Acadia student Taylor Grant is playing for Jamaica at the CONCACAF championship, running Jan. 9-19 in the Cayman Islands. – Eric Cederberg photo
An Acadia soccer player is getting the chance to play on an international stage - and hopes to compete at the highest level.
Taylor Grant, a second-year keeper with the Axewomen soccer team, is looking at a fairly demanding month of January as she competes for Jamaica at the CONCACAF championship, running Jan. 9-19 in the Cayman Islands.
Grant, a native of Brampton, ON, is able to compete for Jamaica because she holds dual citizenship. Her father is Jamaican and she applied for citizenship after Jamaican soccer officials showed interest in her soccer abilities.
Grant attended a training camp for the Jamaican U-20 team leading up to the championship tournament, from which the top three finishers will qualify for the U-20 World Cup being hosted by Canada this summer.
Grant is thrilled to play in the qualifying tournament, and to hopefully have the opportunity to compete at the World Cup.
“This is the biggest tournament I have played in,” she told Eric Cederberg of Acadia Varsity Athletics. “Jamaica U-20 has played in CONCACAF before, but this is the only tournament with an extra spot to qualify. This is our best chance at the World Cup.”
Grant has played for Jamaica since she was 17. In 2012, she took part in all the Caribbean rounds, the Caribbean championship in the Dominican Republic and the 2012 CONCACAF qualifier in Panama.
The level of play she has and will experience will be invaluable for her to bring back to the Axewomen, who placed second overall in the Atlantic conference in 2013.
Grant backed up fourth-year starting keeper Carrie Wood, a second-team all-conference player, this past season. Axewomen head coach Amit Batra describes her as “a great addition to Acadia. Taylor is an excellent athlete with uncanny reflexes that allow her to stop shots that otherwise seem destined for the net.”
Grant, Batra says, is “an important part of the culture of competition we’ve created at Acadia, and amongst our goalkeeping core. She raised the bar from the first day she stepped on the field.
“Through her compete level and effort in practice, she makes everyone better, and she continues to do that. This is a great opportunity for Taylor and the Jamaican football federation. I know the Axewomen are all really excited for her.”
Team Jamaica kicked off the CONCACAF tournament Jan. 9 against Guatemala, a game that ended in a scoreless draw.