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Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Akyla Walcott gathers the ball during a 2022 Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship Group Stage match against El Salvador on Friday February 25th 2022 at Estadio Pan Americano in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

Despite conceeding 15 goals in three games and failing to advance in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women Championships in the Dominican Republic, goalkeeper Akyla Walcott believes it was the price for much needed international experience for the young players, most of whom have played their first international tournament for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Soca Princesses were clobbered 5-0 by Canada in their final Group 'A' encounter at the Estadio Panamerican in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic on Tuesday night, a result that officially put them out of the tournament.

That result followed a 3-0 loss to El Salvador in their opening match at the same venue, as well as a hard-to-swallow 7-2 defeat by regional rival St Kitts/Nevis on Sunday last, a team that T&T hammered 6-0 at the same tournament in 2020.

Walcott, despite her heroics between the post, was one of those players making their debut at the international level, along with Charlize Hood, the daughter of former coach Richard Hood and Brianna Trim, among others.

"For most of the players here it is their first international tournament so it was a very good learning experience for us here, so we're just grateful for the opportunity and we're thankful to be here regardless," Walcott said after the team's 5-0 loss.

Walcott's acrobatics between the uprights on Tuesday also prevented T&T from possibly a larger margin of defeat. " I am proud of my performance today, the last game wasn't too good for me so it was very important for me to perform well today," the talented custodian explained.

Yesterday one former women's coach who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the young players were dealt a severe blow by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they never really got the opportunity to play at the under-17 level, saying that made their under-20 experience even harder.

However, he told Guardian Media Sports that the organisation, structure and tactics used at the tournament were disastrous.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian