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In an effort to help expedite the preparations of this country’s Under-17 Soca Princesses for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifiers, the national lasses will compete in this year’s edition of the Women’s League Football (Wolf). The season kicks off on Saturday at Constantine Park, Macoya, with a family day.

The CFU first round group of qualifiers are set for US Virgin Islands from August 19 to 26 and will involve four teams in the group with the final round of qualifiers slated for September 18 to 25 at a venue to be determined towards qualification for the 2014 Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup, the fourth edition in Costa Rica from March 14 to April 15, next year.

This was disclosed by Wolf press officer and manager of the national U-17 women’s team Jinelle James at the launch of this year’s league which was held at the T&T Football Federation head office, Ana Street, Woodbrook, yesterday.

James, a former national player herself, explained: “Since the national U-17 women’s team went to Fort Lauderdale at the end of August last year with coach Marlon Charles they have stopped training and to help expedite their development and preparations for the preliminary round of qualifiers a decision was taken by Wolf to have them participate in the league and also in the Premier Division, where the level of play will be much better for them.”

Reflecting on the 2012 campaign, James said it was a remarkable year for the women’s league with it being able to attract the sponsorship of Japs Fried Chicken and Petrotrin as well as support from the T&T Football Federation.

“We were also able to build a partnership with the Sport Company of T&T (Sportt) in getting a number of players certified via the C Coaching License course while some of the players were exposed to scouts from US Colleges with the aim of acquiring athletic scholarships.”

In announcing the plans for this year’s competition, which features a nine-team Premier Division, Sharon O’Brien, president of Wolf said so far there were 18 confirmed teams while three other teams were expected to confirm their involvement by Saturday, bringing the total number of clubs to 21.

O’Brien was also elated to state that for a second year running, Darryl Mahabir, owner of Pro League cluNorth East Stars and Japs Fried Chicken, has come forward to be a major sponsor of the league to the tune of $53,000 while the search is still on for $6,000 in sponsorship towards the FA competition.

Apart from actual league competition, which will also be contested in the First Division, O’Brien also stated that the league will continue to partner with the Sport Company of T&T (Sportt) in hosting workshops and coaching development programmes among other things as they strive to improve the players on a holistic level.

In addition to the national Under-17 women, Real Dimension, the reigning Premier Division champions who have managed to acquire sponsorship from Arima-based Genethics Pharmaceuticals Limited, will face strong competition from Defence Force, Malick City, Tobago United, Trincity Nationals and the three promoted clubs from the First Division, St Ann’s Rangers, St Augustine and Step By Step.

Last season, Real Dimension swept all before them to claim the Premier Division league, Big-Four and FA titles.

Participating clubs and divisions

Premier: T&T U-17 women, Defence Force, Malick City, Real Dimension, St Ann’s Rangers, St Augustine, Step By Step, Tobago United, Trincity Nationals.

First Division

Group A: Tobago All Stars, Tunapuna Titans, UWI, Central FC, Malabar All Stars
Group B: Mos Schoolaz, Petrotrin, Pt Fortin Pioneers, La Brea All Stars

Prize structure

Premier Division

League: 1. $12,000, trophy and medals; 2. $8,000; 3. $5,000

First Division Big Four

1. $10,000, trophy and medals; 2. $6,000; 3. $4,000; 4. $2,000

Zonal First Division

Group A: 1. $3,000, trophy and medals
Group B: 1. $3,000, trophy and medals

FA knockout

1 $5,500, trophy and medals
2 $3,500, medals