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Trinidad and Tobago Women's U-17 Head Coach looks on during a Concacaf Women's U-17 Championship match against Nicaragua on Monday, April 25th at Estadio Olímpico Félix Sánchez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
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With Trinidad and Tobago losing its two opening matches at the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship to Panama and Nicaragua, head coach Jason Spence provided his reactions to the team’s showing so far.

T&T close off their Group play against leader Mexico on Wednesday. T&T are in the cellar placed position without a point so far. T&T’s only goal has come off the boot of Breana Smith in the 5-1 loss to Panama.

1. How would you sum up the two matches so far?

The first two games have allowed us to really assess and measure what level our female youth football is at the moment. Definitely right now we need to focus on inserting ourselves as a top team in the Caribbean and then move on to the Concacaf level.

2. You opted to make a few changes to the starting team for the second match. Can you explain the reason based on what you observed in the first match?

The changes were primarily made as a result of injuries which were sustained in the game against Panama. I am guided by my medical team and would do what is best for the health of the players. Some were ruled out entirely and some were advised to only play a certain amount of minutes.

3. What are you hoping for going into the third game vs Mexico.

We are definitely hoping for a more resilient performance. We have discussed it at our session this morning and made a couple adjustments, we will certainly be doing our best as we take the field to represent our country.

4. What have you discovered thus far about our team and the possible gap that exists?

A lot has been observed this far. Of which I can write an essay. However to summarize:

Our players are very enthusiastic and want to learn and do well.

This tournament has allowed them to experience what is required physically, technically and tactically at the international level.

I must mention that this group of players is special and I firmly believe that this is the group who will bring smiles back to our faces in youth women’s football  in the next 2-4 years , they have big hearts and really want to do well. This though would require keeping the team together  In training consistently year round. They need stability.

This group of players came from a core group born out of the NLCB elite program in 2017 which played under Coach Marlon Charles in the 2019 tournament at home, they need to stay together after this tournament in training and developing.

A good start would be for the team to play in the upcoming WoLF tournament. Finally, while we are in these tournaments I make it my business to have conversations with the staff of the other teams, for me it is important to find out what they are doing so I can properly understand their advancement.

In summary it’s all about consistent year-round programs.

While the world faced the pandemic, and we lost 2 years in T&T, a lot of the other countries restarted their programs over 14-16 months ago while we really only started at the beginning of the year, (3 months) that has definitely shown up a lot in our level.

While the current chronological age of our players are 15/16, their development stopped at ages 13/14.

For us the coaching staff who are working with the players, we have seen them learn and grow in the past 3 months. However 3 months vs 12-14 months is a huge difference for preparation.

The good thing is in the composition of our current team at the tournament, we have 8 players who are 15 years old, and back home we have 10 players who are 13/14, this augurs well for youth women football.

Looking ahead we will have the same players working together for the next 4 years, 2 more U17s and 2 more U20 tournaments.

As I conclude,  I implore T&T to Keep rallying around the team and give them the positive support they need and deserve.

RELATED NEWS

T&T's U-17 girls target Mexico upset to stay alive.
T&T Guardian Reports.


T&T’s Under-17 Women Warriors will need to pull off a huge upset in their final Group E match against Mexico on Wednesday at the Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from 7 pm if they are to have any chance of qualifying to the round-of-16.

As it stands, the Jason Spence-coached T&T is bottom of their four-team round-robin pool without a point after losing to Panama (5-1) and Nicaragua (4-0) in their first two matches while the Mexicans who trashed Panama 7-0 on Monday night top the standings with a maximum six points.

Both Panama and Nicaragua have three points each and will meet in the other match in the pool in Wednesday's programme at the Estadio Pan Americano from 7 pm as well.

For Spence and his T&T girls to have any chance of moving on as the third-placed team in the pool they must somehow stun Mexico while overturning a minus-eight goal difference and hope that the encounter between Panama and Nicaragua also provides a lopsided winner

For today’s match, Spence will also be hoping to have striker Breanna Smith, the scorer from the first encounter, who missed the second match due to injury return to play.

In the other match on Monday night, Costa Rica hammered Grenada 9-1 in Group G while today, Grenada faces Puerto Rico in a virtual battle for the third spot while Costa Rica and USA, both with six points meet for the top spot.

Following T&T’s two losses to Panama and Nicaragua Spence responded to the team’s showing so far. T&T close off their Group play against leader Mexico on Wednesday. T&T are in the cellar placed position without a point so far. T&T’s only goal has come off the boot of Breana Smith in the 5-1 loss to Panama.

Asked how would you sum up the two matches so far, he said: “The first two games have allowed us to really assess and measure what level our female youth football is at the moment. Definitely, right now we need to focus on inserting ourselves as a top team in the Caribbean and then move on to the CONCACAF level.”

With regards to the few changes to the starting team for the second match he explained, “The changes were primarily made as a result of injuries which were sustained in the game against Panama.

I am guided by my medical team and would do what is best for the health of the players. Some were ruled out entirely and some were advised to only play a certain amount of minutes.”

Regarding his expectations going into the third game against Mexico today, he said, “We are definitely hoping for more resilient performance. We have discussed it at our session this morning and made a couple of adjustments, we will certainly be doing our best as we take the field to represent our country.”

Asked what he has discovered about the team and the possible gap that exists he said, “A lot has been observed this far. Of which I can write an essay. However, to summarise: Our players are very enthusiastic and want to learn and do well. This tournament has allowed them to experience what is required physically, technically and tactically at the international level.”

He added, “I must mention that this group of players is special and I firmly believe that this is the group who will bring smiles back to our faces in youth women’s football in the next 2-4 years, they have big hearts and really want to do well. This, though, would require keeping the team together in training consistently year-round. They need stability. This group of players came from a core group born out of the NLCB elite programme in 2017 which played under Coach Marlon Charles in the 2019 tournament at home. They need to stay together after this tournament in training and development. A good start would be for the team to play in the upcoming WoLF tournament. Finally, while we are in these tournaments I make it my business to have conversations with the staff of the other teams, for me it is important to find out what they are doing so I can properly understand their advancement.”

The Championship is being disputed in two rounds, beginning with a 16-team group stage.

After round-robin play, the top three teams in each group will advance to the knockout stage joining the four best teams from CWU17 Qualifying.

The first round of qualifying for the 2022 CWU17 took place from October 20 to November 1, 2021, at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, USA, with the three group winners; St Kitts & Nevis (Group A), Curaçao (Group B) and Honduras (Group C), as well as the best-ranked second-place finisher (based on a weighted points system), Guyana (Group B), advancing directly to the Knockout Stage of the 2022 CWU17.

After the event, the champion, runner-up and third-place finisher will qualify for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India in October of 2022.

The USA is the current champion (fourth title overall) of the CWU17 following a 3-2 win over Mexico in the 2018 Final.