Fiji flyer takes off on Pacific odyssey
Trina Davis is currently Oceania’s leading scorer in France 2019 qualifying
The American-raised teenager is still at school
One ticket to France 2019 on offer later this month in the Pacific
To say the last few months have been a whirlwind for Trina Davis would be a massive understatement.
Imagine being in your final year of school and not only playing in World Cup qualifiers, but scoring numerous important goals on the international stage.
A few months back, the 17-year-old was just another school student hoping to excel academically and score as many goals as possible for her local club and school teams in Washington state.
Then out of the blue came an unexpected opportunity. Before she knew it, Davis was travelling to the birthplace of her mother, Fiji, to represent the nation in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ qualifiers.
Such was the speed of events Davis initially thought she had been selected to represent the Oceania nation’s U-17 team.
“I had no idea what was in store,” Davis told FIFA.com. “It was very exciting, and a little bit overwhelming.”
Fiji coach Marika Rodu was impressed by what she saw of the jet-heeled striker, who aside from being a renowned local sprint champion, has racked up a huge volume of goals at club level.
Far from just making up the numbers, Davis stepped into the unknown and made an immediate impact.
Four goals in three outings helped Fiji top the preliminary qualifiers on home soil a few months ago, with the Melanesians now set to compete in just their second OFC Women’s Nations Cup in 20 years.
The culture shock of shifting between USA’s Pacific Northwest and the casual air of island life quickly abated. “I didn’t think I would score as many goals as I did, so that boosted my confidence.”
Now Davis and her new team-mates will line up later this month as the continent’s sole ticket to France 2019, and the 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, goes on the line.
Trina Davis (Fiji Forward)
Fiji's Trina Davis
Fiji's Trina Davis
Trina Davis at the OFC Women's Nations Cup qualifying tournament
Trina Davis at the OFC Women's Nations Cup qualifying tournament (Pic courtesy OFC via Phototek)
A sort of homecoming Davis has lived in Washington her whole life, and aside from the football, the teenager is enjoying the rare opportunity to become immersed in Fijian culture.
“Mum (Vikashni) and I practised the Fiji national anthem a few times before I left,” Davis said. “I don’t know any of the language and that is a huge part.
“I really liked Fiji. Everyone was super nice and welcoming and made me feel like I was at home.
“I don’t understand Hindi or Fijian. It was hard when everyone spoke that, but they were fun though, and funny.
“Mum is super excited that I’m playing for Fiji. I just wish she was there though in August, with it being her country.”
Fiji won August’s preliminary qualifiers with two wins and a draw. Since then Fiji have secured two wins against fellow France 2019 aspirants Samoa. But having been drawn against holders New Zealand in Group B, they face a massive task in the upcoming continental championship.
“I have been doing a lot of extra work and training,” Davis adds. “My strength and conditioning coach has been helping me, and working on my endurance too.
“I know it will be a harder level of competition, especially when we play New Zealand. If we were to make it to the World Cup I would miss my high school graduation.”
Playing in a World Cup would certainly be one of the more improbable reasons to miss a graduation. For now though Trina Davis is simply enjoying the ride.
2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup 18 November–1 December, New Caledonia
Group A: New Caledonia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti Group B: Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand