Lady Jags striker Annalisa Vincent secures scholarship to Graceland University

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GT Panthers forward Annalisa Vincent will make history as the first indigenous Guyanese female player to study at a US college on a four-year scholarship, which has been facilitated by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) International Supporters Group (ISG) and the GFF administration.

Vincent, a full international and Most Valuable Player at the recently concluded GFF-Guyana National Women’s Football Association Women’s Super 16 Festival 2021, will follow in the footsteps of Lady Jags goalkeeper Natalie Nedd, who was the first player to benefit from the GFF ISG-enabled programme.

Vincent, who hails from Moruca in Region One, will study for an undergraduate degree in accounting at Graceland University in Iowa, United States, while also representing the Graceland Yellowjackets female soccer team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“I am grateful for the opportunity. It’s exciting for me as a lot of work has been put into this and it’s finally here,” Vincent said. “For me, it’s a new journey. I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the ISG, the GFF and everyone who played a part in making this possible for me.”

GFF ISG President Rebecca Vaughan said one of the primary goals of the ISG was to provide “higher education opportunities for women footballers in Guyana”.

“The hard work by the ISG team has been recognised and validated by securing a four-year scholarship opportunity for Annalisa to attend Graceland University in Iowa,” Vaughan said.

“Annalisa, an outstanding member of the Guyana Senior Women’s National Team, will be furthering her education in accounting while playing football for the college.”

“The ISG has established relationships with colleges in the United States and is currently coordinating with deserving young women from Guyana, who are interested in furthering their education through sport,” she continued. “The ISG would like to engage members of the business community within the diaspora in partnerships, along with the GFF, to support these deserving young women.”

Rising star Vincent scored her first international goal for the senior Lady Jags team in a friendly against Puerto Rico in 2021. GFF President Wayne Forde said he had been extremely impressed with her consistently outstanding form, professional mindset and commitment at both club and national level in recent years.

“I would like to congratulate Annalisa for preparing for this moment. When opportunity meets a person who is prepared, the result is success,” said Forde.

“I am so proud of Annalisa’s performances on the field of play and I have no doubt she will excel in her studies at Graceland University. The GFF, under my administration, has always emphasised the importance of education and we hope to see the numbers grow in this programme. This is a historic moment for the GFF, women’s football and our hinterland communities in which Annalisa will become the first female indigenous player to attend college in the US under a scholarship.”

GFF Director of Women’s Programme Paul Beresford said Vincent had “demonstrated an unwavering commitment to becoming a better footballer and a fierce determination to further her education”.

“With this next important step in her life, Annalisa has proven that hard work and perseverance will be rewarded,” Beresford said.

“She is a history maker and I am confident that she will represent her family, the indigenous community, and the Guyana Senior Women’s National Team well as she begins her college career. Her example will serve as an inspiration to all young women footballers across Guyana.”

Vincent would be a “pioneer for future indigenous student athletes to realise their full potential”, according to Graceland University Women’s Soccer Programme Head Coach Ozzie White.

“Graceland University Women’s Soccer Programme is delighted and excited to continue the relationship with the Guyana Football Federation and announce the signing of Annalisa Vincent to the team,” White said. “Annalisa is the first female indigenous footballer to ever receive a four-year scholarship to a college in the United States. She has natural ability and so much undiscovered potential that I can’t wait to start working with Annalisa. She will succeed in the classroom and on the pitch.”

GNWFA President Andrea Johnson also congratulated Vincent on her achievements.

“This is truly an auspicious moment, not only for Annalisa, but for her parents and community,” Johnson said.

“With Annalisa being the first Amerindian female player to receive a sports scholarship in the US, I would say this is undoubtedly amazing. I know that she will do her best at Graceland University. On behalf of the executive of the Guyana National Women’s Football Association, I extend congratulations to Annalisa.” (GFF)

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