Boosted by their 3-0 win over the Cayman Islands in their opening match in Group D of the Concacaf Women’s Under 20 qualifiers at Rignaal Jean Francisca Stadium, Willemstad, Curacao on Saturday, T&T’s Under-20 women will go after a second win from as many matches when they face Guadeloupe from 3 pm on Monday at the same venue.
On Saturday, Talia Martin of Speyside High School scored a goal in each half, and USA-based Nikita Jackson of Keller High School in Texas, the other for T&T in their win while Guadeloupe was handed a 5-0 spanking by a stylish Puerto Rico line-up in the second match in the group.
The win for the Dernelle Mascall-coached young Women Warriors ended a four-match losing streak at the Concacaf Under-20 level for the women, dating back to the 2020 campaign when the Richard Hood-coached team was ousted 4-0 by Mexico in the quarterfinals after beating St Kitts and Nevis 7-0, and the Cayman Islands 2-0, and then losing 7-0 to Haiti in their round-robin group.
Back then, in the main draw round-of-16, T&T which had a best-ever finish of fourth in 2014 via a 7-3 loss in extra-time to Costa Rica in the third-place playoff after a 3-3 draw, and being ahead 3-1 in regulation-time, battled past Puerto Rico 5-4 on penalty-kicks following a 3-3 draw.
The last qualifying campaign in 2022 under the supervision of coach Jason Spence was a disastrous one for the U-20 Women Warriors as they suffered defeats against Canada (5-0), St Kitts and Nevis (7-2), and El Salvador (3-0) to finish bottom of the round-robin pool and failed to advance.
Following Monday’s matches, T&T and Puerto Rico are expected to meet on Wednesday (April 19) from 6 pm in the pool decider from which only the pool winner will join the five other group winners from the 27 participating teams, in the 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, joining the region’s top two ranked nations, the USA, and Mexico.
The 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship is scheduled to take place from May 24 to June 3 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The eight-team competition will qualify its top three finishers (finalists and third-place match winner) for next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
T&T U-20 women’s squad:
Goalkeepers: Sadiel Antoine (Holy Faith Convent Couva), Sophia Keel (South Torrance High School, California, USA), Mikaela Yearwood (St Joseph Convent POS)
Defenders: Jeniceia Benjamin (Tranquility Secondary), Sharika Charles (Scarborough Secondary), Kaitlyn Darwent (St Joseph Convent POS), Jada Graham (Mason Hall Secondary), Anastasia O’Brien (Tranquility Secondary), Kanika Rodriguez (St Augustine Secondary), Cicely-Ann Spencer-Wickham (St Robert Catholic High School, Ontario, Canada)
Midfielders: Rasheda Archer (South East Secondary), Carissa Cowan (Goodwood Secondary), Jessica Harragin (Holy Name Convent POS), Orielle Martin (Bishop Anstey East), Cherina Steele (Woodbrook Secondary), Marley Walker (James Island Charter High School, South Carolina, USA)
Forwards: J’eleisha Alexander (Scarborough Secondary), Athena Jackson (Keller High School, Texas, USA), Nikita Jackson (Keller High School, Texas, USA), Talia Martin (Speyside High School), Mariah Williams (Corpus Christi)
Technical staff: Dernelle Mascall (coach), Rajesh Latchoo (assistant coach), Ayana Russell (assistant coach/trainer), Kern Meloney (sport physiotherapist), Raquel Russell (eqiipment), Declan Squires (goalkeeper coach), Sgt Simone Edwards (manager), Kristin Fung (doctor).
Coach Eve hoping for a successful CONCACAF Gold Cup run
By Ian Prescott (T&T Express).
ANGUS EVE, Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s football team head coach, thinks the Soca Warriors have a lot to look forward to following Friday’s official draw for the 2023 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup which takes place in the United States from June 24-July 16.
Eve believes T&T might have a rough passage through to what may be a favourable draw into the tournament itself. T&T will have to play a two-match qualifying round from June 16-20, before qualifying for the Gold Cup.
Should T&T progress after the qualifying phase, they will be placed in Group D, along with Canada, Guatemala and Cuba. “The group is a good group (that) we have the possibility of being drawn in, if we qualify,” said Eve. “A lot to look forward to.”
The route T&T embark on to the Gold Cup would be one which Eve has traversed before, having taken the Soca Warriors to the 2021 tournament as interim head-coach, following the dismissal of Englishman Terry Fenwick.
Eve got the Soca Warriors past Montserrat 6-1 and then French Guiana, via a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw. In the Gold Cup preliminary round, T&T drew with Mexico (0-0) and Guatemala (1-1), but fell 2-0 to El Salvador. Eve was subsequently permanently appointed T&T head-coach.
This time around, the Soca Warriors face an opening match against Guadeloupe and, if successful, will need to defeat the winner between Guyana and Grenada for a spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup main draw. Out of an opening round pot which also included St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, St Maarten, Puerto Rico and Grenada, the Soca Warriors drew Guadeloupe.
“We would have pulled the hardest team out of the possible six teams that we would have had to play. But it is competition football and you have to go with a positive mind and play whoever team you draw at that point in time,” Eve noted.
“We have to do our work from day one. It’s a little bit difficult in a sense that we will only have our players two days before the match” revealed Eve, adding, “But we will be doing our homework on Guadeloupe and the other two teams.”