When Vera Pauw announced Ireland’s World Cup squad back in June, the absence of one name sent shockwaves through WNT supporters around the country- Jamie Finn.
Not only did she play in six of Ireland’s nine qualification games, she also started in their infamous playoff win over Scotland, and proved herself on countless occasions to be a player that was capable of playing a number of positions.
A dream come true. We are going to a WORLD CUP ! I’m so proud to represent Ireland 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/R3O4pyyW7j
— Jamie Finn (@jamiefinn_) October 13, 2022
Speaking at an FAI media day yesterday, she explained that that moment was “the toughest moment” in her career, and maybe even in her life.
“It wasn’t a great time at all. It was a shock for me, to be honest,” she says.
“It was a very sad moment, even for my family, it wasn’t nice… it was difficult and I think I took a few days to process it, even though can you process it in a few days? Probably not, probably now to this day I still think about it.”
“Professionalism is so important for me as well as a person to be that way. I think in life some things just don't go your way and yeah I think it’s so important to try and see the positive sides to it. At the time I probably wasn’t seeing that but people around me were saying listen, ‘if you potentially get to another World Cup or euros you have that experience,” she added.
What spoke volumes though was the way in which Finn reacted to her exclusion, combined with the way the public did too.
Instead of pointing out her warranted upset with the “unforeseen circumstance”, she instead took to social media to emphasise her support for the team and that she is always grateful for the “biggest honour” it is to represent Ireland.
— Jamie Finn (@jamiefinn_) June 28, 2023
Fans then also responded in all sorts of fashions, but a major realisation out of the incident is just how frequently her jersey can now be seen dotted around the place at any Ireland game.
“Even during what happened [exclusion from the World Cup squad], there was a lot of support for me. It was so nice to see at the time,” she says.
“Obviously, you can go back to your family and they could be a bit biased. But it’s nice to see people you don’t know have that support for you. Even seeing people at the games that you don’t know with ‘ Jamie Finn 17’ on the back. It’s amazing.
“For people that don’t know you to say all these things about you and to say, ‘you should have been in the squad’ - it was difficult to see that but also, I took light in that situation, that people are thinking of me like that.”
— Birmingham City Women (@BCFCWomen) October 8, 2023
Jamie Finn on the blueprint for an elite mindset
Above all, Jamie Finn’s mindset helped her prevail at that time and to this day.
Instead of remaining quiet on the topic, she’s chosen to speak out in the hope that it may help someone else.
“I think to be honest with you it’s so important to talk about like…would you say failures in times in your career that don’t go your way.
“I think it’s so important to talk about that and say listen this happens, how do you deal with it and stuff like that. It's so important to get that out there because it's so easy to talk about the positives, winning and getting on teams. For younger kids growing up, what if you don’t make the team? What do you do from there? So I think it’s so important to talk about it and to make it a conversation.”
Wearing this jersey means so much💚☘️ pic.twitter.com/HKPWX79q5m
— Jamie Finn (@jamiefinn_) September 27, 2023
The entire ordeal has made her reshape her own perspective, both on what it means to play for Ireland and also on the duality of the highs and lows of life.
“I think maybe I’ve learned as well you can only control what you can control, but also that’s a hard kind of thing to understand as well because you want this so bad and you know you done everything possible, on and off the pitch, everything, in camp, away from camp, and for that not to go your way is such a difficult thing to comprehend, she says.
“It’ll take time to get over, but I think you need to look forward. Look that did happen and as I said you have to speak about it you have to talk about it or otherwise yeah, it won’t help you.”
For now though, she’s gearing up for the Irish WNT’s double header with Albania, and is aiming they once again come away top of their Nations League group come the close of the international window.
“Going back to playing for Ireland is such a proud moment for me and my family. I think obviously what happened really ramped that up, even though I don’t think it could be ramped up like everyone knows that about me,” she says.
“Ultimately, it’s about playing for your country, and having that pride and passion to go out to war for your country and for your teammates. I think that’s what being Irish is, and I think everyone in this team knows that. To play for Ireland is one of the greatest things ever, really.”
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) October 18, 2023