T&T Under-20 Women Soca Warriors will depart for Port-au-Prince, Haiti today where they will contest the eight-team Caribbean Football Union Under-20 Women’s Championship from tomorrow until October 23.
Led by captain Rene Mike, the U-20 Soca Women Warriors advanced to the eight-team CFU Finals as winners of their three-team round-robin Group Four after blanking host St Vincent and the Grenadines 2-0 and Dominica 6-0 when they kicked off their FIFA U-20 World Cup qualifying campaign at Victoria Park, Kingstown, in July.
In the win over St Vincent and The Grenadines, Tsaianne Leander scored both goals while against Dominica Maya Matouk scored a first-half double while Shauna Lee Govia, Chelcy Ralph, Corel Carmichael and Zoe Swift added one each for the Rene Mike-captained squad.
However, for the final round of the CFU qualifiers, Spence has been forced to make six changes to his team from the one that participated in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Missing out this time around are the experienced Swift, Ralph, Carmichael, Eden Charles, Ranae Ward and USA-based Amaya Ellis, the daughter of former Queen’s Royal College standout Mark Ellis.
Commenting on the omissions, Spence said: “We had no choice but to make the changes because Swift, Charles and Ellis all have school commitments while Ralph and Carmichael are both injured. “In terms of Ward, she is also member of the national U-17 team which is preparing for the CFU Finals as well, and it was decided she will be best suited for that team at this point in terms.”
Coming in as their replacements are Kedie Johnson, Jaasiel Forde, Shenieka Paul, Ranelle Pascall, Jordan Van Reeken and Demeisha Bailey and with regards to their inclusion, Spence admitted they were a bit experienced, but have all shown in the training sessions that they were up for the challenge.
T&T opens its campaign on Thursday against Curacao followed by matches against St Vincent and the Grenadies on Saturday and the Reggae Girlz, on Monday at the Stade Sylvio Cator. Curacao booked its placed in the finals as runner-up to Puerto Rico in Group One.
After a 5-0 loss to Puerto Rico, Curacao blanked Antigua & Barbuda 2-0 and drew 1-1 with Anguilla for four points, and the second best group runner-up spot.
Jamaica advanced as winners of Group Two after beating Grenada 5-0 followed by a share of the points against host St Lucia after their match was not played due to heavy rain and a poor drainage system at the Mindoo Philip Park.