Editor’s note: The Proud of Them initiative recognises the positive achievements of people ages 10 to 25. Through a public nomination process, individuals are honoured in the categories of academics, careers, business, sports, culture or community service. Each person selected will be featured for six months at a time on billboards established across the Cayman Islands, and will also receive a certificate. It is hoped that this recognition programme will encourage young people to continue to strive for higher attainment, while inspiring others to do the same.
Known for her contribution to woman’s football in the Cayman Islands, 21-year-old Shenel Gall has certainly raised the bar in that sport.
“What keeps me on track is that I always remind myself of my goals, my aims and what I want in life,” Ms Gall said.
She began playing at the tender age of 9, and from then knew that she had found her calling. Ms Gall would even play in the boys leagues. After some years, she obtained a scholarship to attend Darton College in Atlanta, Georgia where she earned an associate’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting.
Making the Cayman Islands national women’s team, Ms Gall made her first international appearance in Turks and Caicos at age 14. Two years later, she took part in the Olympic heats where she scored her first international goal against Haiti.
At the conclusion of this milestone tournament, and as a result of tireless hours of training, Ms Gall made history in the Cayman Islands in March 2012 when she became the first Caymanian female to sign a professional contract with FC Indiana. Just a few short months later, she received an offer to play with a football team in Zurich, Switzerland – FC Neunkirch.
Ever since she put on her first pair of football cleats, Ms Gall has received many awards both locally and abroad. She has won recognition as “Most Valuable Player”, “Golden Boot”, “Rookie of the Year” and leading goal scorer.
She said her biggest moment was, “helping my club reach the first division in Switzerland. It had been a long, challenging year, with many ups and downs, but somehow I managed to stay focused and accomplish my goal – to play in the Swiss first division.”
Accomplishments aside, Ms Gall is also admired for her kind spirit. During her breaks, she volunteers at summer football camps where she shares her skills and experience as a professional football player. She also gives motivational talks to young girls who dream of one day following in her footsteps.
Ms Gall is described as an outstanding, dedicated leader, who possesses fine sportsmanship, integrity and thoughtfulness. She credits much of her success to coaches including a host of family and friends.
Upon receiving news of her recognition by the “Proud of Them” campaign, she said, “To hear I was being awarded was both surprising and gratifying.”
Her advice to other young persons interested in following her footsteps is, “always keep your head up. It’s not easy setting goals and achieving them. You have to be focused, stay positive, and keep driving forward towards your goals.”
Outlining her future plans, Ms Gall intends to return to the Swiss league and pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting.