Montserrat is a Caribbean island situated in the sub region of North America, called the West Indies. The fantastic journey of its national soccer team shows how much the sport has evolved and fills the nation with hope.
The ‘Emerald Boys’, as they’re known due to the fame of Montserrat as ‘The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean’ in part due to the former large population of people with Irish heritage, have remarkably progressed in soccer. Here we will take a deeper view into their origins and development.
Montserrat national soccer team’s first steps
Being one of the youngest national teams in international soccer, Montserrat’s maiden senior match was in 1991 in the Caribbean Cup, the first tournament to host the Emerald Boys.
They continued to make their way in this sport, and in 1994, the Montserrat Football Association was created, giving a stronger structure to the soccer activity on the island and becoming a member of CONCACAF as well.
That was a huge step for Montserrat’s soccer, but there were more to come after that. In 1995, they played at home for the first time and won. Sadly, that year a natural disaster halted the development the national team was going through.
Reborn from the ashes of the Soufrière Hills
The Soufrière Hills are an active stratovolcano at the south of the island of Montserrat that was dormant until 1995. The eruptions that started that year had a devastating effect on the island as they destroyed Plymouth, the capital city of the island at that moment, and forced almost two-thirds of the people to evacuate.
This had an impact on soccer activity as well, of course. It caused a hiatus that lasted for about four years, but anyways, in 1996 the Montserrat Football Association joined to the FIFA as a new member.
Montserrat’s integration to FIFA
The circumstances regarding the volcano situation did not allow the Emerald Boys to fight for a place in the 1998 World Cup that took place in France, but they did take part in the Qualifiers for the next one.
The World Cup Qualification for the 2002 Korea-Japan main event was the first campaign in which Montserrat were involved. They later played a friendly match that kicked off the same day as that World Cup’s final.
The famous ‘Other Final’
The 30 of June of 2002 was an important date of the year, as the World Cup final between Brazil and Germany took place. However, that same day there was another match that despite being less relevant it turned into a remembered event.
‘The Other Final’ between the two-lowest ranked teams on that year’s FIFA ranking, Montserrat and Bhutan, kicked off just hours before the world champions were decided. That game was an idea conceived by Johan Kramer, a Dutch filmmaker, whose documentary film turned this clash into a famous one. However, from that moment on, Montserrat’s path would take a much more promising direction, and greater results were to come.
The first win since joining the FIFA
The Emerald Boys participated once again in the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers, and played for the first time at their new venue ‘Blakes Estates Stadium’. Years later, they also competed in the qualification for South Africa 2010.
However, a much more significant result was about to come in 2012. That year, Montserrat’s growth led them to achieve a historic result. In a qualifying match for the Caribbean Championship, the Emerald Boys put on a breathtaking performance and comfortably defeated the British Virgin Islands by an impressive 7-0 margin. That was their first triumph since joining the FIFA and showed just how far they were progressing.
The new beginning with the Concacaf Nations League
Montserrat’s development path had an amazing boost with the arrival of an experienced manager and after the inception of the Concacaf Nations League. The appointment of William Donachie was a great call. He has plenty of knowledge from his remarkable playing career.
Two World Cups with Scotland’s national squad and teams such as Manchester City, Norwich City, Burnley, Oldham Athletic, and Portland Timbers feature in his interesting résumé.
In the Qualifying for the first edition of the Concacaf Nations League, Montserrat had an impressive performance as they won three out of four games. The Emerald Boys got into the League ‘B’, the second of the three tiers of the tournament, and almost clinched a spot in the Concacaf Gold Cup 2019. In the group stage of the competition, they finished second, keeping their place in League B.
Montserrat’s new uniforms by BOL, another huge step
It is clear how much the Montserrat National Team has grown so far. It has come a long way so far and there are even higher goals ahead. BOL joined them in this inspiring journey to provide the Emerald Boys their special jerseys, which represents them to perfection.
This means a great step forward for Montserrat, as BOL can make possible an exciting opportunity for everyone on the island. That’s because, among the several incentives that the contract has for the development of the Montserrat Football Association, the most important one is that BOL has promised to give each of the 4,900 inhabitants of the island a free game jersey when Montserrat qualifies for the FIFA World Cup, Men’s or Women’s.
Moreover, BOL will become the first sports brand that will sell their uniforms anywhere in the world through their website, bolfootball.com. Find out more about BOL in their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Like an Emerald that needs to go through a process before becoming a jewel, the Montserrat National Team is in a path of continuing progress leading to a bright future. BOL gets involved to encourage this rise and to make possible the opportunity for the region.