United States-based forward Raenah Campbell believes that the current Trinidad and Tobago will have fitness on their side going into the upcoming CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s championship from January 18th at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.
Campbell who has represented T&T in past CONCACAF Under 15, U-17 and U-20 tournaments, is hard at the work with the squad as they prepare to face Haiti from 7:30pm in their opening Group A encounter on Thursday January 18th.
“We have definitely gotten fitter since the start of the preparations. Shape-wise, we have figured out how to move positionally and we are more functional as a team which is really good for us,” Campbell told TTFA Media before a training session at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Tuesday.
The former Skaneateles High School graduate added “I think we have everything all the other countries do and we need to believe in ourselves that we can match these so called bigger teams who normally win and that we have the capabilities and train just as hard as them.
“The key factor would be us keeping our positioning. We are just as fit as the other teams but belief will be the majority of it. We need to believes that we can play through the ninety minutes and also through extra time and come out on top because we want to get to the World Cup,” she added.
Campbell said that the players are working well towards achieving their goal under head coach Jamaal Shabazz.
“Now we are more comfortable with the coach so if there is any confusion as to what we need to do we’ll go to him to find out how to fix something or he wants it so we know exactly what he wants because we are all working towards a common goal” Campbell said.
Shabazz will announce his final squad at a press conference on Thursday which means that places are still up for grabs.
“I think it’s still a good atmosphere even though we are competing with everybody (for team spots),” Campbell said. “ A lot of the girls came up with me over the years so I know them very well and it’s very cool building relationships and making it a closer bond. We’ve just been bonding more in camp.”
Looking ahead to facing Haiti, Campbell, who has played against that country in previous qualifiers, noted that they will try to outmuscle T&T. “They are very aggressive and they fight. And we will need to be physical and be smart in terms of how we play around them because we have technical skill and our fitness to back us up.”
Campbell also attended the International School of Port of Spain as well as played for Syracuse Development Academy, which is a member of the US Youth Soccer’s National League. At Skaneateles High, Campbell recorded 24 goals and four assists in 19 games before being named the school’s “Player of the Year” in 2016.
Now at Drexel University, Campbell is counting down to the day to possible glory for T&T.
“It’s a huge honour to play for my country and to try to get to a World Cup because that’s the highest level of football you can get to and I feel like for my whole life that’s what I’ve been working towards,” she said.
Tickets for the Group phase matches of the Under 20 Championship are priced at $40 for both covered and uncovered section. T&T’s Group A also comprises of Costa Rica and Canada which will meet from 5pm on January 18th in Couva. Group B comprises United States, Mexico, Nicaragua and Jamaica. The right nations are competing for three qualifying spots for the 2018 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in France.