'Disappointment not even a good word’ for U17 footballers' failure to qualify for World Cup
Jamaica's Under-17 team head coach, Andrew Edwards, was at a loss for words following the Young Reggae Boyz's failure to advance to the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Chile.
"Disappointment is not even a good word," Edwards told The Gleaner, after the Jamaicans were beaten 5-4 in sudden-death penalty kicks in the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship third place play-off, and most important, a spot at the World Cup.
"We are pretty much happy with the performance of the team during the championship. I want to thank the players and their parents for the sacrifice during the time in the programme. Also, thanks to the coaching staff and the other staffs, as well as supporters," he added.
Edwards disclosed that his players failed to carry out the game plan in the match on Sunday night in Honduras.
"We wanted to attack the Americans with a high-press game. However, we spent most of the game defending. Once it came down to penalty kicks it could have gone any way," Edwards shared.
The tournament regulations dictated that no extra-time period was held and the match moved immediately into penalty kicks, at the completion of regulation time, which was scoreless.
In the penalty kicks, Christian Pulisic was denied by Jamaica's goalkeeper Jahmali Waite at the opening kick. The Americans rallied with Joe Gallardo, Danny Barbir, Alejandro Zendejas, John Nelson, and Alexis Velela scoring from the penalty spot.
For Jamaica, Jah wani Hinds and Alex Marshall missed their penalty kicks, while the scorers were Nicholas Nelson, Jahlanie Hammond, Shandel Senior, and Ajeanie Talbott.
Of note, Marshall also missed a penalty during the game against Cuba that ended in a 1-1 tie at the group stage.
"Alex Marshall came into the tournament as the top penalty-taker for the team. But mentally, he was not there, probably. I don't really know what happened to him," Edwards said of the St George's College midfielder.
"He is a quality player, and we don't want to single him out for the team not qualifying for the World Cup. The players need to continue to grow and move on to other levels," said Edwards.
The USA joined CONCACAF Under-17 champions Mexico, beaten finalists Honduras and Costa Rica as the region's representatives at the World Cup.