In partnership with atHOME, adidas threw the Reggae Girlz their own parade during Notting Hill Carnival, celebrating the team’s historic World Cup run as the first Caribbean side to make it out of the Women’s World Cup group stage.
Notting Hill Carnival is one of Europe’s biggest celebrations of Caribbean culture, with millions of people making their way to West London each year for music, food and entertainment. The Reggae Girlz found themselves at the heart of the festival this year, celebrating Jamaica’s feats on a float decked out with exclusive DJ sets and exclusive merchandise.
Drew Spence, Vyan Sampson, Becky Spencer, and Jade Bailey brought their on-pitch energy to the parade, receiving the warm homecoming they deserve from fans and spectators alike.
VERSUS linked up with Sampson ahead of Carnival to chat the World Cup, homecoming, and the Caribbean diaspora’s biggest event. Sampson described home as the people you’re around, saying, “No matter where you go, tapping into the people around you, sharing energy – that’s home. Being comfortable no matter where you are with the people you’re surrounded by.”
There’s no better place to experience home, and the culture the players hold close to their hearts, than Carnival.
For many of the Reggae Girlz, this was their first time experiencing the festivities in years, with the weekend often conflicting with pre-season dates. When asked what her favourite part of Carnival is, Sampson said: “Being able to let loose and fully embrace the day. I’m a Jamaican, but I like soaking in all different types of culture. It’s all of those different cultures coming together in one day, in one space. That’s what I really love.”
Following their World Cup exit, the Reggae Girlz have continued to inspire the masses with their fairytale journey. In the past four years, Jamaica has made incredible progress, making it to consecutive World Cups and putting Caribbean football on the map.
When asked about the Reggae Girlz’ legacy after the tournament and the future of football, Sampson said: “To be honest, it’s people embracing the small islands, the Caribbean, and those of African descent. We’ve gone away to this tournament and we’ve shown what we’re capable of while bringing our usual characteristics – being fun, bubbly, and energetic people.
“I hope that the world welcomes us with open arms, welcomes us into more elite spaces and can hopefully make this a platform that we belong on and are on all the time.”
Take a closer look at what went down at Notting Hill Carnival below.