Canada will begin their first journey at the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship on Thursday night when they face Trinidad and Tobago in the opening match of the group phase in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The tournament serves as the qualification route for next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016.
“We have come here to learn from every match and progress throughout the tournament,” said Canada’s national EXCEL U-23 Director and U-20 Coach Daniel Worthington. “We’re here to learn and grow together.”
All three of Canada’s group matches – 3 December against Trinidad and Tobago, 5 December against Jamaica, and 7 December against host Honduras – will be played at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano. The opening match kicks off at 17.00 local, with live in-game updates available via Twitter.com/CanadaSoccerEN (18.00 ET / 15.00 PT) and CONCACAF.com.
The top-three teams from the competition qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Papua New Guinea 2016. The first chance to qualify is the semi-final stage on 11 December while the second chance to qualify is the Match for 3rd Place on 13 December.
More than just a chance to qualify for Papua New Guinea 2016, Canada will use the tournament to assess their players within a tournament environment.
“This tournament is a staging post, an opportunity for the players to gain tournament expertise,” said Worthington. “This is an important part of our six-year curriculum designed to produce more Christine Sinclair’s more often.”
All 20 Canadian youth players are born 1996 or later, with nine of them making their debut at a CONCACAF or FIFA competition. With a few of the more experienced youth players away with the Women’s National Team in Brazil, this CONCACAF tournament provides the chance for some of Canada’s younger players to step in and learn at the international level.
Canada are four-time CONCACAF women’s youth champions, twice at the U-20 level and once each at the U-17 and U-15 levels. Canada have participated in six of seven FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups since the biennial tournament was initiated in 2002, including a silver medal at the inaugural edition on home.
Between 2014 and 2015, Canada were the only nation in the world to finish top-8 in three FIFA women’s competitions: sixth place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, sixth place at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014, and eighth place at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Costa Rica 2014.