Fit and ready

U-20 Girlz coach upbeat as team heads to Trinidad

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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Jamaica's young Reggae Girlz will move one step closer to qualification for the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship as they depart for Trinidad & Tobago for two valuable friendly matches against the hosts.

The delegation will depart the island today at 1:00 pm for the twin-island republic, where they will do battle tomorrow at the Ato Boldon Stadium at 6:30pm and again on Saturday at 4:00 pm at the Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.

From there the delegation will depart for St Kitts and Nevis on November 20, where they will get down to the meat of the matter in the final phase of Caribbean qualifiers, which will be held November 22-26.

Assistant Coach Xavier Gilbert stressed the importance of the two friendly encounters as they hunt one of two spots in the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship to be hosted by Trinidad and Tobago in January next year.

“We had our final camp last weekend and it was good. The fitness has improved somewhat and that is a positive as we head into the qualifiers. The two games against Trinidad should assist in further strengthening the team from a fitness standpoint, and it will also assist in the girls finding the right chemistry and bond,” Gilbert told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

There will be a few additions to the team, which easily progressed through the first phase of the Caribbean round with 10-0 and 2-1 beatings of Curacao and Bermuda, respectively.

Under-17 striker Olufosade Adamolekun, along with Florida-based Shayla Smart and Maya Swaby-Wallerson, who were both a part of the Under-17 unit which contested the CONCACAF round in Grenada last year, have now been included.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Yazmeen Jamieson will be the only new addition to the set-up to partner Sydney Schneider.

“As you know, quite a number of them attend schools in the States, so this will be the first time we are assembling the full squad since the last tournament. So this (the friendlies) is a positive step forward as we will spend five to six days together before moving into St Kitts.

“So we are looking forward to that and we anticipate that it will bring a lot of good to the team to ensure that they play well in the qualifying tournament to ensure that we are there again in Trinidad in January,” Gilbert noted.

In St Kitts and Nevis, the young Reggae Girlz will square off against the hosts, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Should the Jamaicans advance to the CONCACAF Championship as the Caribbean champions, they would find themselves pitted in Group B alongside defending champions United States and another powerhouse in Mexico along with Central American outfit Nicaragua.

If they progress as the runner-up team, they would be pitted in Group A alongside Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and Canada.

The top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in France.

Squad — Olufosade Adamolekun, Jadyn Matthews, Gabrielle Gayle, Jody Brown, Peterkaye Green, Tarania Clarke, Tateyana Pitter, Sashine Smith, Sherice Clarke, Alyssa Julien, Ebony Clarke, Emily Caza, Erin Mikalsen, Giselle Washington, Marlee Fray, Kevena Reid, Shayla Smart, Sydney Schneider, Maya Swaby-Wallerson, Yazmeen Jamieson.

— Sherdon Cowan




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