Canada’s Women’s U-17 Team has been drawn into position A3 against Guatemala, Haiti and hosts Grenada for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship coming up in March this year.
The top three teams from the CONCACAF championship will qualify for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 taking place in September and October.
Canada Soccer National EXCEL 14-17 director and U17 Head coach, Bev Priestman, was pleased with Canada’s draw but cautioned there would be some tough competition from the Caribbean nations.
“I am happy with the group results,” she said. “I think it brings some really great experience for the girls. They will be playing the host nation in a brand new stadium, so we expect a good crowd like we experienced in Jamaica when we faced the hosts in 2013 to qualify.”
Canada will face some strong challenges in Group A, including Haiti, who they faced in the U-15 CONCACAF final, who are a strong, quick and physical opponent. Canada will face Guatemala in their opening match, repeating a scene from the last CONCACAF U-17 Championship, setting the stage for a fierce game as both teams try to open the competition on the right foot.
Technically and tactically, Coach Priestman expects Canada will be well set up in this group, particularly because of the tournament experts on Canada’s squad, including four players who were at this competition in 2013, and six who competed recently at the CONCACAF under-20 competition.
“The experience of these players is valuable and is only going to grow further, we are looking at the long term goal of the Women’s National Team,” said Priestman. “These players have to learn how to play opponents like those in our group; they are different to what we face in Canada, and they are not always easy because they can park the bus and make it difficult for us to break down, but overall I would be disappointed if we don’t do ourselves proud in the group stage.”
Competing in international youth tournaments is a critical component of Canada Soccer’s EXCEL program for the development of future Women’s National Team players.
A number of players vying for selection onto Head Coach John Herdman’s Olympic qualifying roster at the current Women’s National Team camp were standouts at the last CONCACAF U-17 championships, including Marie Levasseur and Jessie Fleming. Canada Soccer’s U-17 player of the year Kennedy Faulknor and Deanne Rose are both currently in camp with Herdman and eligible for Priestman’s squad.
“I think the collaboration and alignment within the women’s program around the U-17, U-20 and Women’s National Team, as well as putting together an effective curriculum and working to identify and develop young talent, is really contributing to the success of our program,” said Priestman. “We can see it in these players moving up through the system so quickly.”
Canada will be looking to have a strong competition in Grenada and continue its success at the women’s youth level by qualifying for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. Canada is the only CONCACAF nation to qualify for all four previous editions of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship Grenada 2016 Schedule
*Local Time (ET)
Thursday, March 03, 2016 – Grenada Athletic Stadium
5:00 PM (4:00 PM) Guatemala vs. Canada
7:30 PM (6:30 PM) Grenada vs. Haiti
Friday, March 04, 2016 – Grenada National Stadium
1:00 PM (12:00 PM) Mexico vs. Costa Rica
3:30 PM (2:30 PM) Jamaica vs. USA
Saturday, March 05, 2016 – Grenada Athletic Stadium
1:00 PM (12:00 PM) Haiti vs. Guatemala
3:30 PM (2:30 PM) Canada vs. Grenada
Sunday, March 06, 2016 – Grenada National Stadium
1:00 PM (12:00 PM) Costa Rica vs. Jamaica
3:30 PM (2:30 PM) USA vs. Mexico
Monday, March 07, 2016 – Grenada Athletic Stadium
5:00 PM (4:00 PM) Canada vs. Haiti
7:30 PM (6:30 PM) Grenada vs. Guatemala
Tuesday, March 08, 2016 – Grenada National Stadium
1:00 PM (12:00 PM) USA vs. Costa Rica
3:30 PM (2:30 PM) Mexico vs. Jamaica
Friday, March 11, 2016 – Grenada Athletic Stadium (Semifinals)
5:00 PM (4:00 PM) Winner Group B vs. Second Group A
8:00 PM (7:00 PM) Winner Group A vs. Second Group B
Sunday, March 13, 2016 – Grenada Athletic Stadium (3rd Place and Final)
3:00 PM (3:00 PM) Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2
6:00 PM (6:00 PM) Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2
A1 Grenada (seeded as hosts)
B1 Mexico (seeded as defending campions)
B4 Costa Rica