- 21-year-old Konya Plummer will captain Jamaica at France 2019
- The Reggae Girlz are competing in their first Women's World Cup
- Plummer pilots a "hard-working" group ready to surprise
Jamaica’s Konya Plummer will be one of the youngest captains in this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France™ at just 21 years old, after her country overcame the odds to become the first team from the Caribbean to qualify.
But don’t let that number mislead you into thinking she’s not up to the task. She has the respect of her team-mates, leads by example on the field and says her faith helps her to grasp the role.
“Just thinking about captaining my country at such a young age is crazy, but I believe I was chosen because of my personality and hard work – it’s what god wanted for me,” she said.
“I love people, I can be around people all day. I like positivity.”
That positivity contributed to Plummer’s desire to become a footballer when growing up in the Epsom area of Saint Mary, Jamaica, playing barefoot on the local fields with her cousins and friends – all of whom were boys.
She said that her toughness on the field came from playing football, cricket and other sports with those boys, because if she showed any sign of weakness, she would not be accepted.
“My aggressiveness came from being around them all the time, because when you play with boys you can either be strong or weak, and if you’re weak, they are not going to give you a game.
“I had to be strong to keep playing, because when I was 13, they would take my ball, and I’d have to sit and watch. But when I was 14 or 15, I was like, ‘I can’t sit and watch anymore,’ which is when I got fitter and stronger physically and mentally. You had to stand out for them to give you a game.”
It was during a match with the boys that she realised football was going to be her sport, despite almost choosing to take track and field more seriously, which was largely because she wasn’t aware of a football programme for women in Jamaica.
One day she was playing against her male friends and cousins, and pulled off a defensive play that left everyone’s jaw on the floor. It was that moment, she knew she was destined to play football.
“I was on the field and I [tackled] this boy, which created a lot of excitement. It was one of those moments where everyone just went ‘ooooh,’ and from that moment something in me just made me realise that this is what I want to do. From then on, I started making my own decisions, and I knew I made the right one.”
Plummer has taken that positive attitude into her footballing career, playing college football in the United States at Southeastern University – an experience, she said, that has given her a desire to play abroad again in the future, perhaps in Europe.
But currently she is concentrating on the next three months, and is focused on a tough World Cup group that contains Brazil, Australia and Italy.
She is under no illusions as to how tough the task will be, but with a “hard-working and honest” group of players, she is hopeful that her team can cause one or two surprises.
More than that, her team's presence in the tournament bears serious significance.
“Qualifying for the Women’s World Cup for the first time isn’t just important for Jamaica, but for the whole of the Caribbean," Plummer explained. "Every time I think about it, I just keep thinking, ‘You did that… We did that.’
“If people in Jamaica think you can go far, they support you. Listening to all my people when we are on the field, especially in the recent games we had against Chile, has been great and I feel like they are with us.
“We just want to do Jamaica and the Caribbean proud.”