Mexsport photo of Nicole McClure on left and Dominique Bond-Flasza, who scored the winning penalty kick, after qualifying for the Women’s World Cup
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
October 23, 2018-A 28-year-old woman who lives in Jamaica, Queens helped lead the island of Jamaica to qualify for the Women’s World Cup final, becoming the first Caribbean nation ever to do so. Nicole McClure is eligible to play for the Reggae Girlz as both her parents are Jamaican.
In the CONCACAF Women’s Championships, Nicole played one game in the group stage, a 9-0 shutout of Cuba. In the third-place match last Wednesday against Panama with the winner automatically qualifying for the Women’s World Cup, the score was knotted at 2-2 in the 120th minute when Nicole was brought on for the shootout, replacing current UNC Wilmington goalkeeper Sydney Schneider in goal. Nicole saved penalty kicks from Panama's Lineth Cedeno and Kenia Rangel while Jamaica converted all four of their shots to send the Reggae Girlz to the Women’s World Cup.
Nicole commented, ”The feeling is indescribable. I am incredibly honored and humbled by all of this. It's truly a dream come true and such a surreal feeling. It hits me in spurts as to what I did for my country. It's amazing!”
She grew up playing in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) for the Auburndale Strikers from 1998 to 2003 and the East Meadow Shooting Stars from 2003 to ’07. With the Shooting Stars, she won the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) Girls-Under-15 State Open Cup final in 2005. Nicole also played for Eastern New York’s Olympic Development Program (ODP).
After playing and studying at the University of Hawaii and the University of South Florida, Nicole has travelled around the world as a professional soccer player. There have been stops in Iceland (UMF Selfoss in 2012 and HK-Vikingur in 2013), Switzerland (FC Neunkirch in 2013), Norway (Klepp Elite in 2015), Israel (Ramat Hasharon in 2015-16), France (ETG Ambilly in 2016-17), Croatia (Split in 2017) plus Sweden (Ostersunds DFF in 2014 and her current club team, Sundsvall DFF).
Nicole flew back to Sweden last Thursday for her Saturday game. When she walked into the locker room Friday, her teammates applauded and surprised her with a cake adorned with the Jamaica flag that read, “Congratulations, Nicole” in Swedish with Bob Marley music blasting.
“It was a really cool cake,” Nicole said. “It was really, really sweet.”
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with nine leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.