2023's World Cup Has a Cinderella Team

Women's team from Jamaica knocks Brazil out of Women's World Cup, advances to next round
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 10:45 AM CDT
2023's Soccer Underdogs: 'Reggae Girlz'
Jamaica's Deneisha Blackwood and Jamaica's Tiernny Wiltshire celebrate after drawing a 0-0 tie during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Jamaica and Brazil in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023.   (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)

It's been a tough battle to keep the Jamaican women's soccer team funded and functional over the years, but on Wednesday, all of those efforts paid off as the players knocked Brazil out of the Women's World Cup tournament with a 0-0 draw, advancing to the next knuckle-biting round and stunning spectators with their underdog run. CBS News reports on the "remarkable success story" of the so-called Reggae Girlz, players who have endured despite long struggling to get the funding they need to keep competing.

"We've been hugely underestimated," goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer said after the match, per Loop Jamaica News, which reports this will be the first time the team is heading to the knockout stages of the tournament. CBS notes the players have fought "tooth and nail" to bring in enough money to sustain themselves, after the Jamaica Football Federation disbanded the team twice—in 2008 and 2016. The team has been able to get back on its feet in the past thanks to help from various sources, including a crowdfunding initiative set up by one of the players' moms that has raised more than $60,000.

Cedella Marley, Bob Marley's daughter, has also been instrumental in helping the team, even producing a song to raise money and offering sponsorship through the Bob Marley Foundation. Despite all of the turmoil behind the scenes, the team and Jamaica at large is reveling in Wednesday's big win, which the nation's sports minister called "undoubtedly the proudest moment so far in Jamaica's football history," per the AP. "History is being made right in front of our eyes," the JFF gushed on Twitter (now known as X), adding that it had "literal tears in our eyes as we post this!" (More women's soccer stories.)

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