Lady Jags ‘keeper’ Nedd secures Graceland University scholarship
THE Guyana Football Federation (GFF) along with The International Supporters Group (ISG) is proud to announce the first female football player in Guyana’s history to be signed to a scholarship at an American University.Natalie Nedd, goalkeeper for the Senior Women’s Football team, commonly known as the ‘Lady Jags’, started school at Graceland University, which competed in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), on August 27.Nedd was recruited by the school as part of a programme established by the GFF and ISG to identify and promote national team players for scholarship opportunities in the USA and Canada.In an invited comment, president of the GFF, Wayne Forde, said providing development opportunities for footballers to pursue education and football ambitions is part of the mandate of the Executive Committee.“My constitutional mandate is to develop football but my moral calling is to create an environment where the beautiful game can enrich the lives of every man, woman, and child. That is the full measure of my service to the football community.The executive committee is determined to create scholarship opportunities across the world that will give our players access to world class education, along with solid professional football development experiences.My best wishes and prayers go out to Natalie; make us proud,” Forde said.“This is a very important first for the women’s programme and Natalie is a great representative for the programme; we will be following her progress closely,” said Technical Director Ian Greenwood.For his part, Paul Beresford, GFF’s International Team Coordinator, who went to Iowa for Natalie’s signing ceremony and first college match said this is a start of a long-term process to achieve development within Guyana.“This has been part of the vision of the GFF current leadership and the ISG. The partnership is a strong one that I know will benefit not only the players but the country as these players give back to Guyana using the knowledge gained from the education afforded to them through these scholarships. We want to make Guyana a primary destination for college coaches to recruit players going forward.”Head coach of the ‘Lady Jags’ Dr Ivan Joseph said having players consistently training and playing is a key strategic element of the national programme.Meanwhile, head coach of Graceland University, who recruited and signed Nedd to her four-year scholarship and was instrumental in working through the challenges she faced during the college application process, expressed his thoughts on Natalie’s arrival.“We at Graceland University are excited and proud to partner with the Guyana Football Federation and the International Supporters Group to provide a pathway for Guyanese student/athletes to receive a quality education and a fantastic football experience in the USA. Natalie Nedd is the first recipient and she is a fine choice. Natalie ticks all of the boxes we are looking for.She is a quality person with great habits and work ethic. I have no doubt that Natalie will succeed in the classroom and on the pitch. I am grateful for the work that Paul Beresford and the Guyana Football Federation are doing to make this opportunity possible.”The GFF said they are aiming to welcome more colleges into the programme and are looking forward to the impact it will have on Guyanese footballers as well as the country as these student athletes return to Guyana to repay the investment the federation and the footballing community have made in their education and career.