The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association received a welcomed visit from Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith as he and other officials of the Sportt Company, Sport Ministry and the TTFA conducted a site visit of the TTFA Home of Football in Couva on Wednesday.
TTFA President David John-Williams used the opportunity to show some of the upgrades made at the venue including improvements to the playing field’s drainage system and the progress of the construction of the training fields. There will be a total of six training fields at the home of football upon completion.
The main field is currently undergoing work and is expected to be in prime condition for next Thursday’s opening double header of the CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s Championship with T&T facing Haiti at 7:30pm and Canada taking on Costa Rica from 5pm. The new digital scoreboard installed by the TTFA will also be unveiled for the first time for international competition next Thursday.
Minister Smith expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far and the discussions held with TTFA officials and Sportt led by chairman Dinanath Ramnarine. He also pledged the Ministry’s support towards the upcoming CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s championship which will see seven nations join the hosts in the battle for three qualifying spots from January 18-28 for the 2018 FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup in France.
“ Congratulations to TTFA. It is fantastic to see from paper work to reality. We did a walk through today with Sportt Company, Ministry and TTFA where we visited a number of the sites where work has started. The fields are up and we are looking at finalising where the Sportel and the entertainment centre is going. Work is well on its way and I am happy for the aspect of it,” Smith told TTFA Media.
“But also more importantly I am hoping that all of Trinidad and Tobago comes out next Thursday and support our Lady Warriors who will be doing battle in the CONCACAF Under 20 Championship. I think we have very good chances and I am hoping we can go on to qualify for a Women’s World Cup for the first time. The field looks immaculate and we are doing some sprucing up of the facility.
“We are hoping that corporate Trinidad and Tobago comes on board as well but at $40 for double headers for that period of time, I think Trinidad and Tobago needs that twelfth man and I am hoping we get that support.
“I am very optimistic. What I am very proud of with TTFA is this home of football is going to be one of the pure homes of football where the three different types of football will be played and not much other facilities in the world have that and this will be there along with the gyms and other facilities. So Trinidad and Tobago is pushing forward with sport and you will hear more pretty soon about how we are going to maximize this for it to be the sporting capital of the region.”
US names final roster to travel to T&T
Meantime, United States which will contest Group B, announced their final squad on Wednesday to travel to T&T next week. he roster is made up of 16 collegiate players and four youth club players, all of whom play for U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy teams.
“This was not an easy process,” Klimkova said. “To look over the entire year, then boil it down to the 30 players in the New Year’s camp and then pick the final roster was difficult, and that’s a credit to the players. The most recent camp was so competitive. The players left everything on the field and they were really battling for roster spots.”
US head coach Jitka Klimkova named three players who were not a part of the roster for the 2017 Nike Women’s International Friendlies last month: defenders Tierna Davidson and Kiara Pickett of Stanford and forward Ashley Sanchez of UCLA. At the time of the Friendlies, the trio was coming off of playing in the NCAA College Cup Final. Thirteen players on the roster have previous CONCACAF World Cup qualifying experience and 11 have played for the USA in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at the youth level.
The 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
All 16 matches of the tournament will take place across eight matchdays at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad. The United States will open the tournament on January 19 against Nicaragua, face Jamaica on January 21 and finish group play against Mexico on January 23.
Players from 10 colleges are represented on the US roster, including three players each from NCAA Champion Stanford and NCAA runner-up UCLA. Three players come from the University of Virginia and two from USC.
Klimkova also chose four alternates to travel with the team to Trinidad & Tobago for training purposes, but the quartet will depart before the tournament, barring any injuries. Those alternates are goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn (Duke), defender Samantha Hiatt (Stanford), midfielder Olivia Athens (UCLA) and forward Jordan Brewster (Internationals SC).
T&T’s final squad for the tournament will be announced on Thursday at a press conference at its head offices.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.; 5/0), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.; 2/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (Stanford; Menlo Park, Calif.; 6/0), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; 6/0; San Jose, Calif.), Tara McKeown (USC; Mission Viejo, Calif.; 11/0), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.; 9/0), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.; 2/0), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.; 8/0), Karina Rodriguez (UCLA; Torrance, Calif.; 3/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Samantha Coffey (Boston College; Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; 7/1), Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.; 23/4), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 12/0), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, N.C.; 9/0), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.; 10/1)
FORWARDS (6): Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.; 11/3), Civana Kuhlmann (Stanford; Littleton, Colo.; 12/8), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; Monrovia, Calif.; 20/6), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 11/8), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas; 3/1), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara; Scottsdale, Ariz.; 8/2)