It may have been the end of the tournament for Trinidad & Tobago, but head coach Jason Spence is hoping that a new wave of growth in the women’s game in his country is just beginning.
T&T bowed out of the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship (CU20W) at the group stage after a 6-1 loss to Jamaica on Tuesday, but for Spence – managing at his first confederation-level event -- there was much to take away and use going forward.
“I’ve been getting a lot of experience from the exposure with what other teams are doing,” said the 44-year-old. “I can bring this back to my federation and hopefully we’ll be able to bring it all together, to keep the teams together and start preparing for the next cycle.”
There have been some promising signs at the senior level with Trinidad, which finished fourth in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship to reach a playoff against Ecuador for a place in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The South Americans won that two-game series, 1-0, taking the second leg on the road by the same score, before 23,000 fans at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
In the aftermath, the team has continued to get games against quality opponents like the current Women’s World Cup champion United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico.
Tournaments such as the CU20W provide young players with experience against teams that may be just a step or two ahead in their development. Spence is hoping the youth sides can play friendlies against high-level competition as part of the perpetual learning process. He also feels that this will allow the teams more time together as a group, which would aid them in the tactical, physical and mental elements of the game.
“It’s very important for us,” he expressed. “I think we are a country that has been blessed with raw talent. The game has evolved and has gotten a lot more physical. It’s about concentration and discipline and that is a side that I think in my country I think we have to invest a little more in to make sure that when we reach this level, we don’t continue to just coming just third or fourth and being eliminated.”