Excelsior’s Lewis hopes to emulate Reggae Girl ‘Bunny’
What she lacks in size, she certainly makes up in fight and determination. That truism applies to Excelsior High School's starting left back Devonae Lewis, who is on the cusp of helping them lift the ISSA/Tip Friendly Society schoolgirls' football trophy.
Lewis credits an older brother, Lavaughn, for her undying love of football, which she confides, helps to ease the stress from schoolwork, while also admitting idolising Brazilian playmaker Neymar.
"Football means a lot to me, as I look to my idols Neymar and big brother for inspiration. My older brother was the one who actually got me started playing football, so it's important to me because due to school stress, football is my peace of mind, and I enjoy playing the sport," Lewis stated.
The lanky 16-year-old, who started playing football at 11 years old and played for Jamaica at the under-14 and under-15 age-group levels, revealed that she loves playing the left-back position but would fancy her chances at being a striker in the future.
"I play left back on the field. I really enjoy that position. My coach was the one who asked me to play left-back, but from the first time he asked me to play the position, I started to realise that I love that role. I would love to play as a striker to get some goals in the back of the net, but, for now, left back is okay," said a laughing Lewis.
She hinted that her dream would be to don the black, green and gold of Jamaica at the senior level and emulate Reggae Girlz striker Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw. Lewis opined that Shaw's efforts must be praised as she believes women's football is not being highlighted, which Shaw is doing on a worldwide platform.
"Yes, I would love to play for my country, this is my country, and this is where I'm from, so I would want to play for the country. I also admire Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw because she's an inspiration to Jamaica, she has reached so far in women's football, which isn't really recognised enough, but through her skills and efforts, it's getting recognition," said Lewis, whose twin sister Dejaunae, also plays schoolgirls' football for St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS).
As for Excelsior's final coming up against Holmwood Technical, Lewis said the aim is to defend what is theirs.
"To win, we are defending champions, so we are going there to defend our title," Lewis said.
The Xavier Gilbert-coached Excelsior eked out a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Garvey Maceo in the semifinal of the schoolgirls' competition yesterday at the Ashenheim Stadium. They will meet Holmwood on Monday at Stadium East in the final starting at 3:15 p.m.