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U-20s for Mexico camp ahead of Concacaf finals
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Former Queen’s Royal College standout and national Under-20 captain Duane Muckette and Jerren Nixon Jr, the son of former national striker Jerren Nixon, are two of seven players based in the USA set to join the national youth team squad in preparations for next month’s Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Jamaica.

The team coached by ex-national defender and senior team assistant coach Derek King will have a local live-in camp from December 9-15 ahead of their departure for Mexico for another camp from Deecmber 16-23 and then a third and final camp from December 27-January 4 in Tobago.

A day later, the team will depart for the 12-team Concacaf Championship to be staged from January 9-24, next year.

The young Soca Warriors, who captured the Caribbean Football Union Under-20 title on home soil in September via a 3-0 win over Haiti have been grouped with host Jamaica, USA, Panama, Guatemala and Aruba

T&T will open against host Jamaica at the National Stadium in Kingston on January 9 followed by matches against Aruba (January 11), Guatemala (January 14) and Panama (January 18) before ending round-robin play against USA three days later.

The National Stadium in Kingston and the Montego Bay Sports Complex will each play host to Group A matches, while the latter venue hosts all the action in Group B, and the final phase on January 24.

Group B comprises Mexico, the two-time defending Concacaf Under-20 champions; Cuba, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti and and the end of the tournament four teams will qualify to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. Mexico are two-time defending Concacaf Under-20 champions, having claimed the title in Puebla, Mexico in 2013 and in Guatemala City in 2011.

The top team from each group after round-robin play advances to the World Cup, and the second and third place nations from each group advance to the final day knockout phase, with the chance to dispute one of a pair of play-in matches which will determine Concacaf's other two World Cup spots.

Speaking yesterday, King said he was looking forward to having Muckette back after his injury spell along with the other players inclusive of Switzerland-born Jerren Nixon Jr, the son of former prolific national striker Jerren Nixon and Kathy-Ann Nixon.

Prior to the CFU Under-20 tournament, Muckette suffered a torn MCL while in training with the University of South Florida, and has since recoverd while the younger Nixon, who is attached to US Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union’s Academy, was born in Swizterland while his father plied his trade with top club FC Zurich during the

The other overseas-based players called into the camp include midfielder Andre Fortune, goalkeeper Johan Welch of Houston Dynamo Juniors and former Fatima College duo, Brendon Creed and Leland Archer, all of whom were part of the Under-17 team which came within one win of qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup held last year in United Arab Emirates.

With regards to the finalisation of the team’s training over the Christmas holidays, King said, “This afternoon (yesterday) I am having a meeting with William Wallace and Anthony Harford to map out our plans for the camps.

“For the fist camp in T&T we are expecting all the overseas guys to be with us and then we will select a group of players to take to the camp in Mexico from December 16 to 23 during which time we are set face the Mexico Under-20 team twice and a top Mexican club as well.”

Following the camp is Mexico, the players will have three days off to spend with their familes before regrouping on December 27 for another camp in Tobago until January 5, their departure for Jamaica.

Asked how he intends to get the local players available from their clubs, King a former coach of the now defunct Joe Public which he led to five titles in one season said he will be communicating with the locals clubs to which the players are attached too.

“We know its asking a lot of the clubs, but we are hoping that they see the benifits of it for the players as well as T&T as team,” ended King.

Other teams who have already stepped up their preparations are Canada and USA who are involved in camps in Europe while Guatemala recently a camp at is Project Goal Facilities in Guatemala City.

Groups

Group A: T&T, Panama, Jamaica, Aruba, United States and Guatemala.
Group B: Mexico, Cuba, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti.

Fixtures

January 9 (Jamaica National Stadium).

Aruba vs Panama, 3pm
USA vs Guatemala, 5.30pm
Jamaica vs T&T, 8pm

January 10 (Montego Bay)

Mexico vs Cuba, 3pm
Honduras vs El Salvador, 5.30pm
Haiti vs Canada, 8pm

January 11

T&T vs Aruba, 3pm
Panama vs USA, 5.30pm
Jamaica vs Guatemala, 8pm

January 12

Canada vs Mexico, 3pm
Cuba vs Honduras, 5.30pm
El Salvador vs Haiti, 8pm

January 14

Guatemala vs T&T, 3pm
Aruba vs USA, 5.30pm
Jamaica vs Panama, 8pm

January 15

El Salvador vs Canada, 3pm
Mexico vs Honduras, 5.30pm
Haiti vs Cuba, 8pm

January 18

Panama vs T&T, 3pm
Guatemala vs Aruba, 5.30pm
Jamaica vs USA, 8pm

January 19

Cuba vs Canada, 3pm
El Salvador vs Mexico, 5.30pm
Haiti vs Honduras, 8pm

January 21

Panama vs Guatemala, 3pm
USA vs T&T, 5.30pm
Jamaica vs Aruba, 8pm

January 22

Cuba vs El Salvador, 3pm
Honduras vs Canada, 5.30pm
Haiti vs Mexico, 8pm

January 24

Second Play in Seed vs Third Play in Seed, 2pm
1st Play in Seed vs Fourth Play-in Seed, 5pm
1A vs 1B, 8pm