Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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U-17 Soca Princesses meet USA in Concacaf opener
T&T’s Under-17 Soca Warriors will resume their quest for a second ever Fifa World Cup Finals appearance when they meet powerhouse USA in the feature match of a Group B Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship double-header at Catherine Hall Stadium, Montego Bay Sports Complex, Jamaica from 6 pm, today.
Two hours earlier, the two other teams in the pool, Guatemala and Canada do battle at the same venue ahead of their remaining matches tomorrow and Sunday to conclude round-robin play.
Despite being the underdogs, the Marlon Charles-coached Soca Princesses enter the match against the USA, the 2008 U-17 World Cup runners-up, high on confidence after defeating host Haiti, 1-0 in the Caribbean Football Union Under-17 final in Port-au-Prince earlier this month.
Speaking ahead of the match Charles said he is also hoping his players will be provide a stubborn challenge for the Americans, who are two time Concacaf champions (2008 & 2012) in this age-group.
“We know it’s going to be a difficult assignment and some may say well it’s tough that we have to face the US in our opening game. But I actually think it’s not a bad thing that we are facing them this early in the competition,” Charles said.
“The girls are eager to get the game started. It’s a big challenge and an occasion by itself to face the United States and I expect that once we settle down early enough, we are not going to make life easy for them.
“Our approach will be based on the fact that we are here for a tournament in which two teams will advance to the World Cup. We will play smart and we will do our very best to bring our A-game on the day,” Charles added.
“When you look at our group, it also includes a giant in women’s football—Canada and Guatemala. We will take each game on its own merit.”
Prior to lifting the CFU title, the Soca Princesses defeated St Kitts/Nevis (7-0), Antigua & Barbuda (4-1) and US Virgin Islands (13-0) in their first round qualifiers in St Croix.
They then trounced Grenada (10-0) and whipped Dominican Republic 5-1 after losing for the first time to Bermuda 1-0 for second spot in the group ahead of a 4-1 semifinal win over Puerto Rico.
The size of the task facing T&T will be a huge one as the USA, which is making its fourth appearance in the tournament after qualifying automatically, has an all-time record of 14 wins and one draw in its previous 15 matches while scoring 93 goals with two against.
The Americans have also scored six goals or more in nine of 15 all-time matches in competition and have not allowed a goal in last 918 minutes of competition play.
Last night the tournament kicked off with Pool A play, involving Mexico and Haiti, and hosts Jamaica versus El Salvador.
The winners and runners up of the two groups will advance to the semi-finals from which the winners will secure the two spots to the tournament final and more importantly spots at the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica.
Already qualified is hosts Costa Rica as well as Asian trio Japan, Korea DPR and China, and South America’s Colombia, Venezuela and Paraguay. Three teams will also qualify from Europe and Africa and one from Oceania.
T&T U-17 women’s squad: Rebecca-Ann Almondoz, Tamara Johnson, Renee Mike, Natisha John, Amaya Ellis, Abashai Guy, Dennecia Prince, Summer Arjoon, Zoe Swift, Jahra Thomas, Eden Charles, Khaline Jacob, Chelsea Fredrick, Chevonne Johne, Corel Carmichael, kelsey Henry, Maya Matouk, Jasandra Joseph, Chelcy Ralph, Nicolette Craig.
Technical staff: Jinelle James (manager), Marlon Charles (coach), Joanne Curtis (assistant coach), Steve Frederick (goalkeeping coach), Sheldon Bridgemen (equipment manager), Allison Browne (physiotherapist), Kamasha Robertson (sports psychologist)
Concacaf U-17 final round groups:
Group A: Jamaica, Mexico, Haiti,
Group B: United States, Canada, Guatemala, T&T
Canada vs Guatemala, 4.30 pm (3.30 pm)
T&T vs United States, 7 pm (6 pm)
El Salvador vs Mexico, 4.30 pm (3.30 pm)
Jamaica vs Haiti, 7 pm (6 pm)
Canada vs T&T, 4.30 pm (3.30 pm)
United States vs Guatemala, 7 pm (6 pm)
Haiti vs El Salvador, 3.30 pm (3.30 pm)
Jamaica vs Mexico, 6 pm (6 pm)
Guatemala vs T&T, 3.30 pm (3.30 pm)
United States vs Canada, 6 pm (6 pm)
SF #1: Winner Group B vs Runner-up Group A, 3 pm (3 pm)
SF #2: Winner Group A vs Runner-up Group B, 6 pm (6 pm)
Third placed match & final
Loser SF #1 vs Loser SF#2, 3 pm (3 pm)
Winner SF #1 vs Winner SF#2, 6 pm (6 pm)
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