Quillan Roberts, who in 2013 was the recipient of a Harry Jerome Award for excellence in sport, recently made his international soccer debut for Canada’s senior men’s team in a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico in a friendly international.
“I am so honoured to have made my debut tonight,” the 20-year-old goalkeeper, who replaced Milan Borjan in the 84th minute, wrote on Twitter after the contest.
The son of Guyanese and Jamaican immigrants, Roberts – who graduated from Heart Lake Secondary School in Brampton – is on the Toronto FC roster. He made his debut for the local club in July 2012 as a second half substitute in a mid-season friendly against English club Liverpool at Rogers Centre. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
At the 2011 International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, Roberts made history by becoming the first goalkeeper to score a goal in a FIFA tournament.
With Canada trailing England 2-1 with about three minutes left in regulation time in their group match, Roberts’ clearing kick from close to centre field skidded high off the wet outfield over the head of stunned English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
And, Jamaican Princess Brown is the only on-field official from the English-speaking Caribbean selected for the seventh FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada this summer.
She is one of 44 assistant referees named in addition to the 29 referees that will carry whistles during the 24-team tournament in six Canadian cities from June 6 to July 5.
Brown was an assistant referee in last year’s Under-17 World Cup in Costa Rica.
The list of referees includes three Africans. They are Gladys Lengwe of Zambia, Ethiopia’s Lidya Tafesse and Therese Neguel-Damgoua of Cameroon.
Last October, 36-year-old Lengwe became the first female referee from Zambia to officiate in an African Women’s championship contest. She officiated in the final between Nigeria and Cameroon in Namibia.
An international referee since 2007, Neguel-Damgoua, 33, officiated at the last FIFA World Cup in Germany and the 2012 Olympics in London.
FIFA has implemented a comprehensive program to ensure that the World Cup officials are in peak condition.
Just as it did for the 24 participating teams, the road to the World Cup began for an initial group of referees and assistant referees from all over the world in September 2012 when FIFA created a female refereeing project.
The referees selected for the tournament in Canada have been chosen based on their personality and ability to read the game and grasp teams’ tactical approaches.
Between now and the start of the World Cup, the selected group of match officials will participate in seminars in Zurich from April 18 to 24 and Vancouver 10 days later. The selected referees and assistant referees will be observed and monitored regularly during this period.