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As Dominique Bond-Flasza made the trek from the halfway line to the penalty spot, she knew what was at stake: convert this spot-kick and Jamaica go to their maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The prize was great, the pressure enormous. But the 22-year-old had ice in her veins as she confidently stepped up and coolly slotted past Panama goalkeeper Yenith Bailey to clinch bronze at October’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship for the Reggae Girlz, and with it, a coveted place at France 2019. It was a moment, though, the no-nonsense defender felt amply prepared for.
“Before that game, we practiced the full walk-up from the midway line to the penalty spot before taking penalty kicks just in case it came down to it,” said Bond-Flasza, in conversation with FIFA.com. “There’s a sense of ease when you know you’re prepared for a moment, so walking up to the spot I felt confident in myself to make that shot.
“It was an indescribable feeling helping Jamaica qualify for a Women’s World Cup for the first time,” she continued. “Going back to that moment, our goalkeeper Nicole [McClure] had saved two penalties and it took the pressure off the shooters.”
As the Reggae Girlz rejoiced on the pitch in Frisco, Texas, so too did their compatriots around the world. From the country’s Prime Minister to Olympic legend Usain Bolt, Jamaicans took to social media to share in the moment and pass on their congratulations.