Hessing keeps Sunset glowing

For the past eight years, Sunset women’s football team has not had to worry about the position of goalkeeper – because Jovani Hessing has filled it superbly. 

There are few decent women keepers at any level of football, so for Sunset to have Cayman’s best stopper for so long is a blessing for them. 

Hessing gave a typical brilliant performance last week in the Charity Shield 2-1 victory over Scholars International, saving a penalty for good measure to confirm her reputation. 

She has been women’s keeper of the year three times since 2010 – including last season – and is the preferred choice for the national team. 

Beating Scholars was pleasing for Hessing. “This represented the first opportunity for us to win a trophy, so the win was indeed a great way to open the 2015-16 season,” she said. 

The highlights of the game for Hessing were her penalty save and “the two great goals from Martha Hall.” 

Hessing has been playing for 13 years, and considering most of that time has been with the all-conquering Sunset, she has “too many highlights to name.” 

Despite numerous bruises and injuries from playing in goal, the passion and love she has for the sport makes it all worthwhile. 

“Despite the knocks and the injuries, being able to hold the Premier League trophy, FA Cup or the President’s Cup at the end of the season, makes it that much more special and worthwhile,” Hessing said. 

She feels she still has some work to return to top form. “As with every season, I want to be able to stay healthy and injury-free so that I can contribute to the team’s success. 

“We ended last season as league champions, President’s Cup champs and runners up in the FA Cup. This season, having already secured the Charity Shield, we are aiming to defend our League title, President’s Cup title and to reclaim the FA Cup.” 

Hessing also manages to fit in Gaelic football and is returning to netball this season. Staying idle is not an option. “I have always loved sports and participated in some event or other from school days.” 

Throughout middle and high school she ran track and played netball. During college she attempted to take up long-distance running, which never quite materialized and she played flag football. 

After returning home from college Hessing took up football and has never stopped playing. 

The senior credit solutions manager in the offshore banking department of Scotiabank expects to do “very well this season. Although we will have strong competition from the other teams in the league, but we are definitely up for the challenge.” 

The reputation of the Cayman Islands Football Association has taken a battering in recent months, but Hessing is not perturbed. “Football will never die here in Cayman. There is, however, significant potential for its development to continue, especially in women’s football.” 

She added that Sunset’s success in recent years would not have been possible without the dedication and unwavering belief in the team “from our superb coaching staff.” 

She singles out coaches Alan Purvis, Trevor Murphy and Danny Tatum for their expertise at motivating the side and coaxing out the best from players. 

“They always stand behind us as a united front and represent the team’s heart and soul,” she said. 

“They constantly remind us of the one quality that separates our team from the others – that of resilience. 

“This was evident in the Charity Shield as the team really had to dig deep to find that resilience we needed to get us over the winning line.” 

Hessing added, “My teammates are truly the best. We get along great as a team both on and off the field. This really goes a far way to our team’s success as well.” 

She has been women’s keeper of the year three times since 2010 – including last season – and is the preferred choice for the national team. 

Jovani Hessing is Cayman
Jovani Hessing is Cayman’s top keeper. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD