Buckley dominating rivals in JWPL
After seven rounds of games in the Jamaica Women’s Premier League (JWPL), just over 200 goals have already been scored, with 17-year-old Excelsior student Shaniel Buckley responsible for 19 of those goals so far. She is currently the league’s leading scorer.
On Saturday, Buckley scored twice and set up a couple of goals for Frazsiers Whip FC, who beat Royal Lakes 9-0 in the JWPL encounter at Royal Lakes sports complex.
Off the field, Buckley has been described as shy and quiet, but on the field, the pint-sized attacker is a goalscoring and creating machine, who continues to dominate even seasoned defenders in the women’s game locally.
Blessed with pace to burn, the Portmore resident acquired her skills from a tender age while learning the sport from her footballing uncle.
“My uncle, Andre (LA) Lewis, and some other family members taught me how to play the game on our verandah, and from I was young and learned to kick the ball, I just loved to play football,” said Buckley.
Such is Buckley’s talent, the former national under-15 and under-17 player was invited to the senior women’s camp held recently, and according to the business student, the experience was a nerve-wracking but fruitful one.”
“I was very nervous at first being around the senior Reggae Girls,” she said. After a short time with them, however, her confidence improved.
Young Buckley doesn’t spend a lot of time watching football, but she named Argentina’s World Cup star Lionel Messi as her international idol.
Buckley’s coach, Xavier Gilbert, had nothing but praise, saying that the 17-year-old is a very exciting utility player.
“She reminds me of a former national player, Shakira Duncan, in terms of her pace and quick feet. She is very good on the ball, and right now, as young as she is, I want her personality to come out more and get outside of the box and be more confident in her ability,” said Gilbert.
Buckley’s uncle, Andre Lewis, currently plays in the United States Soccer League with Hartford Athletic, and young Buckley is hoping to one day follow in his footsteps.
“I would love to play in the United States or even Europe one day and maybe go on to big things,” added Buckley.