Introducing Sydney Cummings: Guyana’s Lady Jags player and Celtic FC Women

she signed for Scottish football giants Celtic FC women.

Before going to Celtic, Cummings’s talent was first displayed in a Guyana shirt in April 2022, when she scored both of the Lady Jags’ goals in the 2-2 CONCACAF championship draw versus Trinidad and Tobago.

Sydney Cummings at Celtic (Celtic FC Media)

The 24-year-old, who first appeared for the Lady Jags as a 19-year old in 2018, spoke about her Guyanese upbringing, football foundations and current professional journey.

“My dad is from Georgetown and from age four he got me in soccer. I have two older brothers and my dad threw us into every sport when we were younger.”

Cummings continued: “However, I was comfortable playing soccer with a close group of friends I had growing up with, then by age nine I started playing soccer competitively. At age 14 I made the personal decision to take soccer seriously in college.”

Cummings played college football at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) system at Brown University in Rhode Island, which is one of the eight Ivy League sports schools.

She further explained how her first connections to the Lady Jags occurred and recent Celtic FC Women’s move: “When I was finishing my freshman year at Brown, my coach received an email asking if anyone at the school had Guyanese heritage. I never saw the email so I’m not 100% sure, although I’m pretty sure they were looking for me directly.”

“That first experience was very special. It was wonderful to connect with my Guyanese family and something me and my dad share.”

Cummings continued: “Playing in Europe has always been on my radar, especially in the United Kingdom (UK). Celtic was one of those clubs that was on my mind passively and in the USA Celtic is one of those British clubs that is always spoken about highly, so coming here was simply, wow. The facilities and the fans are incredible.”

Sydney Cummings (#5) and Canada based winger Shanice Alfred

Historically, no Golden Jaguars or Lady Jags has played at a bigger club than Cummings currently while simultaneously representing Guyana.

Men’s players, the Cort brothers- Leon and Carl- and Neil Danns played for Newcastle United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace before representing Guyana.

Cummings is also the third Caribbean player to represent one of the two famous Scottish clubs, Celtic and Rangers.

Trinidad’s Soca Warriors duo of midfielder Russell Latapy represented Rangers and goal-keeper Tony Warner Celtic, briefly.

“Hearing those things is very rewarding and humbling considering the sacrifices I and all female footballers put in to play this game that we love”, said Cummings.

“I may be the one that goes around and kicks the ball which is all great, but there are so many other people who played a role and I’m here because of them.”

The Men’s and Women’s Jaguars have had a large diaspora player influx over the last 15 years. The women more than men starting with Canadian heritage ladies that propelled the programme during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers in Mexico.

Today, the Lady Jags diaspora includes USA and UK-based players.

Both teams have had to deal with chatter in the Guyanese football community regarding “foreign” players’ presence in the squad – but the women have faced it more acutely and Cummings gave her thoughts on the matter.

“Kayla (De Souza) one time got very emotional about it saying yes I wasn’t born in Guyana, but if it wasn’t for this country I wouldn’t exist. So I think that is the mentality all of us have.”

Cummings continued: “We feel that extra responsibility of playing for Guyana. At the end of the day I can get on a flight and go back to the USA – so the point is always about what do you leave behind and all of us understand the legacy aspect.

“My second response would be this is not what we want it to be. If I could give all my resources to help the Guyanese based players to get better accessibility, more of a platform, improved facilities – I would and I’m suspecting this is what maybe people who make those comments in Guyana don’t respectfully understand.

“When we speak to the GFF, we are fighting and want the Guyana born and based player to have better accessibility to the national team. So it’s not about me, I can play football anywhere else – but we come and play to hopefully inspire young girls in the country”, Cummings concluded.

(Colin Benjamin served as GFF Communications Officer during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. He has also served Cricket West Indies, Canada Soccer & W Connection FC Trinidad)