Ja girls bow into CONCACAF U-15 Champs tomorrow
Coach of Jamaica's Under-15 Girls' team, Xavier Gilbert, has expressed satisfaction with the level of preparation of his squad ahead of the CONCACAF Under-15 Championship which starts in Grand Cayman today and runs until August 17.
The players and officials departed the island yesterday morning and arrived in Grand Cayman ahead of their opening game tomorrow against Belize at the T.E. McField Sports Complex. Kick-off time is 7:30 p.m.
"Well, so far, I'm satisfied with the level of preparation when we take into consideration that we did not have the girls for extended periods during the school term. However, they were available after the school year ended in July," Gilbert told The Gleaner from the team's hotel in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands yesterday afternoon.
"They (the players) are very excited, as a lot of them were travelling for the first time. They are youngsters, but I'm optimistic that they will do the country proud," he added.
"I'm expecting good stuff from them, but won't put undue pressure on the girls. We will come out against Belize and try to execute our plan and represent the country with pride," Gilbert, who is also coach of the female teams at Excelsior High and Waterhouse FC said.
Leading up to the tournament, the girls played against local women's clubs as well as boys during practise games.
The competition is geared towards regional development of female football and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb is pleased with the strong participation.
"What really stands out about this tournament is the quantity of teams, the number of players who will be exposed to international competition and the development that stands to take place as a result," Webb said via a release.
The competition will see 16 teams participating in four equal groups. Jamaica are drawn in Group C, alongside Belize, Costa Rica and Anguilla. The teams in Group A are Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Bahamas and British Virgin Islands. Honduras are placed in Group B with Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Bermuda. While, Group D comprises Canada, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
advance to quarter-finals
Jamaica will meet Anguilla on Saturday and then Costa Rica two days later in the preliminary stage.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals to be played on August 13. The winners will move on to the semi-finals two days later. The semi-final winners will meet in the final on August 17.
Jamaica's 18-member squad is led by captain Rachel Walters, and also includes overseas-based Lyana Steele (USA) and Emily Caza (Canada). The other players are Oneilia Yearde, Peta-Gay Dixon, Chevelle Henry, Gabrielle Gayle, Shanhainel Nelson, Sherice Clarke, Jody Brown, L-Tavia Russell, Sydoney Clarke, Tanika Davis, Taeyana Pitter, Jamilia Ashley, Monique Perrier and Danae Walters.
The official party includes Marline Brown (head of delegation), Xavier Gilbert (coach), Toni Cowan (assistant coach), Dr Richard Bennett (team doctor), Jean Nelson (manager) and Lloyd Holm (equipment manager).