As rare as an occurrence as it is to make it to the world’s mecca of football, what more to the FIFA World Cup’s round of 16? Jamaica’s second appearance on the world stage is etched in history, surpassing football juggernauts as the first Caribbean nation to succeed in the group stages—though it wouldn’t be possible without some assistance from home.
According to People.com, the team looked to last-minute fundraisers to assist with tournament costs, one of which was organized by a Jamaican midfielder parent, Sandra Phillips-Brower, through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign. The cause has totaled over $60k with over 1,300 donations, covering a portion of the national roster’s airfare and food expenses.
“If I can somehow make this journey smoother for them—and let them focus on what they’d love to do is play soccer—they shouldn’t be worried about the politics or getting a flight or getting accommodation,” she told the Associated Press last month. “They should be able to go there and do what they qualified to do, just play soccer.”
Braving the troubling eighth-ranked Brazilian squad, Jamaica finished the final fixture of Group B through a nil-nil stalemate—advancing based on a one-point differential from their previous tourneys. The self-proclaimed “Reggae Girlz” shared a warm embrace come the final whistle, looking to their next match-up with the victor of Group H (Colombia, Germany, or Morocco).