The T&T Under-20 Women's football team has been trimmed to 18 after three weeks of screening. On Sunday head coach Jason Spence admitted that with the limited time available to prepare both the Under-20s and 17 teams, he is fortunate to have 12 players from the previous team under then-coach Richard Hood at his disposal.
Spence charges had a practice sessions at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Balmain, Couva at the weekend, comprising a mixture of both age groups who are preparing for their respective CONCACAF age-group Championships from this month for the U-20s and April/May for the U-17s.
"Two teams I am working with and trying to get them there with the limited time that we have, and as you know the -20 tournament is at the end of February, 25th to 8th of March, and then we have the U-17s which is at the end of April, 23rd April to 8th, so it's a lot of work.
We were able to go through some screening just to give everybody a fair opportunity to showcase their talent, and that group has been brought down to 18 in training and that's between Trinidad and Tobago and fortunately for me, I have 12 players who would have played in the last cycle under coach Richard Hood, so we have delivered a programme to them and they are doing their work.
I have 18 in training right now of which I am also buffering with some of the stronger u-17s to make sure the sessions themselves stay nice and organised," Spence said.
Under Hood, the T&T under-20 reached the quarter-final round of the Under-20 Championships in the Dominican Republic in 2020 where they were knocked out by Mexico 4-0. Since then the U-20s have not kicked a lime.
Spence's stint with the team to date has itself been relatively short, telling the media he has had about two weeks of intense four-day sessions, after more than two years of development has been lost in T&T football.
He now intends to select about eight players to bolster his team heading into the championships: " Right now I have 12 players who have shown interest and that final decision will be made based on how this group adapts to the fitness level that we want and the way and style that we intend to play and then we would know.
I think I would have my eyes on about eight of them who will be joining the 12-man group to make it 20 to take to the tournament.
The thing about it is that we've lost two years of development of football in T&T, no fault of anybody other than the fact that we were down, so really and truly, this would be considered to be my second real week of drilling them in four-day sessions.
There is some work to be done, we're seeing the potential in the players and so on and as we continue to work I am sure the touches will come in when we're ready to make that final decision."
Spence's focus weekend was transitioning from defence to attack which he said his players are getting: " Basically, what we were is trying to see how well we could have organised quickly on transition, that was the only thing I was looking for.
While we know that goals win matches and we didn't want to be hammered, it wasn't my main focus but rather to see if their legs could have stood up for 90 minutes.
We broke down the session into three 30-minute periods to give them that little breather in between. The group elt quite well and I think it was around the 75th minute that people started to fade away so I think we're getting there."