was with the young players who performed at the tournament and had previously stated that they would have to be exceptional to earn a place ahead of the veterans for the World Cup this summer. Taking nothing for granted, Gregory knows that the experience is just the start for Kameron, with more work required to make that dream a reality.
“It is actually surreal to be going through this emotional feeling, but we are humble people and we know that this is just the start,” Gregory said. “She has to put in a lot more hours again to even make the team, to get better. The journey has just started, and there is a lot more ahead.”