T&T’s 17-year-old starting goalkeeper Linfah Jones shatters every stereotype in the book. A native of Newlands, Guayaguayare, she isn’t over six feet tall but don’t be fooled, it takes quite a lot to get past this petite powerhouse.
Q How did you get involved in football?
About three years ago, my cousin Shurlana (who I did everything with) and I decided to join a football team called Mayaro Spurs that was looking for girls who were interested in playing. I played midfield but one game I was thrown into the goal probably because of how energetic I was. Mr Arnold Murphy recommended that I try out for the national team.
How have your teammates treated you since the announcement that you will be first goal keeper?
Well my team-mates treat me the same but they are just as relived as me that the coaches see the passion and heart that I bring to the game.
What has the preparation been like?
The preparation has been a gruesome task with trying to balance all factors of my life with football coming second only to school. The hours on the road didn’t give way to much studying or sleeping. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did. But I am learning valuable life skills
Who do you look up to?
This might sound a bit cliche but my mom. It was just my mom and my grandmother. I am a very demanding kid and so is my brother and taking a step back and observing how she juggles work with supporting fully both my brother and me. Its just a bit breathtaking to see such a young mother so strong and mature. I think she is who they are talking about when they say, ‘that is woman!’ And every time I play, I do it for her and my country.
You are pretty short for a goalkeeper, not the typical six feet tall, Do you receive shocked looks from people when you tell them what position you play?
Yeah, obviously. I’ve just grown accustomed to it but when they see me play they know why...
Do you miss your family, how do you cope with the time away from home?
Of course I miss my family I’ve never spent this much time away from them ever and although it’s really hard I’m here to be part of something that is bigger than life and I know I have their support even if I get a million silly goals... But this is an opportunity to represent my country and I will do it proudly.
How do you feel to represent this country?
Honestly this wasn’t one of my dreams. I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be on my nation’s football team let alone be in a World cup but now I’m so proud to represent Trinidad and Tobago and knowing that I have the country on my back inspires me to work harder because it’s not my goal it’s my country’s and I’ll be damned if the defenders and myself don’t protect it with our lives.
How does your family feel about your new role?
My family have always supported me in all my endeavours. It’s nothing new... My brother actually looks up to me now. When did you learn you would be part of the team, and what was your initial reaction? I was very pleased and very happy that my hard work paid off.
Will you be intimidated by the bigger teams?
Of course not. Being a smaller person I’ve never been intimidated by bigger. At the end of the day it’s 11vs 11 and who wants it more will win. I doesn’t matter if it’s Drogba or Messi who is shooting on me I’m gonna make a hell of an attempt to save it.
What is your favourite food?
What are your hobbies?
You mean besides sleeping? I like the beach whether it’s just looking out or floating in it feeling weightless this is my bliss.
What do you want to tell the fans?:
Come out and support us, help us make T&T proud, we promise to make it worth your while
Will T&T make it to the next round:
Of course! I have no doubt in my mind. I have faith in my teammates. It’s a partnership and once we can attack together and defend together there is no chance that we can’t win this World Cup.