Source: Eric Cederberg, Acadia SportsInfo

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Balancing sport and academics is never an easytask for any student-athlete in a university setting. For some, ademand beyond the classroom or campus is in addition to theirresponsibilities of attending Acadia. For Brampton, Ont. nativeTaylor Grant, the month of January is just that – demanding.

A daughter of a Jamaican father, Taylor applied for citizenshipto the tiny Caribbean country after they had showed interest in hersoccer abilities years ago.

The second year keeper for the Axewomen soccer team is not oncampus in early January, instead she is completing a training campwith the women’s under 20 Team Jamaica. The Jamaican team of whichTaylor is a keeper, will take part in the CONCACAF Championshipfrom January 9 to the 19th in the Cayman Islands.

The top three teams to come out of the CONCACAF tournament willqualify for the World Cup being hosted by Canada this comingsummer.

Host Cayman Islands — seeded into Group B — will open againstMexico, while defending champion United States – seeded intoGroup A – kicks off against Central American foe CostaRica. Jamaica and Guatemala initiate the tournament onJanuary 9, while Trinidad & Tobago and Honduras round out GroupB, which begins play the following day.

The two groups of four teams will participate in round-robinplay over the competition’s first six match days. The top twoteams from each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, January17. The semifinal winners will contest the final, as well asqualify directly for the U-20 Women’s World Cup. The winnerof the third-place match also earns a coveted ticket to theevent.

Taylor is thrilled with this great opportunity to compete in theWorld Cup hosted by Canada. “This is the biggest tournament I haveplayed in. Jamaica U20 has played in CONCACAF before, but this isthe only tournament that there is an extra spot to qualify in. Thisis our best chance at the World Cup”.

This is not the first time that Grant has played for Jamaica. “Ihave played for Jamaica since I was seventeen. I have played in allof the Caribbean rounds, and played for Jamaica in the CaribbeanChampionship of 2012 in Dominican Republic and the CONCACAFqualifying round in Panama”

Grant’s experience this round could pay off for the Axewomenwith possible World Cup experience to bring back to Acadia whofinished second in the AUS championship tournament this pastseason.

Acadia Head Coach Amit Batra is thrilled along with Taylor’steammates. “Taylor has been a great addition to Acadia – sheis an excellent athlete with uncanny reflexes that allow her tostop shots that otherwise seemed destined for the net. She’san important part of the culture of competition we’ve created atAcadia and amongst our goalkeeping core”, points out Batra. Adding,”She raised the bar from the first day she stepped on our fieldthrough her compete level and effort in practice which resulted ineveryone getting better and she continues to do that. This isa huge opportunity for Taylor and the Jamaican football federationand I know the Axewomen are really excited for her”.

Best of luck to Taylor and Team Jamaica as they take onGuatemala tonight at 7:00 pm (AST).