Trinidad and Tobago’s National Under 15 Girls Team head coach Marlon Charles is pushing on with the preparation of his team ahead of their opening game of the CONCACAF Under 15 Girls Championship against the United States on August 9th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney in Orlando.
T&T will join twenty two other nations at the tournament which is designed to encourage development as well as promote competitiveness and fair play among the teams.
Charles currently has a squad of forty players, including six from Tobago in training for over a month now with sessions taking place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and double sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, all at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar.
T&T have been grouped with the US, Mexico, Haiti and Dominican Republic.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for these young women. This is the kind of games required from now in their youthful stage that will do the girls a world of good,” Charles told TTFA Media on Saturday.
“It will teach them a lot about competitiveness and the game at an international level and they will get that experience first hand from very early. These teams such as USA and Mexico have a structured program which we can learn from and I am excited about that,” Charles added.
“Of course we will be going there to compete as best as we can but there are a lot of benefits we can look forward to in this tournament.”
Charles complimented the efforts of the TTFA and his team staff in trying to get the team up to scratch before the competition.
“I think the effort right now is good. We are getting the opportunity to train at Larry Gomes on a proper surface which is good for us. We were a bit late in starting but we are not going to make excuses. This is all about the team and the players right now. Jinelle (James) and they are doing the best they can right now to get the team prepared,” Charles said.
Charles, who has also coached T&T at the senior level, added that he would be preparing his players mentally for the challenge of facing the US and Mexico in their first international outing.
“My approach at this time is to not talk about their first game being against the USA. We don’t want to have a mindset of fear from now. We are focusing on our basics and our preparations. These girls have a lot to learn about the game and we are trying to ensure they stay focused on continue enjoying what they are doing,” said Charles who has Desiree Sarjeant and Joanne-Daniel as his assistants with Ricarda Nelson as the team manager. The goalkeeper coach is Glennon Foncette.
Meantime, United States U-15 Girls Head Coach Mark Carr also spoke of his team’s excitement ahead of the competition.
“We are excited about this incredible opportunity to complete against the top opponents from the CONCACAF region along with Venezuela.
“This competition gives us the chance to showcase what we have learned in the first 18 months of this U-15 Girls’ National Team cycle and it will highlight where we are as a group and also where we need to improve before entering the U-17 World Cup cycle.”
T&T finished third at the Championship in 2014, defeating Honduras on penalties.
Teams will be divided into three groups of five teams and two groups of four teams. All of the group winners, plus the second place teams from the five-team groups, will advance to the quarterfinals.
Canada is the defending champion, after defeating Haiti 4-1 in penalties, in the title match of the 2014 edition, played in the Cayman Islands.
CFU (16): Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Santa Lucia, St Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, US Virgin Islands
UNCAF (3): Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua
North America (3): Canada, Mexico, United States
CONMEBOL (1): Venezuela