SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – Trans-Atlantic flights, early morning car rides, layovers in unfamiliar airports and jarring jet-lag. Such are the obstacles that some players have to overcome when playing for their national teams.
For members of the Montserrat National Team, it has become a routine, but instead of dreading trips that can take up to 31 hours to reach national team training camp, the players relish the opportunity to travel to represent Montserrat and follow the dream in the Concacaf Nations League.
“We don’t think of the traveling. For us, it is a reward to see new places, meet new players and have the chance to play for our country,” said Montserrat MF Massiah McDonald in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
McDonald was one of six players who traveled this week as a group from the United Kingdom to El Salvador where Montserrat will take on the Cuscatlecos in Group B of League B.
The journey started with McDonald driving a mini-bus from Leicester, England to London’s Heathrow Airport, where the players took a flight to Madrid, Spain, before connecting for another flight to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, before eventually arriving to San Salvador.
“These Nations League games are a wonderful opportunity for players like myself to show their abilities. It is a great platform to play at a high level. The game in El Salvador, for many of us that will be the game of our careers to play in front of 50,000 people. It’s a great learning experience and we’ll be able to tell our kids and grandkids about it,” said McDonald.
McDonald made his Montserrat debut in 2015 and every time he returns home to the islands, he sees improvement in all aspects.
“I think Montserrat has come a long way. Everything has improved, the kit, accommodations, training conditions, everything. And everyone in this squad is humble, everyone shows each other respect. There is an incredible bond here and everyone is passionate about playing for Montserrat,” said McDonald.
Montserrat was certainly one of the sensations during CNL Qualifying. The Emerald Boys won three of four matches and narrowly missed out on a berth in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, finishing 11th in the CNLQ table.
But there is renewed hope that they can fulfill the dream of their countrymen and qualify for the 2021 edition, either by winning Group A or via the Gold Cup qualifiers. There’s no doubt that it would spark a celebration for the ages on the island.
“I can’t even put it into words. For Montserrat to make the Gold Cup, it would mean a lot to Montserrat and I think it would mean a lot to other small Caribbean teams. It can help inspire others. We’re here not to just participate; we’re here to win now and we believe we can do it,” concluded McDonald.