Costa Rica and Nicaragua will complete the list of arriving teams into Trinidad and Tobago for the upcoming CONCACAF Under 20 Women’s Championship which kicks off at the Ato Boldon Stadium with a double header involving the hosts on Thursday.
With the United States and Haiti already here since the weekend, three more teams arrived on Monday including Mexico, Canada and Jamaica.
Costa Rica will square off with Canada in the opening match of the competition at 4pm on Thursday and will meet Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday at 6:30pm .
After missing out on the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship two years ago, Costa Rica is eager to make up for lost time in the 2018 edition.
Head coach Amelia Valverde is ready to make that happen.
“Two years ago we didn’t even qualify for the [finals], while four years ago we qualified for the World Cup,” said the 30-year-old, who oversees the entire women’s program for the Federación Costarricense de Futbol. “The first thing was to retake that road to qualifying for the final phase. Now we are clear that we have come to compete and qualify for a youth women’s World Cup.
“We have to go compete with those powers. That’s why you work. We have a group with enough experience and we hope that things go well for us.”
The Ticas went a perfect 3-0-0 (18GF, 0GA) overall in Central America qualifying earlier this year, sealing progression with a 7-0 win over Honduras in a Classification Stage match.
“It is going to be a tough group,” Valverde remarked.
Valverde will have plenty of experienced talent from which to choose a roster. Ten players accounted for the team’s 18 qualifying goals, led by Saprissa forward Fabiola Villalobos (team-best six goals). Another competitor to watch is midfielder Gloriana Villalobos, who had one goal and two assists for Florida State University in the USA’s recently-completed NCAA season.
“[Costa Rica] is a national team that has been working for a long time,” finished Valverde. “We’ve had the girls in their clubs. Now it’s the final stage and it is going to be important for them to have enough time with us.”
This will be Costa Rica’s six appearance in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship.
Ward : We are prepared
Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Ranae Ward believes the host nation will be ready to take on their Group A opponents by the time Thursday comes around. First up is Haiti, which on paper appears to be the weakest of the teams T&T will face with Canada and Costa Rica to follow on January 20th and 22nd
“We’ve done all our preparations with a strong belief that nothing is beyond us. It’s been a period which allowed us to come together more as a team and work on different things under our head coach Jamaal Shabazz that will hopefully allow us to bring our best game on game day for each of the three matches. We will be working continuously to keep improving and get it right for the tournament,” Ward said.
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Video – Announcement of T&T’s Under 20 Women’s Team