Tue, Sep

Liana Hinds (#18) vs Cayman Islands

It’s been raining for the past couple of days, so not only is it wet, there’s also an unusual chill in the air.  As weird as it may sound, winter has come to the tropical paradise of the Cayman Islands.

Temperatures have been measured as low as the high 60s on Friday. Natives and visitors, alike, could be seen sporting winter gear, taking no chances with the northern climes.

But as showery as it has been and as cold as it gets at times, the conditions here have neither put a damper nor a freeze on the spirit and confidence of the players participating in the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship.

For in the midst of it all, the young women’s burning passion for success drives them on.

And in a striking example of this, one Trinidad & Tobago player clings to a belief that World Cup glory could be on the horizon for her team even it fell to the United States 6-0 in Friday’s semifinals.

“Definitely we think this is something we can do (qualify for the World Cup) and, of course, we are working hard that we can do it,” Liana Hinds, the team’s impressive right-back, said after the semifinal setback. “No one has doubts that this is something that we can achieve as we are all positive about it.”

Trinidad is attempting to do what no other Caribbean women’s side has done before --- qualify for a FIFA World Cup.

On Sunday, the Soca Princesses can still book their ticket to Canada 2014 by overcoming Costa Rica in the match for third place on Sunday. Later that day, Mexico, which defeated Costa Rica 3-1 in the first semifinal, will battle against the U.S. for the CONCACAF crown.

For Hinds, whatever the end result, the competition has been a wonderful ride.

“I am enjoying it a lot as it is fun and exciting to be back playing with the team,” Hinds expressed. “I think we have been doing really well as we defeated Honduras and Cayman and I think we have been doing what the coach has asked us to do.

“So whatever happens, it was just a great experience overall.”

The 18-year-old is familiar with the taste of World Cup football, representing Trinidad at the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, when the twin-island republic hosted the event. She was the squad’s top scorer, scoring two of its three goals – one in a 2-1 loss to Nigeria and another in a 2-1 win over Chile.

The University of Connecticut (UConn) sophomore, who is majoring in molecular and cell biology, tells that a professional career is a tempting option as she looks ahead.

“I intend to go professional and to continue playing internationally as well,” she enthused.

At UConn, Hinds -- born in the United States to Trinidadian parents -- saw action in 14 games during her freshman campaign in 2012. This past season, she appeared in each of the Huskies’ 20 matches, cementing a place in the line-up as a defender.

In Friday’s game against the U.S., Hinds matched strides with UConn teammate Rachel Hill.