Camille Nurse’s first visit to Jamaica was unexpected. While scouting players of Jamaican heritage in the Greater Toronto Area last August, technical co-ordinator of that country’s women’s soccer program Vin Blaine was impressed with Nurse who is a midfielder with Dixie Athletics.
After discussions with her club coach and parents, Nurse agreed to represent Jamaica in last month’s Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Under-17 championship in Montego Bay.
Jamaica shut out El Salvador 2-0 and Haiti 3-0 but lost to Canada 5-0 and the United States 8-0 in the play-off for third place.
“It was quite an experience,” said Nurse who is a Grade 10 student at Cawthra Park Secondary School. “Being in a new environment was different and interesting, but the Jamaican-based players were very accommodating and helpful and they made me feel at home.”
Nurse’s only playing time was a 66th minute substitute in the Haitian contest.
“My time on the field was limited, but I was happy for the opportunity to play at a high level,” she said. “I was also grateful for the family support while I was there.”
Her Jamaican-born mother, psychologist Dr. Andrea Myrie-Nurse, was there for the first week and her Barbadian-born father watched the second week of action. Her aunt, Wolmer’s Alumni Association Toronto chapter president Jennifer De Four attended a few matches while her grandfather watched the entire tournament.
Nurse was one of three Canadians of Jamaican heritage who represented Jamaica in the regional championship. The others were defender Cachet Lue and forward Jorja Hughes.
“I know both girls because we have the same trainer, so it was good to have them on the team,” said Nurse who enjoys writing short stories and aspires to be a psychologist.
She was a member of the Dixie team that won the Ontario Cup Under-18 championship last summer.
Meanwhile, the province will launch a pilot semi-professional men’s development league with a core group of players not exceeding 23 years of age.
It’s anticipated that the league will feature between 8 and 12 of Ontario’s best amateur and semi-professional teams who will compete from May to September next year.