Trinidad and Tobago’s US-based defender Amaya Ellis is motivated more than ever before to have her best showing for this country at the upcoming CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s Championship which takes place at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva January 18-28.
Ellis, currently enrolled at the University of Illinois is in camp with the T&T squad that is gearing towards their opening game against Haiti on January 18th, has been playing for T&T since the Under 15 level and has also played for the past Under 17 Women’s Team which captured the Caribbean title in Haiti in 2013. She is a former player at Under 17 level with German club FFC Frankfurt’s women’s team
“Getting the opportunity to represent Trinidad and Tobago at U20 level is beyond words,” Ellis told TTFA Media on Thursday.
“I’ve represented Trinidad from U-15 to now and I love seeing the girls who have stuck by with me throughout this time and it is just really exciting to see where we can go.”
Ellis believes strong work ethic and belief will be a key factor for the Jamaal Shabazz-coached team.
“I think the key for us is knowing that we are the underdogs in this tournament and that gives us a sense of hunger that other teams don’t have. I think a lot of teams underestimate us and that gives us a chance to fight back and prove that hey, we have the same opportunity that all these countries have. Having a high work ethic and the right attitude will help us come out with some wins and progress in the competition,” Ellis said.
“I see myself definitely as a leader on this team. This is my last Concacaf tournament with the Under 20s so I definitely want to make an impression and a difference not just with this team but also for the generations coming up. I play centre-back on this team so it is really important that I communicate with them in the best way possible in these matches coming up,” she added.
There will be eight competing nations in this tournament vying for three qualifying spots at the 2018 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup. Ellis recognises football and sport as an enabler for women empowerment.
“Women empowerment is very important to me. I think it is important to show young girls that if you want to do sport or if you want to be on the same television as men then you can if you want. I take pride in i…t whenever I put on a jersey to go outside or to play. I just want to show girls all over the world that you can be equal to men, so being able to compete and represent the country on the international stage is very important to me,” Ellis said.
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