Deneisha "Den-Den" Blackwood
How did you get your nickname?
Den-den which is just the first 3 letters of my name x2 and its easier to say than Deneisha.
Where are you from in Jamaica?
I’m from Kingston, Jamaica to be more specific I’m from Telaviv
What hardships did you face in Jamaica?
The hardship that I faced in Jamaica was, have not being able to go to school nor training because my mother didn’t have the money to send me and so I wouldn’t go to school nor training sometimes. However, I didn’t let that stop me, whenever I would get the chance to go to school I would do by best and sometimes I saved my money so that if my mom couldn’t provide for me the next day I would have money to go to school either way.
When did you start playing football in Jamaica? Did you have a regular club you played for?
I started playing football when I was in high school at the age of 12. I played for Harbor View Football Club.
At what age were you approached/asked to play for the Jamaican National Team?
At the age of 12 a few months after I started playing, I was invited to play for the National team.
What was your “big break” to be offered a chance to play in the United States? What was the biggest thing to get used to after leaving Jamaica?
As I told the young reggae girlz, do what you do to the best of your ability because you may never know who is watching you. I use this example because my big break came from a situation like this. I never knew I could get the chance to go play overseas because I didn’t have anyone contacted me about playing overseas until when I was in 5th form. I got a phone call asking if I was interested in playing soccer in the United States on a full scholarship where I didn’t have to pay anything. At the time I didn’t give an answer, because I was so surprised and didn’t know what to say, so I went home and told my mom and she said I should take it. From that moment, I knew I had to take everything serious because that was a big break for me to go make my mom, myself and my country proud.
The biggest thing to get used to after leaving Jamaica was how to be on my own, meaning how to be more responsible and accountable. Adapting to the American way of life (school, people, food) was also a big thing for me.
Where would you like to see the money we raise go to?
Honestly, I would like to see the money raise be invested into an academy in Jamaica that will help build the kids from a younger age, so that when they grow older they would have a lot of experience and know a lot more both in soccer and school. I also would recommend we provide more practice games for the National team no matter what age group. This will help and give the kids experience playing experience.
What is your advice to the younger JA girls wanting to follow in your footsteps?
My advice to the younger reggae girlz is that never take anything for granted. No matter what you do — do it to the best of your ability because you may never know who’s watching you. Be on your best behavior, do your school work because education is very important and enjoy playing the sport you love the most.
I would like to say thank you to the sponsors and others that are trying to make football better for Jamaican young girls. One more thing I would say is that, what if your child/children was in the same position as these young girls — what would you have done to help them?